If you’re trying to save on HVAC energy consumption in your home, then you’ve probably already heard about smart and programmable thermostats. They have features that will surely make your home both more efficient and comfortable. With better efficiency, you’ll save more as well by paying less on your utility bills. It’s easy to understand how having this in your home can be convenient, but some thermostats can be pricey, so you may be left wondering whether they’re really worth the cost.

There are also other factors to consider, such as where you live, how your home was built, the type of HVAC system you use and your preferences on how you use it. Having a programmable or smart thermostat can be beneficial if, for instance, you’re away from home often. Here Air Comfort Inc., one of the best air conditioning service contractors in the area, explains how smart and programmable thermostats help you save money. Let’s first take a closer look at how they work: 

Understanding the Difference

A traditional thermostat essentially has one job, which is to ensure that the actual room temperature reaches the desired temperature set by the owner. You can manually change the thermostat setting to any one that you’d like and it will keep the room at that temperature until you manually change it again. However, this isn’t always efficient, especially if you’re too busy to change it every time you need to. Fortunately, a few decades ago, a new solution was introduced to the market.

With a programmable or clock thermostat, you can set up a schedule to automatically adjust the temperature of your system at different times of day. You can set specific schedules to automatically turn on your unit and start cooling or heating your rooms at set times, as well as turn off or reduce the operation of your HVAC system when you’re away or asleep. Programmable thermostats were marketed as a cost-effective solution for both homeowners and facility managers when they were first released, and they still are today.

How a Smart Thermostat Works

A smart thermostat is Wi-Fi-enabled, so it can connect to a phone or tablet. It usually comes with smartphone apps or personalized website accounts that allow the owner to monitor their HVAC system and adjust temperature settings even while away from their home or business. This helps you save money by regulating your unit’s operation to keep the temperature as low as possible for as long as possible. All you need to do is enter your desired temperature and daily schedule. 

Having a smart thermostat ensures the rooms in your home are adjusted to your comfort level when you’re in the house, and will also help you save as much energy as possible when you’re away from home. Some smart thermostats can even remind you when it’s time to schedule a maintenance check-up or change your air filters, as well as inform you of the temperature and humidity in the local area. Having a smart thermostat can also extend your unit’s lifespan, which means you won’t have to worry about spending money on unwanted air conditioning repair services later on. 

Smart thermostats are much easier to use than regular programmable thermostats. You can easily adjust yours as your schedule changes, and it will learn your behavior to help you set schedules that will save the most energy. A smart thermostat will continue to learn more about your preferences the more you use the device. They also know when you’re home and when you’re away through geofencing capabilities or other third-party integrations. 

Key Tips to Consider

  • If you’re not sure whether a programmable or smart thermostat is what your home needs, try to determine where you stand in terms of comfort and savings. For instance, if you’re willing to sacrifice a certain level of comfort for additional savings, then consider using a programmable thermostat. Some professional air conditioning service companies suggest using this to automatically reduce the load on your HVAC system during the few hours of the day when a little comfort can be sacrificed. 
  • If you choose to install a programmable thermostat, you’ll usually see two different hold features: permanent hold and vacation/temporary hold. It’s recommended that you use the permanent or vacation hold only when you’re planning to be away from your home for an extended period of time. If you use this for daily temperature management, you’ll end up consuming more energy. 
  • If you decide to install a smart thermostat to use with your HVAC unit, you need to make sure that you have strong internet and Wi-Fi connections to maximize its offered features. Location also matters, so we suggest placing the thermostat on an interior wall so it won’t be hit by direct sunlight or drafts. 
  • When you use a smart thermostat, consistency is key. For instance, if you use the thermostat setbacks to monitor your temperature and keep it lower while you’re away but raise it back up later in the evening, your system will end up using more energy than it should. Continually overriding your temperature settings is also not advisable, as you’ll reduce your thermostat’s ability to make your HVAC system more energy efficient.

So, does having a programmable or smart thermostat really help you save money? Our answer is yes, provided that you follow our recommendations and understand what’s best for your home. While it’s possible to achieve similar benefits with a regular thermostat, it still takes a lot of effort. You’ll need to be very diligent about adjusting your thermostat’s schedules and temperature settings on a constant basis, which means you’ll be spending more time on it each time you do so. Smart thermostats do this job for you, so you can have more time to do the things you need or want to do.

If you want to learn more about how you can optimize your programmable or smart thermostat for the best comfort and efficiency in your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of the most trusted air conditioner repair companies in the area: Air Comfort Inc. To get started, give us a call at (409) 833-5665 or fill out our convenient contact form. Talk to us today!