Programmable thermostats are a must-have for your smart home. This technology brings about many benefits, some that you probably know and others that may come as a surprise. Read our guide to the advantages of programmable thermostats for smart homes to learn why you need to upgrade if you don’t already have one or have older thermostats.
Take a Quick Look at the Different Types of Programmable Thermostats
There are three types of thermostats to consider in your smart home. Prices vary. Some basic models don’t cost more than $20, but thermostats with more technology may run more than that, but the convenience and features may be important to you and worth the extra cost.
Programmable thermostats are digital thermostats that have programmed settings that allow you to customize your air conditioning or heating system’s operations.
They may be a 7-Day model where you set a schedule for each day or a one-week schedule where the same settings are used all week. How about a 5-1-1 schedule where you have the same program for five days of the week and separate routines for Saturday and Sunday? There are also 5-2 schedules where you have a setting for five days and a second setting for the other two days.
When you’re at work and your home’s empty, you might not mind if your AC is running at 80º or 82º F. When you’re on your way home, you can program it to cool back down. That’s the importance of a programmable thermostat.
While air conditioning systems need regular maintenance, thermostats are designed to just keep going until they malfunction. The average lifespan of a programmable thermostat is 10 years. It may be time to replace and upgrade your current thermostats if yours are older than 10 years.
Programmable thermostats can be Wi-Fi enabled. You can access the thermostat from an app on your phone and adjust settings from your office, while you’re shopping, or when you’re returning from a night out with family and friends. Typically, these thermostats are also smart thermostats.
Smart (Insight) thermostats are another option, and it’s one you should carefully consider. While a programmable thermostat requires you to program the different settings, a smart thermostat learns your habits. It takes a little input at first, but after a few days, the thermostat learns your patterns and adjusts the settings to match them using geofencing technology.
If you leave the house to go to work Monday through Friday at 8 a.m., the smart thermostat will learn to change the temperature settings when you’re away. It also learns when you return and adjusts the setting automatically right before you’re due to arrive home.
What Are the Advantages?
Those are your options. What are the advantages of a programmable thermostat? They range from providing financial and personal benefits to others like efficiency and system depreciation.
The Savings Cut Your Energy Bills
Florida Power and Light reports that the installation of programmable and smart thermostats reduces yearly energy bills by an average of $50 per year. That’s an average. You may find that the savings are far more than that in your home.
In addition, you might find rebates or sales with thermostat manufacturers that help you save money. Some companies offer substantial savings for new customers, and others offer cashback rebates after it’s been installed. Look for these offers to save on the addition of this new thermostat and enjoy additional savings throughout the year.
They Boost Energy Efficiency
Programmable thermostats improve your system’s efficiency. Shifting your AC temperature by even 7º F can reduce your energy consumption by as much as 10% per year. If you make additional improvements, such as adding shade trees or awnings near large windows or patio doors, using light-blocking shades or curtains, or adding more insulation, your home’s AC becomes even more efficient.
Your Central AC System May Last Longer
When you’re not running your central AC system as much during the day or when you’re on vacation, the decreased usage helps reduce wear and tear on the AC components. You may find it helps extend the life of your AC system.
In Florida, central air conditioning systems run year-round. While an AC in some parts of the U.S. can last 20 to 30 years, frequent use in Florida shortens that average lifespan to around 10 to 15 years. If you have it properly maintained by a Florida AC technician and use programmable thermostats, you might get 20 years of use out of your system.
It Protects Your Home
Smart programmable thermostats protect your home, too. Some models have technology that alerts you if your home is colder or hotter than your settings. If you are at work and learn that your home’s temperature is up in the 90s, you know something’s wrong. You can call a Florida AC technician to meet you at your home and figure out why your AC system isn’t working.
You’ll Be More Comfortable
With a traditional thermostat, you can adjust the temperature manually, but it takes time for the house to cool to the latest setting you’ve chosen. During that time, you may have to deal with being uncomfortable.
Programmable thermostats adjust the room temperature while you’re still in bed sleeping or on your way home. By the time you get up or arrive, your home is already at the preferred temperature.
How Do You Choose the Best Programmable Thermostat For Your Home?
How do you choose the best programmable thermostat for your AC system? There are a few things to consider.
Start by making sure your current thermostats have a c-wire, older thermostats won’t have it. You need to make sure that the thermostat you’re purchasing is compatible or plan to have the wiring redone.
Manufacturers often have online compatibility guides. To use them, you have to remove your current thermostat and take note of the wire colors. Use these guides to determine what type of programmable thermostat is compatible.
Once you’ve narrowed down the types that will work, you need to make sure your central AC system is compatible. High SEER systems (20+ SEER) may require you to choose a programmable thermostat from specific companies. It’s not always a one-size-fits-all situation.
If you purchase a Wi-Fi thermostat, you need to make sure the signal is strong. A dropped connection could turn your AC system off and make your home uncomfortable. If you keep experiencing dropped connections, a Wi-Fi range extender may be required.
Technology and Features
Consider your top features. Do you want to have a voice-activated smart thermostat or is phone control enough? Do you want thermostats that send alerts if the temperature is too high or too low? How about features like proximity sensors that turn the screen on if it senses you walking toward the thermostat?
Do you want to be over Wi-Fi where there can be a lack of security if someone opted to hack your device? You might prefer the security of being connected to your router or modem. Just make sure you have a strong password.
You have to consider your budget. If you don’t have the money for a smart thermostat that contains every possible feature, look for rebates and savings if you can. Otherwise, narrow down your choices to those within your budget.
Turn to an expert in Florida air conditioning systems for guidance. All Year Cooling has installed thousands of systems and programmable thermostats, and we are happy to help you choose the best thermostat for your smart home.