Pros and Cons of Programmable Thermostats

With the holidays fully upon us, we’ll be using more energy to power twinkling lights inside and out, cooking on the stove and in the oven, and adjusting thermostats to keep comfortable. While most people are focused on their shopping, planning meals, and getting ready for travel, you’ll find there are some good deals to be had in home improvement. During this time of year, home improvement projects aren’t high on the list of priorities, so, you might find some substantial savings.

Pros and Cons of Programmable Thermostats

One of the smartest but easiest improvements doesn’t come with knocking down walls, rewiring entire rooms, or any other labor intensive effort, but rather, with your thermostat. Your thermostat is one place you can save month after month, and, with smart thermostats now being so widely advertised, you might just consider buying one. Of course, it’s a new technology and that means there will be challenges with installation and especially with programming.

“Programmable thermostats commonly account for a large percentage of energy savings for many residential and small business energy efficiency programs. For some portfolios, because of the limited number of devices that can affect gas savings for these sectors, programmable thermostats are the primary equipment aimed at attaining gas savings goals. However, evaluations reveal that actual energy savings for these devices often fall short of expected savings.” —American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

A great alternative is a programmable thermostat. While this isn’t as newfangled, these have a proven track record on which to rely. What’s more, these do cut down on energy consumption precisely because of their primary function. Unlike those old, analog thermostats, which rely on dated technology, these are far more accurate, and, the more accurate their reading, the more efficient your central heating and cooling unit will be whenever it’s running. However, programmable thermostats, do have a few downsides. Here are the biggest pros and cons of programmable thermostats:

  • More accurate, efficient energy use. The reason so many homeowners switched from analog thermostats to digital controls is due to the fact these are just more accurate. Your central heating and air unit depends on accurate temperature measurement to operate efficiently. If the reading is off, it will cycle on more, wasting money.
  • Automatic adjustment features. Rather than having to manually set the temperature each and every time and do so day after day, you’ll program the device to run at the times and temperatures that are most sensible for your home.
  • Better comfort in-home comfort levels. One of the advantages of having a programmable thermostat is the fact that you can set it to turn on your system or begin to cool or heat just before you arrive home. In addition, you can also set it to turn off before you leave so you don’t have to make an adjustment.
  • Remote monitoring controls. Some of these models come with remote control options, which increase their usability and make them even more convenient. You can turn your system off, on, or raise or lower the temperature, even when you’re not home.

While these are wonderful benefits, there are a few drawbacks, which include: more complex installation, programming time, and incompatibility. Unlike digital and analog thermostats, programmable thermostats take more time to install, are a bit more complicated to program, and, these devices aren’t universal. Be sure to do a bit of research on your system to learn which will work with your HVAC system before you make a purchase.