When a service technician comes to your home, it can almost become an information overload– so many questions, and the answers can become jumbled and intertwined.
One of the most asked questions in my experience is, “Should I have a programmable thermostat?”
Truth be told, if I had a dollar for every time this question was asked of me in my career, I would probably be $50,000 richer today. This is not meant to be a knock on the consumer; this is a very valid and important question with a lot of different opinions floating around out there. Let’s see if we can solve the age-old problem. To program or not to program? Now that is a question.
I am going to begin with a short statement about the industry’s progression in regards to thermostats. If you still have an old, mercury-style thermostat, you know the type I’m talking about– the thermostat with the dial on the front or the lever you have to move to change the temperature. This style is no longer in production, and the mercury needs to be recycled when you do replace it with an energy-efficient, computerized thermostat. It is now required that your HVAC contractor removes this style of thermostat when you have a new heating and cooling system installed. Even your basic thermostat that you need to manually change the temperature when you want it warmer or cooler is now computerized. This is a much more accurate thermostat to ensure a better comfort level, as well as avoiding unnecessary run time due to the inaccuracy of the older, outdated thermostats.
Should you own a programmable thermostat? This all depends on your family’s schedule. If you are on a 9-5 type schedule and your spouse is on a 3-11 work schedule, you probably maintain a 70-75 degree temperature most of the summer. This isn’t really the type of use that would be consistent with a lot of savings over the long term. Now let’s look at a family with everyone gone during the day, and then they return in the evening to enjoy some homework and a little family time. This will allow for a significant temperature change during the day to see a difference in your heating or cooling bills. This would pertain to anyone who is on a fairly regimented schedule and would like to enjoy some savings without compromising comfort.
Let’s talk briefly about different types of programmable thermostats. You have a 5-day / 2-day thermostat that is great for the Monday-to-Friday schedule when you’re home most of the weekend, but can enjoy some savings during the week when your home is empty. The 7-day programmable thermostat allows you to set each day differently in case you have a regular schedule, just not a Monday to Friday regiment.
Let’s give technology a shout out and mention that there are touchscreen thermostats as well as your basic push button, select-a-switch style thermostats for those who don’t enjoy high-tech but like to save money. Some of you love high-tech and would enjoy a Wi-Fi thermostat that gives you control from anywhere in the world on your phone, laptop or tablet. For example, if you are at work and spontaneously invite some friends over after work and would like your house to be a few degrees cooler for your guests, Wi-Fi would allow you to make these adjustments from work. Your guests are comfortable when they walk in the door instead of having to wait for some relief because you had to make an adjustment when you walked in the door.