Replacing the old electromechanical thermostats in your home with a new digital thermostat is an excellent way to save on heating and cooling costs. By lowering the heat in your home 10o to 15 o for 8 hours a day, you can save about 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill. A basic digital programmable thermostat can make temperature adjustments for you automatically throughout the day to optimize your energy savings and reduce your bill. If you need or want remote control capabilities, there are more sophisticated models available. Here’s a brief overview of digital thermostats to make it easy for you to choose the model that’s right for you:
GOOD: Most homeowners know about the energy-saving strategy of turning down the heat (or raising the air conditioning temperature) during the day when the family is at school or work and at night when everyone is sleeping. With a programmable thermostat, adjustments to the heat or A/C can be done automatically according to the schedule that you preset. Most programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings, some for up to six time periods a day, and all offer a manual override so you can make a temperature change without affecting the entire program. If your family’s comings and goings are fairly consistent from day to day, installing a basic programmable thermostat in each heating/cooling zone of your home is an economical, energy-efficient solution.
BETTER: Homeowners who want the convenience of being able to monitor and adjust all of the thermostats in their home from one place can opt for a wireless remote thermostat with a handheld remote control. These systems, which are fully-programmable so you can preset temperature settings, will also transmit through walls and floors from a distance of about 500 feet. A wireless remote thermostat with a handheld remote control is a handy option for families living in large, multi-zone homes. They are also popular with the elderly or disabled homeowners who want to be able to make temperature adjustments without having to get up from the sofa or out of bed.
BEST: Suppose you are at work on a hot summer day and you want to turn up the air conditioning in your apartment to keep your pets cool? Or maybe you have a vacation house and want to be able to pre-heat it before you arrive? With a telephone thermostat, you can monitor and adjust your thermostat from anywhere using your landline or cell phone. To monitor and adjust your thermostat using an Internet-connected computer or web-enabled mobile phone, get an Internet thermostat (or “smart” thermostat).
Telephone thermostats and Internet thermostats usually work with any HVAC system and are fully-programmable. Many models will also announce the current temperature when you call or log-in and some systems can send out alarm alerts if the temperature in the house gets too high or low or if the power goes out.
When you consider that the average household spends 43% of their utility bill on heating or cooling their home, it’s easy to see how a basic programmable digital thermostat will quickly pay for itself by reducing energy costs. And if you want the convenience of controlling the temperature in your home from a distance, a telephone thermostat or Internet thermostat will give you that capability for a slight upcharge.