How to Select a Thermostat for Your Home Heating and Cooling Needs
If you were told that there was a simple and inexpensive way to lower your energy bill, you’d no doubt jump at the chance to cut the monthly costs associated with running your household. As it turns out, there are all kinds of products and practices that qualify. For example, you could switch to energy-efficient CFLs instead of incandescent bulbs. And you could power down or even unplug electronics when not in use rather than simply letting the screen saver run, sucking up as much energy as if you were using your computer. But you might also consider the benefits of installing a new thermostat to manage the heat and air conditioning in your home. If you’re still relying on a dial to regulate the temperature in your home, you should know that this antiquated product is not nearly as accurate as its modern, digital counterparts. And there are all kinds of options amongst digital thermostats that can help you to keep your interior temperature in check. Here are a couple of things you’ll want to consider before you upgrade to ensure that you buy the right product for your home.
The first feature to take under consideration is programming options. You might not think that you need a programmable thermostat, and the truth is that most people get by just fine adjusting the temperature manually as needed. But you do stand to save some money over what you’re paying now for energy by utilizing a programmable thermostat appropriately. When the outdoor temperatures soar or drop, you’ll probably respond by firing up your furnace or AC unit to keep your home interior comfortable for inhabitants.
But what about the time your family spends at work or school? Do you really want to pay top dollar to keep the heat or AC running? No. For this reason you may adjust your thermostat or even turn it off. What you don’t realize, though, is that when you turn it on again your unit will have to work a lot harder to get your home back to a tolerable temperature, and this demand for energy could create a lot of unnecessary usage. A programmed schedule will allow for more gradual usage, thereby curbing waste and spending.
You may also want to think about a locking feature that stops every hand in the household from adjusting the thermostat up or down. Some programmable thermostats come with an actual keyed lock on the unit, but a more attractive option is a digital passcode that you punch in to adjust the temperature. Finally, there are now options for remote operation of your thermostat. Some are associated with your home alarm system, which virtually creates a smart home system for you, allowing you to remotely control your alarm, your thermostat, lighting, and even electronics from your smartphone or tablet. Vivint and ADT are two companies that offer such options.
But if you’d rather just control the thermostat remotely, there are products that will sync up with your iPhone, iPad, or other mobile device. You may not be able to use these measures to control how your heat pump works in summer or how your furnace performs in the winter, but you can change the temperature in your home from work or anywhere else should you realize you left the air running full blast in your absence.