Choosing a Thermostat--Home Energy Managment Options

Controlling the temperature of the indoor environment may be one of humankind’s best achievements. We can make it warmer or cooler simply by fiddling with a little box on the wall. Technology has made the power to adjust and monitor your home’s temperature even easier. Today, home thermostats range from the very simple manual units most of us remember from childhood to Wi-Fi-enabled wonders that save energy and worry.

The Basics
Mechanical and non-programmable digital thermostats are both simple models that allow the user to control temperature setting manually. Non-programmable digital thermostats offer the advantage of an easily seen digital readout. These may be preferred by the homeowner who spends a lot of time at home and doesn’t mind adjusting the thermostat through the day or people who prefer the temperature on a fixed setting. Manual thermostats are typically found in older homes. They are economical to purchase but don't offer much in the way of energy savings.

Energy Friendly Programmable Thermostats
How many times have you forgotten to turn down the heat before leaving for work in the morning or been woken in the middle of the night to the sound of the AC kicking on? A programmable thermostat can prevent those costly, energy-wasting mistakes and keep your home at the perfect temperature all day and night. In fact, a programmable thermostat can save up to 33% on heating costs and up to 25% on cooling. Advanced models can also alternate between heating and cooling.

Remote Control
Remote energy management may not be quite as fun as operating a remote control toy, but it’s still pretty awesome. A remote thermostat system lets the user program and monitor their HVAC system from a Smartphone, tablet or computer wherever they are. A separate hub is required to connect to your home broadband system. This type of thermostat is energy efficient, allowing for temperature adjustments throughout the day or night. It also allows parents or caregivers the option to monitor the thermostat if they’re concerned about energy usage.

Let’s Learn
The latest, most technologically sophisticated energy management systems are called Learning thermostats. They provide the energy-efficient benefits of a programmable system without actually needing to be programmed. Instead, Learning thermostats create a schedule based on past usage. They learn your preferences and can turn themselves up or down automatically, even adjusting the temperature room by room.  Learning thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled and can be managed remotely from a Smartphone, computer or tablet.

What type of thermostat you choose depends on the type and capabilities of your HVAC system. Older systems may have to be upgraded in order to be compatible with the latest in energy-management technology. Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats may also require an upgrade in your home’s wireless capabilities.

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