So, you’re looking to buy a programmable thermostat. You’ve heard how they can save you up to $180 a year while keeping your comfortable.
This is true. But before you start looking for the cool, special features you want, make sure you don’t make these fundamental mistakes that could:
Just like certain remote controls only work with certain TVs, some programmable thermostats are designed to only work with certain heating/cooling systems.
Things you need to look for include:
Type of heating and cooling system— Do you have an air conditioner/furnace combo or a heat pump? Look on the thermostat’s packaging or product description online to see if it can work with what you have.
Number of heating and cooling stages— “Stages” refers to the system’s ability to run at different speeds depending on the weather. For example, a two-stage air conditioning unit has a high setting for hotter days and a low setting for milder days.
Make sure your programmable thermostat can work with your system if it has multiple stages. The programmable thermostat should say if it can in its product description.
Wiring— Your new thermostat needs the same type of wiring as your current thermostat to work with your system. Do this:
When shopping around for a programmable thermostat, don’t think, “I just want the cheapest one I can find.” Think, “What’s my weekly schedule like?”
Your schedule will determine what scheduling model you need to buy to maximize your heating and cooling system’s efficiency.
Programmable thermostats come in 4 different scheduling models to fit different life schedules.
Here they are from most customizable and most expensive, to least customizable and least expensive.
7-day model— Set a different temperature schedule for each day of the week (Mon-Sun). Perfect for those with irregular schedules.
5-1-1 model — Set 3 different temperature schedules:
5+2 model— Set 2 different temperature schedules:
1-week model— Set only one temperature schedule for Monday through Sunday.
There are also smart thermostats, like the Nest, that can adjust to your schedule as you use it.
Zoned homes are split into different heating/cooling sections. If that’s your home, then you have multiple thermostats, one to control each zone of the home.
So that means you’ll either need to buy multiple programmable thermostats or buy a programmable thermostat that can control multiple zones. You can designate this single thermostat as the “master” thermostat. That way you don’t have to waste time programming multiple thermostats.
Finding the right type of thermostat and installing it can be a pain. But a professional heating/cooling contractor can help you: