Every homeowner wants to stay cozy through the heating system, but many people want to save money at the same time by reducing their energy bills. It may seem difficult to reconcile these two needs, but it is possible and choosing the right thermostat is a great start. Those looking to upgrade their thermostat will soon notice that the technology has advanced significantly compared to the older units. The two most popular thermostats at the moment are programmable and smart units. So, what’s the difference between the two and which is the best for your home?

Why Not Older Manual Thermostats?

Many people grew up with older manual or analog thermostats, but these are being fazed out by the newer options. Not everything that’s new is better, so why not just keep the existing manual thermostat instead?

Most heating and cooling professionals now advise their customers to upgrade their thermostats to better models. An older manual thermostat is set to the desired temperature, and manual adjustments must be made throughout the day. This is a lot of work during a busy day, and it’s easy to forget about and a less accurate way to control the temperature in your home.

Using a manual thermostat will mean that you spend more money on energy than you need to and this more than offsets the cheaper upfront prices. Now, many homeowners are looking for a more flexible way to control their indoor comfort levels, and this is why programmable and smart thermostats are becoming far more popular.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

It may come as a shock to some homeowners, but cooling, in particular, is responsible for around half of the energy costs in a typical home. It is possible to maintain your indoor comfort levels without spending so much money, and this is achieved by making energy savings. This is where the programmable thermostat becomes an attractive option for many people.

Another key aspect of a programmable thermostat is that it’s extremely customizable to meet your particular heating and cooling needs throughout the day. A schedule for your desired temperature can be programmed into the thermostat in advance for each day of the week. There is no need to manually adjust the thermostat during the day as the temperature heats up or cools down. The programmable thermostat will understand your comfort preferences and take care of the adjustments for you.

Programmable thermostats can save you money on your energy bills by automatically turning the temperature up or down. It’s also a great option to adjust the indoor temperature while you’re sleeping or away from home. Then the temperature can be at the desired level when you wake or return home.

If you choose a programmable thermostat, it will have a higher upfront cost compared to a traditional manual unit. After all, it’s a more complex piece of equipment, and it’s essential to get a unit that’s compatible with your HVAC system. It may seem like a simple thing to install, but a programmable thermostat should be installed by a certified HVAC technician. These types of thermostats are not universal, and they need to be fitted correctly to get the best out of them. It’s always a great idea to study the owner’s manual for programming tips and advice.

What is a Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is the next level choice for many homeowners to get the best technological solution to their thermostat needs. At the very basic level, the smart thermostat functions in a similar way to the programmable thermostat. A schedule can be set to control the temperature settings in your throughout the day. But, a smart thermostat can do much more, and it can be controlled directly from your smartphone.

When you access your smart thermostat via the app on your smartphone, you gain access to features, such as energy reports, system running times and updates on your air filter status. This gives you unparalleled control over your indoor heating and cooling, and this system is very adaptable. Because the smart thermostat runs using Wi-Fi, you can gain access to your system when you’re not even at home.

A smart thermostat is extremely intuitive to use, and the system will improve over time. It will follow any alterations that you make and learn from that behavior to more accurately predict your temperature needs at any time. After a while, the system will begin to make the necessary changes on its own, so that you can focus on other things. The smart thermostat will allow you to track performance and make changes using the smartphone app or a computer. The energy usage can be compiled on a website, so you can track how much you’re using and make any adjustments to save money.

Of course, this technology is at the cutting edge of the HVAC industry, and it can come at a premium. If you have a good programmable thermostat installed in your home, it may be a luxury item that you don’t need. After all, once you have your ideal schedule, it’s easy to program your thermostat to meet almost all of your indoor comfort needs. But, if you’re a person that loves new gadgets and having ultimate control, a smart thermostat will certainly meet those needs. This is a system that is excellent at making last minute changes; if your lifestyle demands an irregular schedule, a smart thermostat could the answer to your problems.

Which is the Best Option?

This is a difficult question to answer; every homeowner will have different needs, varying familiarity with technology and differing budgets. A smart thermostat will cost more to buy because it has so many more features compared to a programmable unit. Both programmable and smart thermostats will save money on your energy bills. But, if you need that extra level of control because you arrive home at different times, a smart thermostat will allow you to maintain your indoor comfort far more easily.