What makes a smart thermostat so much smarter than a programmable one? A more flexible schedule, a wider variety of features and ease of use, to name a few.

Some years ago, when many homeowners upgraded from old, dial thermostats to a digital, programmable ones, they gained some advantages. Getting up on cold, dark mornings to turn up the thermostat became a thing of the past, like stoking the embers. Programmable thermostats have your home at the temperature you want it when your alarm goes off, making it that much easier to get out of bed.

Handy, Not Revolutionary

Programmable thermostats also allow you to keep the house cooler (or warmer, in summer), while you are at work during the day, but have it toasty again for you when you arrive home. Like a programmable coffee pot, these features allow you to have what you want when you want it, but realistically, it’s not greatly different from flipping a switch yourself and waiting a few minutes.

While convenient, a programmable thermostat that saves you the trouble of walking over to the control unit to turn your HVAC up or down is not likely to make huge difference in your life, or your energy bill. Smart thermostats are a bit different, however.

Control4 Programmable Smart Thermostat, Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Control4 Smart Thermostat
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Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Nest Thermostat
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Savant Smart Thermostat, Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Savant Smart Thermostat
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More Control

Programmable thermostats generally give you a limited number of schedules — sometimes only one. This is fine if you keep to the same schedule every day, but if you do, you don’t really need a fancy thermostat anyway.

Smart thermostats allow you to choose a variety of options for schedules during the week and on weekends. You may not get home from work until six, but maybe your kids get home from school at 3:30 — except on days they work (which change every week) or have practices or rehearsals, which change every season, or sometimes even more often. Or what if you’re expecting them home, but they go to friends’ houses instead, leaving your house at a balmy 72 degrees for hours with only the goldfish to benefit?

Last-minute schedule changes can leave your home too hot or too cold and waste money. Smart thermostats allow you to log in to your system from work or from your phone and make any necessary changes to the temperature in your home.

Knowledge is Power

An indirect way smart thermostats can help you save money is by tracking your energy consumption and making this data available to you. This way you can see how much energy you are consuming and whether it is in line with your past usage.

If you find, for instance, that it takes more than an hour to bring your home’s temperature up or down to the requested level, you might learn that something’s wrong with your furnace or air conditioning.

If you find your heat usage spikes between 3 and 5 p.m. when your kids are playing video games in the basement, you may save money installing extra insulation or instructing them to don sweatshirts before retiring to the subterranean level.

A smart thermostat will give you better control over your home’s energy usage and help you save money. To find out more about smart thermostats and how they can help you, stop in and talk to the experts at Theatron Home Theater & Smart Homes Automation.

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