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Smart vs. Programmable Thermostats

5 October 2012

With the second generation of the uber-cool Nest thermostat released, it is time to talk about smart thermostats. Specifically, what is the difference between them and other thermostats.

The main difference is how these thermostats help you use less energy. Each one is designed to make it easier and more likely that you will actually change the temperature in your home.

Manual Thermostat- As you know, it is all your responsibility to set the temperature with a regular thermostat. Having to manually change the temperature every time you leave the house, go to sleep, and wake up, makes many people not bother or forget to change the temperature.

Programmable Thermostat- It allows you to pre-schedule the temperature in your home when you are sleeping or away from your home. When programmed correctly you can save $180 a year by using a programmable thermostat. Yet, these thermostats are so complicated they result in many people failing to program them and using the “hold” button.  Unfortunately this means no real energy savings.

Smart Thermostat-These are designed to be easier than ever.  By using it like a manual thermostat for a couple days, smart thermostats learn your behavior. This makes it so more thermostats are being used properly and most efficiently.

For an increased investment ($100-$500), you get a gizmo that works with your irregular schedule and your aversion to fiddling with the controls on your wall, an Energy Star engineer told Earth911.

Smart thermostats also have additional features such as smartphone apps and internet connection that make it simple to access your energy use and change the thermostats settings when you are on-the-go.


Get with the Program

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