Programmable Thermostats for The Home | Top 4 Programmable Thermostat Types

Installing a programmable thermostat for your heating and air conditioning can be one of the best ways to save energy and decrease your monthly energy costs. Programmable thermostats can help you maintain comfort in your home all day, maximize it when you are there and minimize it when you aren’t.

Why have your thermostat set at 70 degrees in the heat of the summer if you are not there for 8 hours a day? Instead, opt for a thermostat that can pump it up to 80+, then cool it back down 30 minutes before you arrive home.

According to the US Department of Energy website,

“You can save around 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for eight hours. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.”

In this DIY Reviews article, we will discuss the different types of programmable thermostats, what each one can do for you, and if this is a DIY project or if you should pay an hvac contractor or electrician to install one in your home.

First, lets talk about the different types of programmable thermostats on the market. Basically, there are 6 types to choose from:

Electromechanical Thermostat

An electromechanical thermostat is best used by a family that has a regular schedule like – Go to work at 7 am, come home at 6pm, etc.  These thermostats are simple to use and can be added to most any heating and air conditioning system. With a simpler interface comes a unit that isn’t quite as flexible as some of the others, but it fit the bill if you are looking for a basic model.

7 Day Digital Programmable Thermostat

With a digital thermostat you have the ability to program each day individually. They can be more difficult to program, so make sure you read the instructions or listen closely to the hvac technician that you have install it for you. Once you learn how to program it, it will become second nature.

Hybrid Thermostat

This type of thermostat combines the electromechanical and digital into one unit. Some functions will be digital, but it also includes manual controls as well.

Internet Smart Thermostats

One of the thermostats on the block and becoming highly popular are internet smart thermostats. The biggest difference between these and other programmable thermostats, besides the extra cost, is their ability to be remotely programmed and controlled by the internet (computer and mobile) from anywhere. Adjust your temperatures, program them and receive text and email alerts for maintenance and alarms. The NEST is just one of these popular thermostats, so if you are interested in them, check it out on their website.

Worth mentioning, but primary for commercial business use:

Occupancy Thermostat

Designed for areas that are not occupied most of the time, like warehouses or vacation homes, occupancy thermostats can be pre-set to one temperature, but come with the ability to override when necessary.

Light Sensing Thermostat

Most light sensing thermostats are used by commercial buildings and are activated by the light level in the actual space. They contain a photocell inside that will sense when the building is unoccupied based on the light being used. At this point it will lower the temperature automatically until it senses light again.

Most homeowners will opt for either an electromechanical or digital thermostat because they are the most cost effective and an easy do it yourself project for most people. Regardless of which you choose, deciding on a programmable thermostat can get you one step closer to saving money on your energy costs, while keeping your home comfortable year round.



2 Responses to “Programmable Thermostats for The Home | Top 4 Programmable Thermostat Types”
  1. Jackie says:

    we added a programmable thermostat to our upstairs (main floor we live on) floor a few months ago and its been a breeze to learn how to use it and the waking up to a more comfortable house has been awesome! It was a honeywell 7-day program type and we had our hvac guy install it while he was here doing other service on the heating system.

  2. Henry Jones says:

    The programmable thermostat we have in our home, Breaburn has worked great and did save on our monthly utility costs.