Choosing The Right Thermostat For Your Home

January 18, 2024
Smart Thermostats

The thermostat is a crucial component of your home’s heating and cooling system. This device is vital for setting comfortable indoor temperatures. In addition to establishing indoor comfort, proper thermostat practices are also critical for your household budget. According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average family spends over $2,200 on energy expenses.

Half of that amount goes directly to heating and cooling costs. However, the same report showed that families can save as much as 10% on annual heating and cooling costs by choosing to turn back the thermostat 10%-15% for eight hours each day. With such lifestyle impact at stake from using a thermostat alone, it is no wonder that many Americans are interested in knowing which thermostats improve indoor conditions. A look at the best strategy for selecting the right thermostat can help you make an informed decision for your household.

What Are Different Types of Thermostats?

The two main types of thermostats are low-voltage thermostats and line-voltage thermostats. Low-voltage devices are compatible with central forced air systems. They care called “low voltage” because the electromotive force or voltage rate falls between 24V-50V. Many American homes have these thermostats since they can control a variety of HVAC equipment like furnaces, boilers, blowers, fans, and ducted heat pumps. Line-voltage thermostats are popular for homes with electric-resistance heating equipment.

These thermostats run on the same electrical current as the equipment and therefore use higher voltage. The electromotive force or voltage rate for these thermostats ranges between 120V-240V. Line-voltage thermostats work with baseboard or in-wall heaters, fan-forced HVAC systems, radiant systems, and other single heating units. Some households also use them for central heat pump systems or ductless mini-split installations. If you have questions about the main types of thermostats, an HVAC professional can evaluate your system and advise on the best selection for your home.

What Are Different Categories of Thermostats?

Choosing the best thermostat and optimizing its settings can ensure peak performance of your HVAC system and help make heating or cooling cycles more efficient. The four categories of thermostats are manual, programmable, WiFi, or smart thermostats.

Manual Thermostats

Manual thermostats are conventional devices that homeowners can adjust by hand. These thermostats are either analog or digital, and they typically feature buttons on the front for quick temperature adjustments. While some users appreciate the familiarity, they can require constant monitoring to maintain comfort and avoid spikes in energy bills. For this reason, manual thermostats are often impractical for the modern lifestyle.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats allow you to schedule or preset temperature preferences for the day or week. Popular settings include workweek versus weekend schedules as well as work-from-home or vacation settings. By programming the thermostat to match your occupancy or daily routine, you can avoid drastic temperature changes as well as the unwanted expense of heating or cooling an empty home.

Examples of standard programmable thermostat settings include the following:

  • 7-day program for unique settings each day of the week
  • 5-2 program for separate weekend settings
  • 5-1-1 program for unique settings on Saturday or Sunday
  • 1-week for consistent settings on a weekly basis

According to the Department of Energy (DOE), programmable devices come in digital, electromechanical, or hybrid models. Digital models include features like overrides for default settings or advanced setback options. In comparison, electromechanical units incorporate manual pegs or sliding tabs to adjust settings.

WiFi Thermostats

WiFi thermostats connect directly to your home’s existing wireless network. Through this wireless internet connection, the WiFi thermostat enables remote access and programming using web-based apps. The signature feature of this type of thermostat is the ability to change settings using your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Some WiFi devices also let you download power usage reports and offer suggestions to help you save energy. The most advanced WiFi-enabled thermostats can integrate with other wireless voice-assistant devices, allowing you to change preferences using vocal commands.

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat is the most advanced option for temperature regulation. Among all types of devices, the smart thermostat has quickly become the most recommended choice. According to data from the EPA, 19.6 million American households now have this device installed. Smart thermostats can enable remote access like WiFi devices as well as preset schedules like programmable units.

However, smart thermostats go a step further through the use tools like artificial intelligence, machine learning technology, and system algorithms to optimize the settings for your home. For instance, smart thermostats may use geofencing to detect home occupancy and reduce HVAC usages if you are away from home. This may help reduce energy bills. Smart thermostats can also use geolocation to set defaults based on weather or almanac data.

Importantly, smart devices can also employ learning algorithms to track preferences and create unique schedules based on your lifestyle needs. Ask your HVAC technician about smart devices with the ENERGY STAR label. According to the ENERGY STAR program, According to ENERGY STAR, properly installed smart thermostat can save over $180 per year in energy costs.

Why Do Experts Recommend Smart Thermostats for Homes?

The most prominent features of smart thermostats include AI integration and machine learning technology. However, there are other reasons experts now recommend advanced thermostats for the home. Due to seamless integration with the HVAC system, smart thermostats can detect potential problems and provide alerts on all issues relevant to home comfort.

These alerts can include the need for filter changes, repairs, power outages, and potential system failures. Other alert settings include humidity monitoring to improve indoor air quality and prevent problems like mold growth, static electricity, or the spread of indoor allergens. Similarly, some models can integrate with devices like smart lighting fixtures or home security systems to simplify home management.

Experts also recommend smart thermostats reducing your carbon footprint and improving the value of your property. According to the EPA, the U.S. could save 56 trillion BTUs of energy and offset 13 billion pounds of yearly greenhouse gas emissions if every household installed an ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat. This could also translate into $740 million savings in utility costs.

In addition to the environment as a whole, a smart thermostat can extend the lifespan of your HVAC equipment by making small adjustments that reduce wear and tear. The track record of having a smart thermostat can improve the resale value of the home by demonstrating that your property is already equipped with the latest technology, thereby making the house more appealing to potential buyers.

What Are Expert Guidelines for Installing a Smart Thermostat?

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program provides expert guidelines on installing a smart thermostat. Foremost, homeowners should seek professional installation from a reliable HVAC company. A trained HVAC technician can install the device in the correct location of your home and comply with the terms of manufacturer warranties.

Since amateurs who attempt to integrate thermostats with home hardware can risk inadvertently damaging equipment, it is important to work with an HVAC company that has the tools and experience to properly hardwire the device. Depending on your location, the ENERGY STAR program also encourages homeowners to take advantage of potential rebate programs. This can help offset the cost of your purchase and can also ensure compatibility with local requirements.

Contact Us Today

Choosing the right thermostat can help your heating and cooling system run more efficiently and improve the comfort of your indoor space. C & C Heating & Air Conditioning provides HVAC services for homes in Detroit and surrounding areas. We offer smart thermostat installation as well as indoor air quality (IAQ) services. Our technicians also conduct furnace and AC maintenance and repairs. We provide duct cleaning and can also install ductless or heat pump units. No matter the HVAC concern, we have you covered. Contact C & C Heating & Air Conditioning today for all heating and cooling needs.

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