Posted on July 17, 2017
Thermostatonline.com is a premium resource for latest home thermostats and news concerning the energy saving at home niche.
Hello! and welcome to my site. I understand that when choosing from the different range of thermostat models available, it might be hard to find an ideal model. With short reviews,comparison and selection guide, we hope to help you find a thermostat that is perfect for your home and your budget.
A digital non-programmable thermostat temperature reading and setting on these thermostats are far more accurate and give you the convenience of easy to read LCD display. The problem with these thermostats, however, is that one needs to remember to change them. For example if you prefer to turn off your heater or lower it during winter nights to save energy, you will have to remember to do it manually every night.
Today’s programmable thermostats offer a variety of options, from displaying the home’s humidity level to showing you how much energy your system is using. You can choose models that will interface with your computer, allowing you to control the thermostat remotely. These internet-connected devices can even text you when it’s time to change your system’s air filter.Some even seem to have a mind of their own. Equipped with PID controllers, they record and process data, learning how long it takes to adjust temperatures in your home, and then automatically adjusting settings until they can maintain your ideal temperature within half a degree.These are generally called the wifi or smart thermostats but are essentially programmable thermostats.
Is it possible to save money using programmable thermostat ?
If you want to know ether it is possible or not to save money using programmable, the answer is of course it is.The correct question then is how and whether using a programmable thermostat is any advantage over a basic setback thermostat.
As with any machine it can only be useful to certain extent and its efficiency depends on the person using it.This is true even for modern smart thermostats.Here is a simple chart and proposed saving for simple household.
In general 1 degree setback (less in winter,more in summer) for 8 hrs result in 1 % saving in energy consumption.
|Time||6am to 9pm||9pm to 6am||Proposed Saving|
|Winter||68°F (20°C)||58(14°C)||11 % (6°C/8hrs *15 hrs)|
|Summer||78°F (26°C)||96(36°C)||18 % (10°C/8hrs *15 hrs)|
This is what experts say.
My first reaction to people who say that thermostat setbacks don’t work has been to say that they need to go back and study the basic physics of heat transfer. After going through all this and giving Kidd a chance to post his views here in the Energy Vanguard Blog, that’s still my view.
No, actually that’s not just my view. The fundamental principles of physics are well established, and the research shows that thermostat setbacks can save energy. Anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong.
Many people who have programmable thermostats leave them in the ‘permanent hold’ position, as we do because we don’t have a regular enough schedule. A lot of people with either kind of thermostat use setbacks to save energy.
Thermostat setbacks are where the energy savings come from.
Programmable thermostats may or may not be programmed or manually adjusted for setbacks.
So, the answer to the title question is:
No, programmable thermostats do not save energy. Not without some help from you anyway.
Thermostat Myths: Busted
- Your thermostat can’t control the intensity of your furnace
- Setbacks and setups do save you money
- Programmable thermostats can save you $180 annually if you set them right
Programmable thermostats can save money — not just in theory — buit only if they’re used correctly. Pick your set points based on your household’s habits, and then leave them there. Don’t fuss with the thermostat. The following is a typical energy-efficient program:
Remember its your behaviors and motivation to save energy and ultimately energy bills that will be the real factor.A programmable thermostat can only help you achieve that goal.
Affordable Programmable non wifi Home Thermostats
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heating and cooling costs account for about half of the average American household’s energy expenses. There are dozens of energy-saving strategies that you can employ to reduce your monthly energy bills, from turning out lights when you leave a room to adding insulation to your attic. One of the easiest, most effective and affordable ways to cut energy costs is to install a programmable thermostat.
Lower Your Energy Bills Up To 10 %
For a minimal investment, programmable thermostats offer substantial savings. You can save about $180 each year from these savvy devices, according to the EPA, or around 10 percent of your energy bills (many thermostat manufacturers claim higher savings than that – some up to 33%). Most units cost less than your family might spend on a dinner and a movie.
The digital thermostats display the current time and temperature. You flip through screen displays to program them. While you have the option to manually alter the current temperature at any time, savings come from careful programming.
Scheduled to Turn On & Off Automatically
You can customize the settings to fit your household’s schedule, automatically turning heating and cooling systems off when family members are away from home and back on again in time to ensure that the temperature is comfortable when everyone’s at home.
Most models let you set different schedules for weekdays and weekends, with several temperature changes each day. You can program them to lower the temperature at your usual bedtime and raise the temperature so that you wake up to a comfortably warm home.
|Name||Honeywell RTH8500D||Lux TX1500E||Honeywell RTH7500D||LUX TX9100U|
(weekdays , weekend)
|4 Periods per day||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heat pumps||Yes(With auxilary)||Yes (no auxillary)||Yes (With auxilary)||Yes (With auxiliary)|
|Exception||Electric baseboard heat||2 stage heating and cooling||Electric baseboard heat||120/240 VAC line-voltage systems.|
|Power||Battery (Act as backup if you use C wire)||Battery||Battery||Battery|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||3 Years|
|Review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
|Auot cool or heat||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Temperature swing and Adjustable cycles||+/-1 No||+-3 Yes (0.25 increment type)||+/-1(fixed) Directly entering number cycle numbers.||+-3 Yes (0.25 increment type)|
|Save Program to memory on battery outage||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Filter change/usage reminder||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable days Vacation mode||Yes||Yes||No (Only temperature hold or manual operation)||Yes 1 to 30 days|
|Name||Honeywell RTH230B||Lux TX9000TS||Honeywell RTH7600D|
(weekdays , weekends)
|4 Periods per day||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heat pumps||No||Yes (Single stage)||Yes (upto 2 stage)|
|Exception||Heat pumps or multistage||3 wire zonevalves, 120V systems, or multistage systems||Electric baseboard heat (120 to 240 volts)|
|Power||Battery||Battery||Battery (optional if you use c wire)|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 year||1 year|
|Review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
|Auot cool or heat||No||No||Yes|
|Temperature swing and Adjustable cycles||+/- 1 Directly set number of cycles.||+/-3 (Using temperature Differential)||+/- 1 No|
|Save Program to memory on battery outage||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Filter change/usage reminder||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adjustable days Vacation mode||No(Only temperature hold for manual operation)||No (Only temperature hold for manual operation)||No (Only temperature hold for manual operation)|
Above is a list of best models at low prices.For higher end models you can better opt for a wifi embedded models.There are few things to pay attention to when buying your thermostat in this range.
The best programmable thermostat has flexible program settings. One programming option is a 7 day program which allows you to choose a unique program for each day of the week with up to four periods per day. This option is great for people with very busy schedules. 5-1-1 programming allows a person to have one setting for the weekdays and a separate one for each of the weekend days. 5-2 setting also allows for different programming options for the weekday and the weekend, but it is programmed for both weekdays together and not individually. And finally, the one week setting, allows a different program for each week. Especially helpful with those who travel often.
Make sure the thermostat you’re buying will work with your heating/cooling system because while most thermostats work with common cooling and heating systems, some might have exceptions.Also the heating and cooling stages in your home is crucial before buying your thermostat.Heating and cooling stage in your home can be determined based on the wiring labels in your home.Wire labelled Y is for air conditioner and the one labeled white is for heating furnace. If you have Yellow wire labeled Y1 and Y2 you have two stage cooling and similarly if W is labeled W1 and W2 you have two stage heating otherwise you have one stage heating or cooling.Most thermostat listed above have maximum 2 stage heating and two stage cooling. This is the maximum you can expect in this price range.Also check the compatibility for heat pumps.Most heat pumps have single heating or cooling speeds,but some have auxiliary compressor unit in case of cooler conditions.Most thermostats are compatible with one and some with two/multi stage heat pumps.
Higher/adjustable temperature swing for heating and cooing
Most digital thermostat comes with +-1 temperature differential.It means the thermostat switches on or off a HVAC device (AC or furnace) at one above or below the set temperature respectively .It is called the switching cycle of the HVAC device.Some thermostat like lux however have maximum +-3 setting by changing which you can adjust the number of cycles.Others like Honeywell allows you to directly define number of cycles. Controlling number of cycles is helpful because it will reduce wear and tear of HVAC device by frequent switching ans also saves power bill because it is the at the start that a HVAC device ex Air conditioner draws the maximum power.Above list includes some models that have the adjustable switching cycle.
Auto Heat or cool mode.
We know that we can switch the mode to cooling(AC) in case of hot day/seasons and vice versa in cold days/seasons.But what when the temperature in not so predictable and there is higher swing in temperature in days and night(warmer day and cooler night). Some thermostats comes with option to automatically change mode if temperature remain above or below the set point for some time and the the selected mode HVAC device(AC or furnace) was not triggered on command.Not all thermostats has this feature but those that do comes with a price.
In case of programmable only thermostat with no radio the batteries can last for about one year or so and if it runs on batteries you don’t necessarily need to connect the C wire to the thermostats and vice versa.When used as a backup it will power the thermostat and save the program in the memory in case of power outage.But most models nowadays have battery independent memory.Most models will have have replace batteries alarm showing months before it die out.
All thermostat comes with manual program override called the temporary or permanent hold.When you put the thermostat on hold the temperature set point is given by you until you take the hold off.There is also a different vacation mode in which you can also determine the the number of days after which it will come on to its normal programmed schedule.Above list have mentioned whether the model has this feature or the normal hold.
Since there are a quite a lot of models and brands competing in the programmable domain different models come with unique features that can also be an advantage over others like easy interface for programming and controlling.Furnace filter change reminder based on elapsed time,Screen with basic touchscreen, large display or back lights etc.
Wifi Programmable home thermostats
The idea of linking a home’s appliances, electronics and devices like thermostats together into a system that could be controlled remotely with a touch of a finger has an appeal that’s hard to resist. It conjures up images from the futuristic movies and television shows of the 1950s, that hopeful era when it seemed like full-home automation was just around the corner. In the 1950s, however, the technology that would make that vision a reality was still decades away.
Connecting a device as simple as a thermostat to a home automation system didn’t become feasible until the late 1970s when home-automation technology based on a home’s existing power lines began to become widely available. Most people viewed those early systems as not worth the trouble that it took to get them up and running. Then came WiFi.
The Introduction of Wi-Fi in Our Homes
Wireless (Wi-Fi) networks use high frequency radio signals to send and receive data within a limited area. Wi-Fi technology is ideally suited for home automation systems, making it easy to transmit video, sound and data to any part of the home up to 100 feet away without having to fuss with electrical and telephone lines.
How Wi-Fi Thermostats Work
It’s not necessary to install a separate Wi-Fi network to make a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat operational. Any home that has a high-speed Internet connection is ready for Wi-Fi home automation. The device that handles communication between the Internet and a thermostat with Wi-Fi is called a “bridge,” a device that looks something like a miniature stereo speaker. The bridge plugs into an open port on the computer’s router.
Works With Your Computer, Cellphone Or Tablet Device
It’s this aspect of Wi-Fi thermostats that makes some so ideal for the home. The devices can be scheduled to turn off a heating or cooling system when the family is away from home and turn the system back on in time for the family to return to a comfortably heated or cooled environment.With a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, users can either program the device using the controls on the thermostat or can use the software program’s interface to handle the programming. This allows for remote programming as well. If a family member decides to return home sooner than expected, for example, a few simple clicks of a mouse or taps on a cell phone is all that’s needed to adjust the home’s temperature quickly.
By allowing users to program their thermostats to adjust temperatures when they’re away from home, Wi-Fi programmable thermostats can cut up to 15 percent off of heating and cooling expenses. Multiple thermostats can be controlled by the same Wi-Fi system too. A broad range of other devices, including appliances, electronics, lights and security systems, can be incorporated into a single Wi-Fi home automation system, bringing the vision of fully automated home to life.
Best wifi thermostat models
|Name||Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat||Nest 2nd generation||Honeywell lyric Wifi|
|Touch screen||Yes||Dial With TS||Dial With TS|
|7 day programmable/Away feature||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power soure||Wired,Battery for date and time.||Chargeable backup Battery through system's low voltage wires.||Wired|
|Warranty||3 Years||2 Years||2 Years|
|Smart Thermostat (Autoschedule feature)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Motion sensor||Yes||Yes||Yes (but not for temperature control.)|
|Remote sensor for effective temperature control and energy management|
Geofencing using IFTTT on mobile app.
Auto addjust using Humidity and motion sensors
|First therefore evolved learning (Auto schedule Thermostat.|
Auto adjust using motion sensors in adition to Humidity and temperature sensors as well as outside weather.
Geofencing not native to the device but can be added by downloading app like skylark.
|Auto adjust using Humidity,temperature and outside weather.
|Review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
|Name||Honeywell RTH9580WF||Ecobee Smart Thermostat 4||Sensi Wi-Fi Smartart||Honeywell RET97B5D1002
|7 day programmable/Away feature||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Power soure||Wired||Wired,Battery for date and time.||Wired and Battery for date and time.||Wired,Battery for time and date update.|
|Warranty||1 Year||3 Years||3 Years||1 Year|
|Very easy To use screen options.|
Geo fencing via Iftt on mobile app and phone location.
|Very fast and Intuitive web app.|
Auto adjust using humidity and motion sensors. feature.
Geo fencing via IFTT on mobile app.
|No C wire required,Easy buttons interface.Low price.||Low price and Uses Smart response technology (Starts heating cooling before schedule time)|
|Review||Read review||Read review||Read review||Read review|
Here i have listed models which come with wifi.There are several popular brands of wireless thermostats available on the market today, and they are all competing for the consumer’s attention with special features and settings. Some of the more popular brands include Nest, Homewerks, Ecobee, Venstar, and Honeywell.with Each of these brands feature their own set of special features and settings, and not all of them may carry each type of feature a consumer may desire so make sure to check the above features when choosing your wifi thermostat.We have also have a list of cheap wifi thermostat under $ 100,you can check it out here.
How to Choose Your Wifi Thermostat
Check to be sure the wireless thermostat you are considering is compatible with the make and model of heating and cooling system you already have in place.For example the nest the biggest contender in smart wifi thermostats market is not compatible with all of the home system.
Battery life is a common issue with thermostat like nest. Firstly most wifi thermostat would not be able to run only with batteries because the battery will soon die out as it has to keep the radio signal on.So most wifi thermostats get its power from C wire and batteries are most of the time included from date and time update in case of power outage.
Smart control features
Needless to say a thermostat with wifi comes with the setting to of 7 four times a day programming.But only extra feature you should look for is that weather it is really a smart thermostat or just a wireless thermostat.By that i mean that a smart thermostat will have an auto schedule feature which will automatically set your future temperature setting by learning from your past temperature and the time of adjustments ,the current or future outdoor weather conditions like temperature and humidity level to adjust its controls.It can also auto adjust by learning weather you are at home or about to reach home(Geo-fencing).Some thermostat like ecobee comes with remote sensors that can monitor and control temperature at desired room in your house.Thermostats like hone well that say it is smart don’t have the auto schedule feature but offers smart response technology that heat and cool before time by taking into account the amount of time it takes to heat or cool the system.Others models like nest have motion sensor for auto away feature that auto detects that you are in your home and starts to heat up,while when you are away it helps in energy saving.This is a different from Geo-fencing which uses your cell phone location.
If you are going for wifi, Geo-fencing is something you can consider as by it you are basically adding to the wifi feature of your thermostat.Since you will be using you phone(Pc app as well) most of the time to control your home temperature,you can do so automatically by automatically sending your location through phone to your thermostat and by adjusting the range from your house in which if you enter or leave the thermostat automatically set the desired temperature of your settings.This can work for both if you routinely go out for work or otherwise require to go out anyway.But this feature is not always reliable,so do look more into this feature of your particular company models before making a choice.
Since the thermostat is wireless, it is possible that it could conflict with a neighbor’s heating or cooling system if they,too, use a wireless thermostat system. This is why most wireless thermostats come with a house code that matches it specifically to your home or business.To protect temperature settings, some wireless thermostats come with a password protect option so settings stay where you set them and cannot be changed without your permission.
Lastly various companies add some unique capabilities of their own in their new line of models in order to compete. Some of which include unique energy saving and usage data and trend, latest Voice control like in Honeywell smart thermostat. Some wireless thermostats come with a large display screen that makes it easy to read and operate. Others come with a back-lit display for easy reading in the dark. Certain brands even carry display screens that have high resolution and look very professional. Others with special features such as screen savers night-hour dimming, holiday and nature themes, alerts, and the choice between either a digital or an analog clock.