Programmable or Wi-Fi Thermostats – Which is Right for You?

April 05, 2017

Heating and cooling your home accounts for over half of your annual energy costs. And what's at the center of it all? Your thermostat. Depending on how you adjust your thermostat – or not adjust it – can mean the difference between a big or small energy bill.

Adjusting your thermostat to use heating and cooling appliances less during times when you don't need them – like when you are away or asleep – can save you up to $180 annually. That's a nice chunk of change!

If you're not the type that remembers to adjust the thermostat every time you leave your house or while getting ready for bed, then there are two types of thermostats you'll want to consider – the familiar programmable type of thermostats and the newer Wi-Fi enabled thermostats. Each can help you save big, but depending on your budget or which features are important may determine which one is right for you.

Let's go over the basics.

Programmable Thermostats
These have been around for a while and you may already have one at home, but the latest models have new features and functionality that make setting up schedules even easier. Many come with pre-programmed schedules for optimal savings right out of the box, meaning you don't have to do much tinkering to save on energy. Some even feature touch screen displays that are intuitive to use, easy to program and display temperature and other information clearly.

Some programmable thermostats have advanced features, like being able to automatically switch between heating and cooling. This is helpful in situations where the temperature outside is warm during the day, but cooler at night, for example. Another feature is letting you know when it's time to change your air filters, which helps the efficiency of your heating and cooling appliances.

Wi-Fi Thermostats
Also known as connected or smart thermostats, Wi-Fi thermostats differ from programmable thermostats in that they connect to your in-home wireless network, allowing you to control the thermostat from your smartphone or tablet. This is beneficial in a few ways. One, it makes setting up schedules as easy as setting the alarm clock on your phone. Two, it allows you to control temperature remotely. Feeling chilly while in the middle of watching the Sox game on TV? You can turn up the heat from your phone. At work not sure whether the A/C is off? You can check from your phone. You can even receive alerts in the case of a heating system failure, which could help you avoid water pipes bursting if you go away on a winter vacation.

There are some models with advanced features such as learning your preferences and schedule and adjusting temperatures automatically. Others may use geo-location capabilities to adjust temperatures when you've left work, for example, so you come home to a comfortable home. Some models use current weather data to make adjustments.

With the latest technology and advanced features, Wi-Fi thermostats are typically more expensive than programmable thermostats. But if you want more control at your fingertips and more automation, Wi-Fi thermostats may be right for you.

Rebates from Mass Save
The great news is no matter which type of thermostat is right for you, Mass Save has a rebate available. For savings of up to $25 on programmable thermostats or up to $100 on Wi-Fi thermostats, click here.

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