Most of us know that a programmable thermostat can save homeowners quite a bit in utility bills; but have you heard of all the features that have become available lately?
A traditional programmable thermostat can save you about 10% of your energy costs by adjusting your home’s temperature when you are home, asleep, or at work. Once they’re installed and programmed, you can basically forget about them. The average homeowner can save about $200 a year by using a programmable thermostat.
But, like many other things, programmable thermostats are entering the age where electronics have to be “smart”. Have you traded in your landline at home for a family plan on your cellphone? Started using e-readers more than paper books? Has basic cable made way for HD, flatscreen, wi-fi enabled television entertainment?
If so, the new breed of programmable thermostats may be for you. They have so many features, they’re not even necessarily called programmable thermostats, because they can control far more than how hot and cold your home is on any given day. Now they’re called “control systems” or “home automation systems.” They sound like they belong in the science fiction movies from the 1950s for a reason; they’re remarkably similar to what, 60 years ago, was only a dream.
These thermostats can control multiple systems at once, including:
- heating and cooling
- door locks and security systems
Some can alert you if your humidifier needs service or there is a water leak detected. They can tell you that your equipment is experiencing a problem so you know to call a repairman before a system failure requires you to call an emergency technician. Most can monitor your system’s efficiency.
The best part: All of this is wireless and can be managed by computers and many tablets or smartphones while you’re not home. Instead of calling your spouse to say you’re working late, you can call your house and tell it not to wait up.
These types of devices are still brand new to the market, but they’re definitely the future of home comfort. If you’re the type to keep things simple, a more traditional programmable thermostat is probably for you. Either way, welcome to the future!