Is it Time to Replace Your Home Thermostat? Pros and Cons for 5 Types of Thermostats

man checking smart thermostat

With electricity rates increasing, homeowners are starting to pay closer attention to their energy use. It’s important to know how effectively your thermostat help you save energy because it acts as the control panel for your HVAC unit.

To help you better understand what kind of thermostat you need, let’s take a look at five common types of household thermostats and what the pros and cons of each are.

Non-programmable Thermostats

Non-programmable thermostats are basic models that require you to change the temperature manually every time you think it’s too hot or too cold. Although they are easier to install and don’t have complex features, constantly adjusting the temperature can be inconvenient. This reactive approach may cause you to turn the thermostat higher than needed to warm up your home faster. This will likely result in more electricity use, minimizing any savings you think you may have made by keeping the thermostat lower in the first place. Most households are better off investing in a thermostat that yields higher energy savings.

Mercury Thermostats

Mercury thermostats are the most outdated type of non-programmable models and are usually only found in older homes. These thermostats are inexpensive, easy to install and straightforward to use, however, there are quite a few cons. Mercury thermostats require you to manually change the temperature to the desired comfort level, are the most inaccurate and inefficient of all models and are also considered a pollutant. Although mercury is safe for use in thermostats, it needs to be recycled properly to avoid health or environmental risks.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats have a built-in time and date function that allows you to schedule the temperature of your home ahead of time. For example, you can program your thermostat to turn off during the hours you’re at work, and then turn back on shortly before you get home. Basic models have seven-day functions, while more advanced versions allow you to create multiple customized schedules, such as on/off times on weekends or various on/off times during a single day. Although programmable models are more expensive than non-programmable models, they have more potential for energy cost savings and provide priceless convenience.

Smart Thermostats

A smart home thermostat learns your patterns and behaviours and will adjust your home’s temperature accordingly. You can input your postal code into the thermostat and it will regulate the temperature based on your outdoor weather conditions. If you use a smart temperature sensor, the thermostat can also account for the age, size and type of home you live in. After this data is captured, a smart thermostat will record the varying conditions in your home. For example, it can sense the lack of motion when nobody is home and change to “away mode.” A smart thermostat can also include a humidity sensor and remind you when to change your furnace filter. These models provide the most customized schedule temperatures to fit your family’s needs and reduce energy costs. However, they are more expensive and some people might find the bells and whistles too complicated to use.

Wi-Fi Thermostats

Some smart thermostats can operate on Wi-Fi. This provides the added convenience of checking your monthly usage report, monitoring your home’s comfort system and changing the temperature whenever you have access to a computer or smartphone. Some Wi-Fi thermostat models can alert you to sudden or unexpected drops or increases in temperatures and system malfunctions via a mobile app. The Wi-Fi option gives you complete control over your thermostat — even when you’re not home. Some people may find that this control brings a valuable peace of mind, while others may think of it as another app on their phones that they have to manage. Learn more about Wi-Fi thermostats to help you decide if they are right for you.

Between manual, programmable and smart thermostats, there are many models available to fit your family’s temperature needs. Think about your budget and lifestyle when choosing the right thermostat for your home.

If you need help deciding which type of thermostat would work best with the furnace or air conditioner in your home, contact Enercare today to discuss your options.