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Smart Thermostat Selection:

The thermostat is a remarkable device—it’s truly the remote control for your home’s heating and cooling systems. From the ease and comfort of your hallway, bedroom or den, you can stoke the fires of your furnace (or crank up your A/C) with the turn of a dial or push of a button. Then it keeps working to control your system and deliver the exact room temperature you desire.

One of the single most effective things you can do to cut down on your energy bill is to adjust your thermostat so that your AC and furnace don’t run as often or at all while you’re out of the house. Before leaving or going to bed, it’s common practice to set the thermostat to a higher temperature in the summer and a lower temperature in the winter; this way the system doesn’t have to run as hard at these times when the living space isn’t really in use.

The downside to this technique, however, is that you will most likely return home to uncomfortable conditions or wake up to a chilly house on winter mornings. Oh, and you could forget to adjust the thermostat altogether sometimes.

This is where automatic or programmable thermostats come in. These models allow you to specify certain times of the day when the thermostat will adjust on its own. You can set the system to rest when you don’t need it, and you can also program the system to start up again just before you get home or wake up in the morning. They’re both reliable and convenient, but not without a bit of a learning curve. That’s where we come in! Read below to learn more about the different types of programmable thermostats and which one might be best for your needs.

Automatic setback thermostats come in many varieties and models. They all regulate your heating and cooling system to provide comfort when you decide you need it.

smart thermostats

Most setback thermostats allow you to program at least one “at home and away from home” schedule for the weekdays and a different one for the weekend. Other models may feature full seven-day programming, enabling you to customize the operation of your heating and cooling system for any day of the week.

Some brands will start your furnace or air conditioner at the time you specify, while others reach the temperature you want at the time you want, meaning that heating or cooling will begin sooner than the time you programmed into the unit.

Setback thermostats may also come with a variety of helpful “extras” such as:

  • A light to remind you when to change the furnace filter.
  • A keypad lock to prevent small children from accidentally (or mischievously) changing the thermostat programming.
  • Automatic changeovers with the season, eliminating the need for you to flick a switch when your comfort needs change from the heating to the cooling.
  • Lighted displays that glow at night, a convenience in dark hallways.
  • “Armchair” programming that allows you to detach the thermostat from its base and enter your schedules from the comfort of a chair, instead of requiring you to stand in the hall, at the unit.
  • A low battery warning indicator. (Batteries keep the internal clock ticking and preserve the programmed schedules during a power outage.)

Different Types of Thermostats


If you’re not comfortable messing with the complex controls of a digital one, the simpler design of an electromechanical thermostat may be a better fit. They typically have dials and tabs that you can use to set up a timer, making them much easier to figure out. They do, however, lack flexibility as you can only set the same programming for every day.


The most common type of automatic thermostat you might see are the newer digital ones. These are characterized by their lit-up LCD or LED screens along with button controls. Although they offer precise temperature control and a high level of programming flexibility, digital programmable thermostats may come off as unnecessarily complicated or confusing for a lot of people.


If you’re looking for the advanced functions of digital but prefer the simpler, hands-on controls of electromechanical, you could consider a hybrid automatic thermostat. These have easy-to-use dials as controls paired with the flexibility of digital thermostats.


Rather than having you program a timer, these thermostats have you program how long you’d like for them to run, called a “comfort period.” They begin at a set back temperature and, when you enter the space, you can press a button to initiate this comfort period which will last as long as you specified. Because of their lack of flexibility, though, these thermostats are best used in spaces that you don’t use very often.


The idea behind this design is that when a space is unoccupied, the lights won’t be on. These thermostats have you specify a lighting level that will trigger them to adjust the temperature to comfortable levels; when the lighting is below this specified level, the system won’t run as often. This might work for your home if you’re very diligent about turning lights off, but otherwise they’re mostly used for offices and stores.

Which Is Best For You?

Being newer technology, programmable thermostats aren’t something everyone knows about yet. Before considering getting one for your home, make sure you understand which one will work best with not only your lifestyle but also your AC and heating units. If you need advice making a purchase like this, don’t hesitate to contact AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning Repair in San Marcos, TX. Make sure to have the brand and model number of your unit with you, and we can help direct you to a thermostat that will work best for you!

Turn It Down To Save Energy

As a homeowner, leaving the temperature inside your home constant day and night will most likely cost you money. It’s more economical to turn the heat down when no one is home, or at night when you’re asleep. And if your home has a setback thermostat, you’ve got a simple way to do just that. Used properly, that little box hanging on your wall will save you energy — and energy dollars.

If you have an older home that doesn’t have one, you can have AirOne Heating and Air Conditioning replace your existing wall thermostat with a setback model very easily.

Savings with a setback thermostat can be impressive. Recent studies show that properly using your automatic thermostat could cut your heating costs from 20 to 75 percent. In summer, such devices may shave your cooling costs by 15 to 25 percent. (Your actual savings, of course, will depend on such factors as the climate in which you live, the amount of insulation in your house, the temperature you set your thermostat, and the rate structure of your utility company. Not every home is alike!)