If you’ve been considering purchasing a new thermostat for yourself or as a gift this holiday season this guide will let you know all the things you should be considering prior to snagging the newest, fanciest model off the end cap at your local big box store. Fully programmable thermostats have been around for many years and made a big splash when wi-fi capable versions were first introduced, most notably the Nest. Within the past few years reputable thermostat manufactures have gotten into the game and there are now a variety of makes and models available to consumers at several different price points.
Will the thermostat you’re buying work with the equipment in your home?
This may seem like a silly question since you only intend to replace your old thermostat with a new one, but depending on the type of HVAC equipment in your home, not all thermostats will properly operate your system. If the wrong thermostat is installed on your equipment it could potentially cause your energy bills to be higher than they should and/or cause unintentional damage to your system. Make sure your new thermostat can properly control multiple stage equipment, humidifiers, zoning systems, remote sensors or any other equipment you may have installed in your home prior to buying and attempting to hook it up.
Do you intend to use all of the features you’re paying for?
Many of the newest thermostats on the market have added features that the common homeowner will never use. Whether it be indoor air quality monitoring, remote sensors, security system interface, custom alarms, geo fencing or some other specialty function, it often takes an additional piece of equipment (and monetary investment) to unlock all of the features on these thermostats. Make sure to read the specifications of the models you’re choosing from to make sure you’re only paying for what you need.
Is your data/usage being shared?
One of the fantastic benefits of your new fancy thermostat is that it is connected to the internet and can be controlled from anywhere in the world. One other thing being connected to the internet allows is for your data to be collected and shared. Most of this information is harmless (usage, set points, equipment information and home occupancy), but it is important to understand the privacy agreement you acknowledge by installing one of these thermostats. For example, The Nest is owned by Google and has the following statement in their privacy agreement “We may share personal information when we have your consent. One example of this would be if you sign up for programs offered by our partners (e.g., energy or insurance companies). If you do this, we may share certain information with the partner. This could include things like your enrollment information and the activation status of your device. Similarly, when you connect third-party devices and services to your Nest Products through the Works with Nest program, you are shown information about any proposed exchange of data. Your explicit consent is required to allow these exchanges on your behalf and you can change your mind at any time.
What type of warranty and support will you receive?
Typically, thermostats purchased through retail outlets come with a 1 or 2 year warranty, where as those purchased through an authorized contractor come with up to 5-years. If a thermostat was purchased through a contractor and experiences an issue, the contractor will often replace the faulty unit and work out the warranty with the manufacturer as opposed to having to deal with the customer service counter at a big box store or even worse, a call center employee working for the manufacturer.
Is scheduling really for you?
One of the most desirable benefits of newer style thermostats is the ability to set-up a customized schedule that automatically adjusts your system’s setpoint during periods your home is usually occupied or unoccupied. When set up properly and only several degrees at a time, a scheduled setback in the evening or during the day while the house is empty can save homeowners significant money on their utility bills. There are two types of programmable thermostats with either 7-day fully programmable or 5 day (week days)/ 2 day (weekend) scheduling. Scheduling doesn’t necessarily make sense if someone is home throughout the day, occupancy is variable any given day/week, extreme outdoor conditions, if temperatures throughout the house are normally inconsistent or if young children unable to easily adjust to temperature differences live in the home. Other features such as geofencing linked to home members cell phones and intelligent or learning mode where the thermostat senses and learns your occupancy patterns.
Either way, touchscreen, programmable thermostats are very much a part of the HVAC industry and have become the standard for controlling the comfort in your home. The experts at Ashland Comfort Control are proud to offer and install a variety of thermostats compatible with any system from any manufacturer. In addition to the manufacturer’s equipment warranty, we stand behind our installation and guarantee all parts and labor for 1 year following installation.