How do I Choose the Best Programmable Room Thermostat?

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  • Written By: Judith Smith Sullivan
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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The best programmable room thermostat will provide the flexibility in temperature scheduling that you need. For residential dwellings, an electromechanical, digital, or hybrid programmable room thermostat is typically the best choice. Choose a model that you can operate easily and that meets your temperature scheduling needs. Digital and hybrid models are also a good choice for commercial spaces, but a light sensing or occupancy sensing unit may be more useful if the building is used erratically.

Programmable room thermostats are often used to save energy. They offer the convenience of automatic temperature adjustment at regular intervals, to save you from having to change the temperature manually. Some studies indicate that as much as 1% of the utility bill can be saved by changing the temperature one degree for eight hours. Although these units provide the same basic function, each style has its strengths.

For instance, the electromechanical, programmable room thermostat is a user friendly, easy-to-program device. It adjusts with a simple sliding lever. One disadvantage is that it can only program one temperature schedule for every day of the week. Some individuals may also think it looks old fashioned and out of date, since it is a device which has been used for many decades. If you have a set routine, which remains the same every day, and you prefer a simple thermostat, this is a good choice.


The digital and hybrid thermostats offer many temperature schedules. If desired, a different temperature schedule can be set for every day of the week with a digital thermostat. The drawback to a digital thermometer is that it can be complicated to program initially. For individuals who have different schedules on different days, such as weekends, it is a good choice. Hybrid thermostats offer some of the ease of use of electromechanical thermostats and the flexbility of the digital.

Occupany and light sensor thermostats both rely on cues from the surrounding area for activation. In the case of an occupancy sensing thermostat, a button must be pressed for activation. It remains at the programmed base temperature until the button is pressed again and then changes temperature. Although flexible to some degree, it does not have many automatic functions.

A light-sensing, programmable room thermostat is generally used in commercial buildings, where the lights are always turned on when people are occupying the space. The temperature changes from the base temperature when the lights are turned on. These thermostats are not particularly useful in homes, since natural lighting is often used throughout the day.



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