06 Sep What is a Programmable Thermostat?(Last Updated On: September 6, 2018)
What is a programmable thermostat?
First, what is a thermostat.
“A thermostat is a component which senses the temperature of a physical system and performs actions so that the system’s temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint.”
A thermostat simply measures and controls the temperature within your home (or physical system).
A programmable thermostat does the same and more.
“A programmable thermostat is a thermostat which is designed to adjust the temperature according to a series of programmed settings that take effect at different times of the day.”
Typically, programmable thermostats offer pre-programmed settings, which help regulate temperatures. Ideally, homeowners leverage these settings throughout the year (and during the day or night) for improved home comfort. Plus, programmable thermostats help reduce energy costs as the energy experts at Energy Star note:
“The key is to establish a program that automatically reduces heating and cooling in your home when you don’t need as much. Use a programmable thermostat calculator to see what you can save with set-back temperatures that work for your family.”
Finally, take advantage of some simple strategies, which help ensure your family benefits from a programmable thermostat. For example, ensure proper installation, which includes setting it up and knowing how to use it.
How does a thermostat work?
Although we think about thermostats in our homes, they remain useful for any device that regulates heat. For example, any building HVAC system, water heaters and even kitchen appliances (such as refrigerators and ovens) rely on thermostats. Furthermore:
“A thermostat operates as a “closed loop” control device, as it seeks to reduce the error between the desired and measured temperatures. Sometimes a thermostat combines both the sensing and control action elements of a controlled system, such as in an automotive thermostat.”
Interestingly, thermostats control about 50% of the electricity used in the U.S. every year!
How does a programmable thermostat work?
Programmable or digital thermostats offer the same core functionality as a traditional thermostat. However, programmable thermostats offer more versatility.
“For example, [digital thermostats] commonly allow setting temperatures for two, four, or six periods each day, and rather than being limited to a single “hotter” temperature and a single “colder” temperature, digital thermostats usually allow each period to be set to a unique temperature. [Digital thermostats] commonly label the periods as “Morning”, “Day”, “Evening”, and “Night”, although nothing constrains the time intervals involved. Digital thermostats usually allow the user to override the programmed temperature for the period, automatically resuming programmed temperatures when the next period begins. A function to “hold” (lock-in) the current temperature is usually provided as well; in this case, the override temperature is maintained until the user cancels the hold or a programmed event occurs to resume the normal program.”
Additionally, many programmable thermostats contain separate programs for heating and cooling. Other functionality includes:
- Digital (or manual) switch to turn on the furnace blow (for increased air circulation).
- Running the circulating fan (in the event of a heating or cooling issue).
- Reminders to change the air filter.
- Internet connectivity (or smart thermostat, such as the Nest Thermostat).
What is a Nest thermostat?
A Nest thermostat is a type of programmable thermostat, which learns from its environment.
“The device is based on a machine learning algorithm: for the first weeks users have to regulate the thermostat in order to provide the reference data set. The thermostat learns people’s schedule [and] the temperature they want. Using built-in sensors and phones’ locations, it can shift into energy saving mode when it realizes nobody is at home.”
Perhaps one of the most well-known programmable thermostats, the Nest highlights the advantages of new technology in the home. For example, these thermostats provide:
- Energy Savings
- Ability to Turn Down When Not Home
- Virtual Control
- Remote Temperature Sensing
Finally, a Nest thermostat differs from other programmable thermostats because it continuously learns about your home. Although this may seem futuristic, every home and family differs, so understanding your heating and cooling needs improves your comfort. For example, a Nest learns about drafts and the local weather patterns. As a result, the thermostat interprets all of the actions and provides the right temperature over time!
Interested in learning more? Find out if your home is compatible with a Nest thermostat.
How can SolvIt help?
Did you know the average household spends more than $2,000 a year on energy bills? And almost 50% pays for heating and cooling needs? Or homeowners save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.
“Nest Pro Elites are at your service. As top installers in their areas, Nest Pro Elites get special training from Nest. Elite Pros can even give you special offers on Nest products and installation services.”
At SolvIt, we tend to think we provide excellent electrical services and peace of mind for our customers that the job will be done right. We stand behind our techs and work, but understand we might not be the best fit for everyone.
We think it’s SolvIt because we employ Connecticut’s best electricians and provide professional electrical installations and repairs along with our excellent customer service. SolvIt is here to fulfill your emergency electric needs 24/7. For any questions or electrical needs, contact us today!