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What to Look For When Shopping for a Programmable Thermostat

NEST Programmable Thermostat


One of the most popular (and easiest) ways to conserve energy and reduce your energy bill is through the installation of a programmable thermostat. Taking this step will help you regulate your home’s temperature when you are at home and away. Some models can even be controlled remotely through apps on your phone. The question is: what features should you look for in a programmable thermostat, and which type will be best suited to your needs?

Most thermostat models offer four different programming options, which allow you to preset temperatures throughout the week. Some allow you to make different adjustments every day, while other only allow differentiation between weekday and weekend temperatures. It’s simply a matter of your thermostat’s complexity and your specific needs, of course. Most families set a single temperature profile for the weekday: programming reduced heating/cooling during the day while they are away at home or school and increased heating/cooling during the evening. Then during the weekend, they set a separate profile that allows for more comfortable heating/cooling all day long.

Other features you may want to consider that will fit into your lifestyle that can be available in a programmable thermostat:

  • Adjustable cycle – keeps your unit from turning on/off too frequently
  • Battery or hardwire – wired to home or uses batteries
  • Circulation fan mode – operates system to circulate stagnant air
  • Digital, backlight displays, touch pad screens– for ease of use
  • Keypad lockout – only certain people can make changes
  • Mobile app usability – offers offsite control
  • Set point limiting – keeps the allowable temperature within a certain range
  • Vacations hold – set temperature while on vacation and then bring back to normal when you return
  • Voice instructions and alerts – voice commands and voice alerts (time to change filter, etc.)


Will it save me money?

Yes, a programmable thermostat will save you money when correctly installed and used. The Energy Star program estimates the cost at about $30 to approximately $100 per year.  The purpose of the programmable thermostat is to save you time and money, so in doing your research, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Of course, as with anything, it’s also a good idea to browse reviews online.

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