Programmable and Adaptive Thermostats

Ever leave your home and forget to turn the temperature up on your thermostat, only to discover when you return that your system has been maintaining a 73 degree home all day with no one there?

According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling costs account on average for 56% of consumers’ home energy use. However, much of this energy is often used to condition unoccupied space. The EPA found that less than half of households that use thermostats for heating turn the heat down when no one is home or when occupants are sleeping.

Programmable Thermostats

Although thermostats are often taken for granted as pieces of hardware that come with HVAC systems, technological advances have made them valuable energy-saving tools. If you’re thinking about replacing your thermostat, here are some options to consider:

Programmable Thermostats

The majority of thermostats on the market today are programmable, meaning they allow you to create a daily schedule for your thermostat that typically consists of at least four time periods. Once you set up your programmable thermostat, it will automatically adjust to meet your desired temperatures throughout the day. According to Energy Star, a correctly used programmable thermostat can reduce the average household’s energy costs by $180. While they do have great savings potential, these thermostats can be somewhat difficult to set up. As a result, they are often left on a default setting that negates most or all of their savings potential. If you are getting a new thermostat, make sure you work with a contractor who will install and set it up properly.

Adaptive Thermostats

Adaptive thermostats program themselves. They do this by learning your behavior and then – as the name suggests – adapting to it. There is a one-week setup phase in which you program the thermostat according to your preferences (adjust it when you leave for work, arrive home, go to sleep, etc.). Based on your behavior during the first week, the thermostat will build you a custom heating and cooling schedule. It will also utilize a motion sensor to determine whether it’s necessary to heat or cool a space. If it does not detect movement for a certain amount of time, and it has not been manually adjusted, it will assume the space is unoccupied and slowly adjust the temperature to conserve energy.


One of the most popular and convenient thermostat features on the market today is wifi. With a wifi-equipped thermostat, you can use a computer or mobile device to remotely adjust temperature, track energy usage and receive alerts about your system’s performance. Wifi connectivity can also help a contractor remotely diagnose a system issue – potentially reducing service charges.

Which thermostat is right for you?

As you can see, there is more than one way to make it easier and more cost-effective to manage your home’s HVAC system. At Efficient AC, Electric & Plumbing, we’ll work with you to determine which thermostat will best fit your system, needs and preferences. Then, we’ll ensure it’s set up to maximize your comfort and savings.