Most of us don’t pay undue attention to the thermostat on the wall. And yet, if you have an old-school dial unit, you should know that you’re likely overpaying for heating and cooling your home. Even with upgraded equipment like a new, energy-efficient furnace and AC unit on your side, you can’t expect to see optimum efficiency and monetary savings when you rely on a dial model to control your central air system. In truth, there are a variety of reasons why the average homeowner might want to think about upgrading to a digital thermostat. Here are some benefits you’re sure to enjoy when you make the switch to a digital model.
- You might find the prospect of programming a digital thermostat daunting, but you only really need to do it once to appreciate the convenience it lends your life. With a dial thermostat you might end up adjusting the temperature several times a day in a bid to promote energy efficiency within your household and keep your utility bill low. After all, you don’t want to pay to heat or cool your home when nobody’s there. With a programmable model you can schedule demand to drop off while you’re away for the day and then have your thermostat slowly heat or cool your home so that it is the right temperature when you arrive. This alone could save you as much as about 15% on your heating and cooling costs, according to the Department of Energy (assuming you’re gone about eight hours per day and you roll back 10-15 degrees).
- Dial thermostats are notoriously inaccurate thanks to dials that feature markers in increments of two, as well as a slew of finicky moving parts that can easily get out of whack merely from adjusting or bumping your thermostat. Unless you feel like calling in a technician to calibrate your unit frequently, you’re going to suffer serious inaccuracy, bumping up your bill and making your home interior less comfortable, most likely.
- You simply can’t achieve the same energy efficiency with a dial thermostat that you’ll enjoy with a digital, programmable unit. Even a base digital model allows you to select a precise temperature, so when you set it for 70?F, you won’t be pumping out heat or AC somewhere in the 65-75? range, just for example. And when you program temperature shifts for times when you’re absent or sleeping, you’ll see a major increase in efficiency and a commensurate drop in price.
- Dial thermostats feature mercury, a potentially harmful substance that has been eliminated in modern, digital models. You’ll have to take steps to safely dispose of your mercury-bearing unit when you upgrade, but you’ll never again have to worry about sending hazardous waste to the landfill.
- Remote control. You don’t have to ponder very long to see the benefits of WiFi thermostats. When you select a digital model that’s set up for wireless connectivity and download the appropriate app, you’ll find that you can use your smartphone or tablet to remotely control your unit from anywhere. This is not only terribly convenient for harried homeowners, but it could also increase your energy savings if you’re the type to forget that you manually overrode your system and left the heat on high when you left for the office.