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How to best choose a programmable thermostat

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You should learn as much as you can before selecting a unit. When shopping for a thermostat, bring information with you about your current unit, including the brand and model number. There are five basic types of automatic and programmable thermostats: electromechanical, digital, hybrid, occupancy and light sensing. Most programmable thermostats range in price from $30 to $100—except for occupancy and light sensing thermostats—which, may cost upwards of $200.

Also, ask these questions before buying a thermostat:

Does the unit's clock draw its power from the heating systems's low-voltage electrical control circuit instead of a battery? If so, is the clock disrupted when the furnace cycles on and off? Battery-operated, back-up thermostats are preferred by many homeowners.

Is the thermostat compatible with the electrical wiring found in your current unit? Are you able to install it yourself, or should you hire an electrician or a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor? How precise is the thermostat?

Are the programming instructions easy to understand and remember? Some thermostats have the instructions printed on the cover or inside the housing box. Otherwise, will you have to consult the instruction booklet every time you want to change the setback times?

Most automatic and programmable thermostats completely replace existing units. These are preferred by many homeowners. However, some devices can be placed over existing thermostats and are mechanically controlled to permit automatic setbacks. These units are usually powered by batteries, which eliminates the need for electrical wiring. They tend to be easy to program, and because they run on batteries, the clocks do not lose time during power outages.



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Automatic and programmable thermostats: To install or not to install?   •   Will programmable thermostat reduce heating and cooling consumption?   •   Thermostats   •   General thermostat operation   •   Thermostats with automatic temperature adjustment   •   How to best choose a programmable thermostat  •   Other considerations - residential thermostats  •   Low Water Use Toilets  •   Low-Flow Shower Heads  •   Instant Hot Water Dispenser  •   Under-Sink Water Filtration System  •   Flow-Through Humidifier  •   Residential Zoning Heating Systems  •   Bathroom Remodeling  •   Plumbers AC, heating, flooring, walls, ceilings, tile, electric, Duct work, piping relocation

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