A Homeowner’s Guide to Thermostats

Thermostats are a ubiquitous part of modern homes and play a large role in your day-to-day comfort. Our team at Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling wants to help you get the most out of your system, so today we’re diving into the world of thermostats with our comprehensive guide. Whether you’re in the search for a replacement or you’re just curious about what’s in the market, you can benefit from this blog. Not only are we laying out the pros and cons of each type of thermostat, but we’re also giving away our expert secrets on how you can save time and money with yours.

Types of Thermostats

The “modern” thermostat was first patented back in the 1800s. Can you believe that these have been around for more than 200 years? Similar to most technology, thermostats have evolved from having one standard purpose to performing a multitude of abilities. While we would love to tell you about every model that has ever existed, for time-saving purposes, we’re skipping over to the digital age. Nowadays, you’ll find these three types of thermostats:

Non-Programmable ThermostatsNon-programmable thermostat

These are the most simple type of thermostats that you can purchase. Owners have to manually adjust its settings whenever they want to turn on and off their HVAC system or change the temperature. They either come in a digital model, like the picture shown here, or you can get an analog one. If you still own this type of thermostat, we highly recommend upgrading to one of the models we mention later on. Not only will you get greater temperature accuracy, but you can also save time, money, and energy.


  • Easy to understand

  • Long-lasting

  • Low upfront cost


  • Not as precise when it comes to temperature accuracy

  • Uses more energy

  • Manal settings

Programmable Thermostats Programmable thermostat

While these models are a step up from non-programmable thermostats, these do not connect to the internet. Most come with a digital interface that lets users set a schedule that automatically adjusts the temperature. Some models even come with the ability to heat and cool gradually, so there’s no abrupt change, allowing for greater comfort. These are an excellent option for those who prefer customization and energy savings. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? No more having to get up and change the settings as the day heats up or cools down.


  • Cost-effective

  • Customization

  • Helps save energy


  • User-error when it comes to scheduling

  • Lacks remote control

WiFi-Enabled/Smart ThermostatsWiFi-enabled Thermostat

These are the most high-tech type out of the bunch and quickly identifiable by their sleek design and touchscreen interface. They provide all the benefits of a programmable thermostat and more. Their main feature is the ability to connect to WiFi, allowing users to remotely control their home’s temperature via a smartphone or tablet. Imagine coming back from an exhausting day of work to a perfectly warmed home. Even more, smart thermostats today can learn user behavior and adjust the settings to your home’s optimal preferences. Many models can also analyze your heating and cooling habits and offer energy-saving solutions. One of the most popular makers of these devices, Nest, found that their thermostat saved families up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling.


  • Energy-efficient

  • Reduce your carbon footprint

  • Save money

  • No manual input


  • Expensive

  • May not work with your home’s existing HVAC system

How to Choose a Thermostat

Decide what type you’re interested in

After reading the pros and cons of each model, you probably have a good idea about what you want out of your next thermostat. For many households, a simple programmable system will suffice. Perhaps you want that remote control and are willing to hand the reins over to the device to figure out your heating and cooling habits. Or, you might fall somewhere in between.

Consider the compatibility with your HVAC system

Before setting your eyes on a specific model, make sure it can work with your home’s HVAC system. We wish it were as easy as replacing your old one and attaching the new one on to your wall, but it’s not. Incompatibility is typically only a concern for smart thermostats. With many HVAC systems lasting up to 20 years, they’re not built to handle these technologically-advanced devices. This is when we recommend calling in a professional to guide you through the process. At Roy’s, our technicians will help you find and install the best option for your home.

Optimal Thermostat Settings + Other Tips

Once you’ve decided on a thermostat, follow these tips to get the most out of it.

  • If you’ve recruited a technician for installation, they should know the best location for placement. It should be centrally located on an interior wall, and keep it away from any vents or direct sunlight that could distort its settings.

  • In the summer, turn it up; in the winter, turn it down. While the recommended settings are 78°F in the hotter months and 68°F during the cooler months, you can have higher savings by dialing it back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day. According to the Department of Energy, this can save you up to 10% on your heating and cooling costs. Try this out the next time you leave for work or when everyone goes to bed. You can even set this schedule on your programmable or smart thermostat.

  • Utilize your ceiling fans. These take the stress off your air conditioner in the summer, but you can also use it in winter and fall. If you change them to rotate clockwise, it will help disperse the rising warm air evenly throughout your home.

Mistakes You’re Making With Your Thermostat

Now that you’re equipped with our tips, ensure even greater savings by avoiding these common thermostat mistakes.

Cranking up the thermostat to make your home heat faster

We’ve all been in those situations where we’re trying to escape the cold by taking refuge in our homes, only for it to feel just as freezing. You go to your thermostat and try to set it to something higher than it should be in hopes of getting your house warm ASAP. Bad idea. This won’t make your heater work faster and will just cost you more money. Heaters and air conditioners only work at one speed, so you’ll have to wait it out.

Not updating your thermostat settings

Do you leave your thermostat on a set-it-and-forget-it setting? This may be a bad idea. Take advantage of those moments when no one is home to adjust your settings. After all, there’s no point in heating and cooling an empty home! This can be difficult to remember, which is why we recommend a programmable thermostat.

Contact Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

At Roy’s, we specialize in all three of the thermostats we mentioned today. We understand that each one has its benefits and advantages, which is why we work with homeowners to determine the best one for their needs. You don’t have to worry about us trying to sell you the most expensive model because all we care about is your comfort. If you’re interested in installing a new thermostat or have any questions, contact us today at (716) 215-2678!