Differences Between Smart and Programmable Thermostats

The rate at which technology progresses can often be frustrating, making you feel left behind the times. And if you’re upgrading from an old manual thermostat – the kind you have to use your trusty old finger to adjust – to a newer model, you may feel especially lost. What’s the big difference between a “smart” thermostat and a programmable one? And why should you get one when you still can’t figure out how to work your phone? Read on weary homeowner, we’ll clear it up for you…

Smart vs. Programmable Thermostats – What’s the Big Difference?

Heating and cooling costs account for up to half of your home’s energy consumption, and your thermostat helps you control that. While both smart and programmable thermostats can help you better manage your energy bills, the benefits the two styles offer are not exactly the same…


  • Pre-program cooling temperatures based on your schedule to save energy while you are away.
  • When used correctly, can reduce your cooling costs up to 20 percent.
  • Various models available:
    • 7 day: Best if your schedule is different every day of the week.
    • 5+2 day: For the typical 5 day work week, 2 day weekend schedule.
    • 5+1+1 day: For the typical 5 day work week, varying weekend schedule.


  • Allows on-the-go programming via any Wi-Fi connection – computer, smartphone, or mobile device.
  • Self-learning, monitoring your routines and adjusting setting based on your feedback - even detecting your absence to save energy!
  • When used correctly, can reduce your cooling costs up to 20 percent.
  • Some models may help improve the efficiency of your air conditioner.

Which Is the Best Thermostat Choice for You?

Buy programmable if…

  • You leave your AC running or always forget to set your thermostat before you leave.
  • You’d like to cash in on time of use rate discounts.
  • You want to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint.

Buy smart if…

  • You know you’re never going to actually program your programmable thermostat.
  • You have a couple extra bucks to spend on advanced features – approximately $100-500 depending on the model.
  • You have an irregular schedule.
  • You would enjoy the convenience of adjusting your thermostat remotely. (Some models even feature smartphone apps!)
  • You’d love to monitor, track and chart your energy usage to identify waste.

Is today’s technology making you feel less than smart? Aire Serv®, a part of the Neighbourly family of trusted home service professionals, can help. We’ve got the scoop on the latest heating and cooling technology to help you gain maximum comfort from every energy dollar. Ready to find out what you may be missing out on? Contact us today.