Most households spend thousands of dollars every year on energy bills, with half of those costs going to heating and cooling empty homes. Programmable thermostats can help you cut back on wasted energy, extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment, and help the environment. They may also be eligible for financial incentives from the government or your utility company.

Programmable and Smart Thermostats

Programmable thermostats and smart thermostats are not the same thing. A programmable thermostat adjusts temperatures according to a series of programmed settings. A smart thermostat also does this but goes one step further by learning routines to regulate temperature. The more smart technology a programmable thermostat has, the easier it is to regulate a home’s temperature, leading to less wasted energy and lower utility bills. Here are some of the smart features offered with three popular smart thermostats.

Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation ($245, Amazon)

  • Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control
  • Compatible with other Nest Protect products, like Nest Protect, which detects smoke, carbon monoxide and other home security factors.
  • Remote Control: Connect your thermostat to Wi-Fi to control the temperature from your phone, tablet or laptop.
  • Mobile app: change your settings from wherever you are via your smartphone. You can also check your Energy History in the app to see how much energy you use and why.
  • Auto-Schedule: learns the temperatures you like and programs itself in about a week.
  • Home/Away Assist: automatically turns itself down when nobody’s home to help you save energy.
  • Farsight: lights up to show time, temperature or weather.
  • Nest Leaf: You’ll see the Leaf when you choose a temperature that saves energy. It guides you in the right direction.

Ecobee3 Thermostat with Sensor, Wi-Fi, 2nd Generation ($185, Amazon)

  • Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control
  • Comes with 1 free remote sensor that measures temperature and occupancy (you can have up to 32 sensors).
  • Implements four heating stages to configure separate heating zones in your home.
  • Supports Apple’s HomeKit-certified devices.
  • Senses whether anyone’s home and which rooms are occupied. Unoccupied rooms can be automatically de-prioritized, for increased energy savings.
  • Mobile app allows you to change your settings even when you aren’t at home.
  • Full color touchscreen
  • Provides home IQ energy reports, automated alerts and reminders, and live weather forecasts

Honeywell RTH9580WF Smart Wi-Fi 7 Day Programmable Color Touch Thermostat ($169, Amazon)

  • Works with Amazon Alexa for voice control
  • Total Connect Comfort Service app: Remotely access via computer, iPhone, iPad, Android devices
  • Smart Response temperature timing
  • Advanced fan/comfort control: Improves air circulation and helps regulate the temperature throughout your home
  • Auto Alerts: Extreme temperature alerts and filter change reminders are sent to connected network devices and displayed on thermostat’s homescreen.
  • Customizable, Locking Touchscreen: bright, easy-to-read, customizable touchscreen features optional password protection so only designated users can access the security settings and locking options.
  • Indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity displayed on the home screen.
  • C-wire needed for proper installation.


Installing a smart thermostat may sound intimidating. However, most manufacturers supply helpful installation manuals and tutorials on their websites. Be aware that some manufacturers may require professional installation to comply with warranty agreements. If this is the case or you simply want a professional to handle the installation for the sake of convenience, call Atlanta Air Care today.