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Patrick Agnew

About "Ask the Energy Expert"

Patrick Agnew is FPL’s In-Home Technology Program Manager. After working in energy management for 30 years, he believes the best is yet to come.

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Programmable vs. “smart” thermostats

By Patrick Agnew

Asked on: January 14, 2014 by L. Monroe, Cocoa Beach

Do you have recommendations on which thermostats are best to use in Florida?

Programmable thermostats, which allow you to set different temperatures for your A/C throughout the day, have been on the market for years. Now, many of you are curious about those new “smart” thermostats popping up in local home improvement stores. This type of thermostat helps you monitor and control your home’s largest energy user – air conditioning – by allowing you to:

  • Connect your thermostat to the Internet
  • Monitor and control it remotely from a website or smartphone app
  • Potentially reduce A/C use when no one is home

Benefits to you

Smart thermostats have features designed to help reduce A/C use and save energy, something their predecessor, programmable thermostats, never really accomplished. But, can smart thermostats really help you save? Unfortunately, it’s too soon to say. 

According to the government’s ENERGY STAR® program, programmable thermostats never demonstrated an ability to save energy consistently across the country. Since the verdict is still out on the newer smart thermostats, many utilities, including FPL, are evaluating them in field trials that will last a year or more. No single trial is expected to be definitive, as the benefits of smart thermostats may vary by region and weather conditions.

The bottom line
With smart thermostats, you now have the option to monitor and control your home’s largest energy user right from your smartphone.

This means, it will also be easier than ever to wage a thermostat war in your household, something we know happens! In fact, last fall we surveyed folks across Florida and found that 49 percent – or nearly one out of every two people – admitted to changing the thermostat setting without their partner’s knowledge. Bottom line: while we don't know how changing the thermostat from your smartphone could affect your relationship, it could definitely impact your electric bill.

More helpful tools for you
You can always see how adjusting your A/C affects your bill and find new ways to save by taking our Online Home Energy Survey. It now works together with your personal Energy Dashboard to show you how much energy you use down to the hour. This tool is made possible by some of our very own “smart” technology, our Smart Grid.

Your safety is very important to us. If this is a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room. For non-emergencies, you can reach us during regular business hours via Facebook private message, or follow and message us on Twitter and one of our representatives will assist you. To report an outage, please call 1-800-4-Outage. Thank you and please stay safe.

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Comments [89]

  1. Rick Murray

    Sort of sad to see that FPL doesn’t actually reply to the questions out here

  2. Linda

    Con ed Nyc and nest are giving rebates for nest use is FPL

  3. Louise Boudreau

    Has your views changed since three years ago on smart thermostat? Which thermostat work best with electric powered furnace/A/C (as opposed to gas)? Do you have rebates for smart thermostat?

  4. James ONeill

    Does FPL give rebates for nest thermostats .
    If so how do I apply?

    1. Joe Kloss

      I tried asking this same question. Did you ever get a reply?

  5. Aaron

    I really like being able to control my home’s temperature from my phone. I can turn my air off all day and then turn it on when I head home.

  6. Mark


    I live in Palm Coast and I’m seriously considering the installation of a smart thermostat, and looking at the Nest. What are your opinions on this unit and does FPL offer any rebates for there use?


  7. peter ochsner

    does FPL sell and install smart thermostats and if so how do I get prices ect. thank you peteo

  8. Richard Brodbeck

    I will be purchasing the Nest thermostat plus their smoke/CO detectors shortly. Does FPL offer rebates towards the Nest self-learning thermostat (actual programming of unit is optional and discouraged)? Do you Partner with Nest in any way? Since the unit is WiFi enabled and FPL has expressed interest in conducting field studies, I would be willing to provide real-time access to the units data. The scope of this data is well beyond that of any non-commercial unit that is currently on the market. How would one go about enrolling in such a field study? Thank you, Richard

  9. Angie Stiles

    This article seems outdated. There are several studies showing that it is in fact not too soon to tell if smart thermostats are effective – the data shows they are effective. In fact, data shows they are more effective than programmable thermostats. Programmable thermostats are often ineffective because users fail to use the functionality for energy savings.

    I would like to see FPL participate in energy savings programs – particularly with the Nest Rush Hour Rewards programs other more progressive states are offering. It would be a helpful tool for Florida to conserve energy.

  10. Kerry Kinder

    Need a new theromostat, and told the smart on e is the way to go. Does FPL agree, or is the programable one the better? Need one now, does the company have a deal on these, or just the answer?
    Look forward to hearing your response!
    Kerry Kinder

  11. SC

    which is better to use & regulate the electrical usage…the “smartmeter” or the manual meter-which is now going to an additional-$13.00/monthly fee + initial-$95.00 assessment fee, which is not right!! Please advise!!

  12. Becky

    Is shutting off the air unit during the day while gone then turning it back on once you arrive home efficient for your bill and safe for your Ac unit?

  13. Richard Good

    Will adding awnings to my east, south and west windows lower my electrtic (cooling) bill?

  14. George Serbe

    I purchased a NEST Smart thermostat last year and have found it to be remarkably reliable and innovative. I traveled north for the summer and while I was monitoring the temperature in my house, I realized that my air conditioner had failed and the NEST was able to help me determine that. Additionally, NEST sends me a monthly report on my usage so that I can see the amount of energy that I use on a daily basis and also on an hourly basis. I highly recommend it.

  15. Bruce Wong

    I have installed Nest thermostats in my vacation home in Florida after reading as much as I could about mold prevention, thermostat settings and humidity levels.

    The Nest lets me monitor indoor humidity and temperature, and the nest iPhone app displays the external temperature and humidity. The Nest app allows unlimited control of the air-conditioning and fan over the internet.

    I do not have a separate de-humidifyer. There are 2 zones to my system, i.e. 2 NEST thermostats.

    As a default I set the thermostat to the FPL, programmable thermostat settings, 2 hours at 72 degrees before sunrise and 88 degrees for the rest of the day. Monitoring the system I have learned that I can keep the home below 60% humidity with less than 2 hours of cooling and less than everyday operation – it seems to depend on both external temperature and humidity.

    Further, when the forecast outside temperature is lower and humidity down, I set the Nest to away mode – and it does not come on at all. for example it has been in away mode for the last 5 days i.e. no electricity usage.

    I expect once summer returns I will need to completely go back to the FPL recommended settings of 2 hours cooling in the early morning.

    There are many species of mold, that require moisture and substrate to grow. The fibre on your walls can be substrate, and humidity is the moisture. The moisture needs to be present for a sufficient length of time for the mold to grow, ie.brief periods of high humidity will not be sufficient (but I could not find any data on how brief a time of high humidity is OK). Generally below 60% humidity is sufficiently dry to prevent most species of mold, and most species of mold require over 65% humidity and higher for relatively prolonged periods.

    Inside the drainage pipe to the air-conditioning evaporator is one place where water sits around for prolonged times, so this is a place mold grows (and on the evaporator) – these pipes tend to get blocked by the mold growth. Which is why shut-off valves are now installed on newer system. You can prevent this mold grown with slow release tablet or just pour bleach into the pipe or air-conditioning pan. If it does get blocked you will have to flush it out with a garden hose or compressed air. The new UV lights inside can prevent growth of mold on the condensor.

    Do not leave standing water anywhere in your vacation home.

  16. Bob

    I solved a major energy problem many years ago.
    Having been an engineer and a methodical person, I just installed a seperate A/C unit in my master bedroom so at night the whole house A/C goes off and the Master is on at any temperature I feel comfortable with. This saves a ton of money with my electric bill.All new homes should be built this way in Florida.

  17. Alan Pack

    Is FPL offering any rebates for installing these types of thermostats? I see that several alarm monitoring companies are now offering this as part of a package.

  18. Barbara Haslage

    This article on the programable vs Smart thermastats was very interesting to me. Thank you for your comments. I was planning to change my thermastat in the neat future but now I will wait to hear the results of your use with the Smart thermastats.

  19. pierre chartrand

    I have a question, I am a canadian and I’m in florida from november to en of april. should I leave the ac on during may to october cause of humidity and if so, at what degree should I put the thermostat. thank you.

  20. Rosie Harden

    I have an older CBS home ,which requires alot of energy up dates .

  21. Phyllis Currie

    Hi Patrick-

    Thank you for your info on “smart” thermostats. I was wondering if FPL was conducting any tests during our May- Oct warmer months here in Florida, whereby you test both a smart thermostat and an ERV working together, and how these results might differ from testing a smart thermostat by itself.

    Thank You,
    Phyllis Currie
    Sanford, FL

  22. Anthony

    Good info. I had actually just did a post about programmable thermostats and the one called the Nest. They were purchased by Google earlier this year. If Google makes them affordable and many great apps are created that interface with Nest, it could be a game changer. But the other ones that are wifi enabled are cool too. I did a 4 part series earlier this year about saving money on your utility bills. I mentioned energy audits as well. That alone helped my save about $100/month on my summer bills.

  23. Werner Specht

    Comments on programmable thermostats: Once again the Feds get it wrong. The energy savings of programmable thermostats is pure simple math. If you reduce the average daily interior temperature during a heating period, less energy is require to make-up the differential between outdoor and indoor air temperature.
    Being a retired HVAC engineer, I could write a book on the subject.
    I’m astounded that an energy providing company would publish an article that may discourage the use of a programmable thermostat.

  24. connie osborne

    question: when you are not at home during the summer. what is the best temp to set thermostate on along with what is best percentage to put your dehumidistate on.

  25. Isaias

    When can I get Programmable thermostat and who can install it?

  26. Noah Blanco

    Dear Paul Agnew,
    As a former FPL employee, as an Energy Management Consultant, I can assure you that Programmable thermostats DO WORK. The concept is very simple. On a non-programmable thermostat, the user can easily go to work, while kids also go to school at around 7:30 am, and forget to raise the thermostat temperature to, let’s say, 80 degrees. Meanwhile, on an empty home, the thermostat is running all day at let’s say, 77 degrees. With outside Florida summer temps in the high 90’s, you can bet the A/C system will run significantly more at 77 degrees than if set at 82 degrees. Another scenario is the same end user, along with his children, vacate the home around 7:30 am, and DO RAISE the thermostat to 82 degrees before they leave home. However, when the kids start arriving at around 3 pm from school, they obviously do not like a home at 82 degrees, and crank down the thermostat to 70 degrees, thinking this will cool down the home faster, which is a myth. Because of this action, the cooling system has now ran for 3 straight hours, until the parents get home at 6 pm and realize the home is too cold now. With a programmable thermostat, the residents can program the thermostat to raise the temps to 82 degrees as they leave at 7:30 am, and later program it to start cooling at 78 degrres maybe around 3 pm, some 30 minutes before the kids get home. BBy the time they arrive, the system has been cooling down for some 30 minutes, and the home is comfortable. This technique DOES WORK. I preached it while I was an energy management consultant at FPL, and have personally owned a programmable thermostat since 1998 everywhere I have lived, and they do work. The problem is,,,,,,,THE END USER. The end user might not totally conform to the settings. But that does not mean they don’t work. Saying it doesn’t work is like saying a 16 SEER A/C is not as more energy efficient than a 10 SEER. Let’s say an FPL customer owns a 10 SEER A/C and keeps their thermostat at 78 degrees, fearing that at 75 degrees they will pay much more in electric costs. Then the customer buys a new 16 SEER A/C and now runs the A/C at 74 degrees, just because the unit is much more efficient. When they compare a Summer bill of a 10 SEER system with a Summer bill of a 16 SEER system, they realize the 16 SEER did not save them much. So does that mean a 16 SEER was not energy efficient? Of course not! It was the end user! Same goes with programmable thermostats. They DO WORK, it’s just the end user not using them correctly. I would suggest changing the wording on the blog, because it iis misleading.

  27. lenorechesloff

    I would like to know how to replace the thermostats i my house w. energy eff. ones. They are very old. thanks

  28. Sheila Perkins

    I have a Honeywell thermostat
    Can it be programed from my Smart Phone? It can be programed for the week.

  29. Luis Giraldo

    Can I schedule a visit from one of your experts to see how can I save in my energy bill?

  30. Semih Bellik

    If programmable thermostats were available with upper and lower temperature settings in the auto mode instead of just one temperature setting, there would be significant savings in electricity for ones who left their homes vacant for long periods. They would just set it to automatic, and adjust the temperature to stay between say 50 and 80, and never worry about frozen pipes or warped or cracked woodware.

  31. Carlos arango

    do not even think of buyin NEST

  32. Jjuana A Maal

    I’ll like a Programmable vs. “smart” thermostats

  33. Gary johnson

    my thermostat is a smart thermostat ,which i don’t know or care how to set,but i do know that it will change over from air conditioning to heat by itself????

  34. Mark R

    I’m married 43 years to the same woman and just learned, today, she’s been secretly turning the thermostat up. Thanks, FPL. Our marriage now has one less secret!

  35. Bill Connor

    In your field tests of the Smart Thermostat, you need to try to control a huge variable – Seasonal Residents. When I leave Naples in April, I turn on my Humidistat and set my thermostat at one setting so that the air conditioning will kick in when needed. I don’t return to Naples until the following December/January. While away, I wouldn’t want to be monitoring my air conditioning setting regulary, thereby just creating another “MUST DO” in my already busy schedule. My current thermostat allows be to “set it and forget it”. Set it in April and forget about it until January. So far that practice has worked well for me.

  36. peter l Beckwith Sr

    What recommendations do you have for a snow bird in 32080 from Jan-> June ? I set the non programable thermostat to 88 for the summer when I am not here.

    Thanks PB

  37. Hilaire Sanon

    how to have thermostats to control the AC to pay less.

  38. Dan Guenther

    How can you claim programmable thermostats don’t save money??? If your A/C runs at 74 degrees ALL day it runs more right? If you program it to run at 74 ONLY at night and 78 during the day don’t you save a ton of money? Obviously yes…

  39. BJBauman

    What is the cost to put in a “smart” thermostat?

  40. Lee Ann Mancini

    Hello, We are building a new home on an acre lot and I do have some land I could dedicate to setting up solar panels. I was wondering how much area I would need to make it effective enough to cut down on the electric bill?

    Thank you!
    Lee Ann Mancini

  41. Wendy

    We are seasonal residents. this past summer, our AC broke down. By the time our home care person noticed it and it was fixed, we had significant mold build-up. Is there any kind of a device that would allow you to monitor your air temperature and humidity levels remotely?

  42. John Ernissee

    Are there any statistics on the cost savings of a programmable vs a Smart thermostat? I realize this varies from household to household but on average what might be the yearly savings for say a family of two and a family of four? Will the savings justify the cost of replacing the older thermostat?

  43. Isobel Sturgeon

    I have installed smart thermostats in my home in three zones. I have not seen much of a savings, but in some ways it is more convenient than running up and downstairs to change the settings.

    One downside: I live next to a marina with many large luxury yachts and I suspect they can interfere with my signals from the smart phone to the thermostat. Is this possible?

  44. marty metzger

    Dear Sirs,

    I do appreciate FPL’s consistent effort to educate it’s consumers on ways to save energy and reduce their monthly bill. I understand that the “smart” thermostat is particularly advantageous relative to the traditional model for the homes that are not permanently occupied, as it is possible to check and ensure remotely that the temperature is set correctly. That is the case of properties who have been temporarily occupied by guests or have been visited by maintenance people, for instance. Such circumstances are typical of Florida.
    Any comments please?

    Thank you,
    Sergio Albuquerque

  45. marty metzger

    where can we find a smart thermostat

  46. Michael A Conway

    I have been in the HVAC and control business most of my 65 years and it was my main interest after my family. That said I was surprised by the answer because it is honest and accurate. I design and install and service direct digital control systems in commercial applications and although my applications can and do save energy in larger applications I have experimented for years and found no benefit other than possible comfort in residential applications. Patrick Agnew appears to follow fact rather than PC, thank you for not pushing the false line of the manufacturers.

  47. jan fisher

    we recently purchased a home in Naples fl. the furnace is set up with a humidistat and I was wondering what that should be set on when we summarize our house . I am looking for info on what to do to summarize the home to help prevent any mold or mildew so any info would be greatly appreciated.
    thank you
    jan fisher

  48. Frank Waters

    I had a new a/c installed in September and also chose to install the Nest Thermostat. Every household should have one of these, it is the most incredible thermostats ever and I travel extensively in my work so it is wonderful to operate and control it from anywhere in the world from my i-phone. Apart from its incredible energy saving brain, it is the most beautiful thermostat you could own and takes up very little space. I only wish that FPL had this on their list as one of the most energy efficient out there. Also FPL, it is time you became one of their Nest energy partners, I cannot believe you have not done this yet.

    If you do not own a Nest Thermostat, you are completely missing out on one of the most incredible inventions ever on cool and heat control.

  49. Priscilla McLaughlin

    My AC unit, air handler and theromastat was replaced Nov 17,2011 with a Trane 4TWR5042 CONDENSER, GAM5A0C42M TRANE HYPERION AIRHANDLER, TCONT803 TRANE THERMOSTAT. MY THEROMASTAT is showing the cooling temp I set and then it cools to 3 degrees lower on the right side of thermostat. Do you think I need to have this checked or do the reset pattern of 7 days?

  50. john cortese

    come on you guys are the experts tell us which thermostats are the good ones!!!!!!!

  51. Scott Fletcher

    Purchased a Pro Tech humidistat last year to replace the standard programmable thermostat that came with our home(May 2013). Being snow birds we are really concerned about humidity/mold and were told by our AAA HVAC dealer that a humidistat was a great way to protect home from high humidity. Between chking the FPL web site to see how much or little my AC was running last summer and a few visits by neighbors we found that our humidistat was doing its job. While our house could be 80 degrees, the humidity was always at or below 60% which seems to be a great place to set the humidistat. Our daily usage on the hottest days averaged around $1.25 per day. While you would keep you home cooler than 80 degrees, that temp is fine for when you are not at home. Especially since the humidity is in check. With no window or door openings our new home seems to hold the ambient humidity/temperature for long periods of time. We also had drapes closed and some hurricane shutters on the house. Both seemed to reduce the AC run time.

  52. Rick Culbertson

    Why don’t we have thermostats that will simply keep the home temperature “between 69 & 80 degrees” constantly? Set your comfort zone & time away from home and let the controller do the rest?
    Turn on the heat automatically on cold nights, and to cool (AC) on during warm/hot days (you don’t have to switch between “heal”, off & “cool”.
    Set the times out of home (8-5 Mon-Fri) and +/- 7 degrees and the system should take care of it for you!
    This should not be a hard thing to create with electronics these days, so where is it (at a reasonable price)?

  53. Joel

    Any thermostat that the power companies have nothing to do with. Stay out of our houses and provide a commodity.

  54. Bob

    I use a separate A/C unit for my master bedroom. This allows me to shut off the rest of the house at night. This saves a ton of money. Also use a programable thermostat that adjusts the temperature during the day when we are out.

  55. Linda Garske

    Are we eligible for any discounts if we have a smart thermostat such as the Nest? If there would be any studies done using such a device we would be glad to partake in this study. We also would like to change the temperature differential of the nest from two degrees to one degree thus stopping our partner from manually changing the setting via cell phone due to complaint of: it’s warm in here or are you chilly too? We are sure this would also help reduce out electrical bill.
    Thank you.

  56. Rick

    We are new Florida residents coming from NH. Our house there had 24″ of attic insulation to help with heat loss. The house we purchased here has less than 4″ which seems a bit on the light side to me but I know “things” are just different here but it seems whether preventing heat loss back home or keeping heat out of the house down here the principle should be somewhat the same shouldn’t it. I know our attic gets silly hot in summer. Isn’t this lack if insulation putting an undue stress on the cooling system? What would FPL recommend? the house is 6 years old


    with the latest change of weather and thermostat still set on 78′ has made a different in the latest bill even though the indoor climate was not affected


    I am trying to get a grant to replace my upstairs central a/c unit.
    When I bought the house, I had money.
    Now I have the house, ONLY.

    I am on disability social security.


    FPL recommends running pool pump 4 hrs in the winter. What you have a 2 speed pump?

  60. Carl frosch

    Hello do you know if those smart thermostats can

    Be used for a simple ac wallunit. ?? Please let me know.

    Thanks c. Frosch


    We are snowbirds new to Florida (Port St. Lucie).
    Can you tell me the proper temperature to set my AC thermostate while we are gone for the summer (May – September) Obviously, we’d like to conserve energy, but are concerned what temp mold will start growing.

    P.S. We do put out several humidity bags throughout the house (a mobile home).

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. roger hanson

      What is your opinion of programable vs humidistat for periods of no occupancy, seasonal customer?


    2. Ray Filiatreault

      We are also snowbirds (Sarasota) living in a mobile home. Several years ago, we added a humidistat along with the thermostat; air conditioning companies can install those. While in Florida, we only use the thermostat.

      While away, we activate the humidistat according to instructions. Our costs have been less than $10/month. We don’t need humidity bags to control the humidity, and our home smells fresh when we come back in the fall; no mold odour.

  62. Jerry Loux

    Interesting discussion. I have had a Trane z-link thermostat that worked perfectly fine. Remote readings were accurate, it allowed a&c to run to lower humidity, then heat if necessary at night.
    And then came my tenant who kept fooling with the unit. Up down up down. War of the roses kind of activity! Plus there is a 5 minute timeout so as to not short cycle the unit. Then they tryied reprogramming heat and cool set points! Completely wrong and upside down!. Bottom line is the poor unit got removed for a dumb programmable. My usage has risen. And I can no longer control.
    Next time, I am going to install aplastic lock box over the unit. Btw, that tenant is not getting his lease renewed.

  63. Lois Feinberg

    Does FPL install smart thermostats for a fee?

  64. Chris

    I have an Ecobee http://www.ecobee.com/. I can set both temperature and humidity with it and control it over the internet at home or away from either a computer or smartphone. The computer option shows in graphical format the last 3 days temperature and humidity, when and for how long the a/c ran and in which mode (dehumidify, stage 1 or 2 cooling). This is extremely useful for seasonal residents to control and monitor humidity when away. By only controlling humidity whilst away one can decrease your electricity consumption dramatically.

  65. Ulrich Michel

    Re: Programmable vs. “smart” thermostats:
    Very seldom do I read your answers to customers questions anymore since your replays are always poorly framed or NON ANSWERS!
    FP&L Q&A Team needs a serious knowledgeable person to run this site, not dispense public relation weak platitudes aimed at the clueless.
    FP&L has a chance to dramatically improve this site, especially in regards to customer education.

    Best wishes, Michel

  66. Steve

    If you do not have a “smartphone” what are the “other” potential benefits of the“smart” thermostats?

  67. Jim Luntz

    I am a Floridian first of all. My question: what are “we” doing with relation to using solar energy at the residential property level? Please don’t advise me to ask the “Government, that would be a ridiculous reply. I want collectors on my roof to greatly reduce my energy bill. My Son is son is an architect in the Northeast, every home he designs now is not only using complete solar energy but the homeowner is selling their surplus. Purchase is significantly offset by State and local government. Please compare us and them.

  68. Jimmi Rehman

    I have a Nest and love it. I wish FPL would join the Nest program! You should look into it.

  69. Lourdes

    Can using my dishwasher save me electricty?

  70. Louis Tanguay

    I find a smart thermostat very valuable for a second residence. Allows you to remotely access the thermostat if you forget to set it back when leaving the secondary residence for an extended period of time. Also allows to set the temperature at a comfortable level a few hours before arrival.

  71. Juji

    What’s the mobile phone speed requirement to use with the smart thermostat and does anyone know what these units cost?

  72. Ronald Wennerlund

    Why are so many Florida homes built with dark/black roof-tops? I would think lighter/white roofs would reflect the heat better. I let the sun shine thru my windows in the winter to save on heating and I open up my windows to cool off the house if the nights cools off below 70 degrees.

  73. Bruce Wong


    This is a really weak answer and ignores the current evidence.

    Many utilities are using smart thermostats on a large scale to adjust peak electricity consumption AND paying for the smart thermostat so they can do it.

    FPL installed an expensive device outside my house to do the same thing – so FPL must believe managing demand is a good thing.

    Get with the times FPL.

  74. Douglas Cregar

    We travel extensively so we wanted a thermostat that we could set to turn the heat on only if the temperature inside went below 50, and turn on the A/C only if the interior temp hit 80. We also run a small dehumidifier as needed to control humidity.

    We worked with a major HVAC firm to upgrade our heat pump and to my amazement it took three installations until they provided a thermostat that operated as we requested. Given the number of residents with second homes in other places, or extensive travel in retirement shouldn’t this be a required and readily available option?

    I don’t need a study to confirm that it reduces energy consumption – my bills already provided the evidence.

  75. Scott Smith

    You already mentioned the basis for the “smart” thermostat. It is “geekiness” not savings. Some people want to have control over everything.
    Considering the cost, I doubt that the smart thermostat will save anything. But, it is a neat gimmick for the phone geeks.

  76. Cherie Weinstein

    We had a very well maintained, 2-5 year old AC unit tied into a programmable thermostat on bedroom side of house, set to regulate for day/night. Our AC MAN (Dadeland Air) told us the internal re-setting of the temperature was causing the frequent breakdowns in that AC (Trane) unit. We reverted to a single setting thermostat and no problems since. I would be interested to learn how well these new smart thermostats might work w/our AC systems.

  77. glenn piserchia

    Great article. Being a licensed electrician i felt compelled to contribute.
    Programable stats, in my opion, are the best. People know their daily activities best. When they are out and about one rarely considers the need to make stat adjustments while away. They focus on their needs when away. The programmable stat takes care of that without any worry. This type stat also usually has a hold feature which is used for longer than normal absences. If the heating/cooling is sized properly, the temperature desired will return quite rapidly after the hold feature is negated. Also, no worries about signal strength for communicating with a smart stat. If the smart stat verified the supposed change desired while away, this would help the reliability in using a smart stat, if wanted.


    I have used a seven day four settings options per each individual day programmable thermostat with hold temperature and vacation mode for at least 15 years. I customize Monday through Friday pretty much the same because we are away during the work day, we want it a little cooler at about five so that when we come home the house is not stiffling (80 degrees while we are out), and we can comfortably prepare dinner. After dinner the temperature is dropped a little more so we can enjoy relaxing to reading or tv or video. We like it cooler still about 10:30 seven nights a week. How much more can you really need in a thermostat that a less expensive programmable thermostat provides? My average monthly bill for a 3,000 square foot house is about $200 monthly.

  79. Harry Russell

    If we are away for extended periods in the summer, what set point should we use on the A/C so it will run enough to avoid humidity issues which would lead to mold and mildew?

  80. Tom Cornell

    I find it hard to believe that programmable thermostats have no substantive benefits. Perhaps in an averaged sample across the entire country there were no meaningful results.

    But for a smart individual programmable thermostats can serve his individual needs better. An individual has the best understanding of when he will and won’t need the airco running and program the thermostat accordingly. This can only provide a benefit assuming it is programmed correctly.

    If you don’t know or don’t care how to program it properly then of course you won’t benefit from it.

    I have seen programmable thermostats in workplaces that were hopeless due to too many cooks stirring the broth. Those results shouldn’t taint the usefulness in a specific situation.

  81. Gabe Torok

    Snowbirds can save a very large amount of money when their Florida home is vacant by setting the thermostat high and the controlling the air conditioning with a humidostat. I have been doing this for over 10 years. I am setting the thermostat to 86 degrees and the humidostat to 62%. My monthly electric bill in the Summer is about $42, including about $15 for the pool circulating pump, in a 3800 square foot home. My AC-s run about 12 hours per month (I installed elapsed timer meters so I know). My friends in similar size homes spend five times as much. I urged the EPA to include mandatory humidostats in the energy star specifications for new thermostats but they made it optional. It is critical for Vacant Summer Home applications to have the temperature and the humidity setting to work INDEPENDENTLY. A few thermostats have such options but many do not. It is too technical to explain this here. FPL should champion such usage that would greatly reduce summer electric consumption in Vacant Summer Homes. I will be happy to provide further information, this is one of my retirement hobbies. gabept@gmail.com

  82. Pablo Tirado

    While smart thermostats may not provide savings for ALL, I can testify that my monthly electric bill has been reduced around 15% since I installed the Nest thermostat. My breakeven for the cost of the device was achieved at around 10 months.

  83. Mike Kelly

    Finally an article that makes sense. FPL has had a long time policy of, “78 – set it and forget it” (for summer Florida). Right now the advantage I see for internet controlled programmable is that if on vacation you can turn up/down the temp as appropriate to the season and save money, then reset it the day before your return home to get the house nice and comfy for your arrival. The other daily changes just take too long to, “Catch up”; although there can be some cost savings for just a couple of degrees, that really only applies to small places that don’t have that much air volume to change temperature.

  84. Jim McBride

    Will a smart thermostat help control humidity in summer months will I am up north. I have battled humidity particularly since I had a new AC installed. I am being told the new units are designed for efficiency and don’t run long enough to remove moisture. With a smart thermostat I can run in the early morning hours to remove moisture and then set to let temperature rise to about 75 degrees during day. Also I understand the new thermostat run a couple degrees beyond setting to help with moisture control. Finally I get to monitor temp Nd humidity from up north to make sure I have not had a failure in AC which I experienced twice last year.

    What do you think about the benefits of smart thermostat for humidity control?

  85. Harriet Christakos

    Because we are retired and no longer have a predictable schedule, I can’t tell about the savings from scheduling. I do know, however, that the remote monitoring of the Nest saved us from frozen pipes! The furnace went out – it was “on” but not heating. From FL, I watched the temperature fall in our NY house while the heat was supposedly on and was able to call the proper repair people before we had a real disaster. The outside temp was -20. The Nest is wonderful and perfect for part-time FL residents. (Besides, it’s beautiful!) A once-a-week “house-checker” is not enough. It’s also convenient and potentially economical to be able to control the heat/AC at will from my phone.

  86. Allen

    Thanks for the non-answer. It’s this kind of fluff that is ruining the reputation of your otherwise informative newsletter.


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