There are times when old-school is best. Some people like being able to change their own oil and tinker with the carburetor, so pre-OBD models are preferable to modern, computerized cars. And you might enjoy shopping in person, feeling the weight of fabric and seeing how things fit, even though ordering online is pretty convenient. But when it comes to your thermostat, the dial variety can’t hold a candle to digital products. Although some consumers will no doubt decide that the original model isn’t broken and doesn’t need to be “fixed”, or they’ll say they’re too old to learn to use these new-fangled thermostats on the market today, the truth is that digital thermostats are easy to use and they offer a variety of advantages to modern homeowners. Here are a few you’ll enjoy when you upgrade.
- Greater accuracy. Dial thermostats are notoriously inaccurate, and there are a couple of reasons why. First and foremost, the controls do not allow for pinpoint accuracy when selecting your ideal temperature. Most dials are numbered in increments of ten with hashtags to represent two-degree increments. This system hardly lends itself to accuracy. But the bigger issue may be the fact that dial thermostats feature moving parts, and any time you tinker with your dial or even bump it too hard these parts can become misaligned, requiring a technician to calibrate your unit. You won’t face either of these problems with a digital thermostat, which allows you to select a precise temperature and contains no moving parts.
- Greater efficiency. When you’re able to select the exact temperature you want, you’ll probably start to enjoy reduced demand for energy. But many digital thermostats also offer options for programming, and this is where you can really start to see increased efficiency and greater energy conservation. When you program your unit using Department of Energy guidelines (no higher than 68?F in winter, no lower than 78?F in summer, and rolled back by 10-15 degrees during the eight hours a day you’re at work) you’ll find that you’re not only using less energy in general, but that you’re not blowing it by cranking the air when you get home. With a program in place, your system will slowly heat or cool your interior to reach your desired temperature at the appropriate time, resulting in optimum energy efficiency.
- Monetary savings. In addition to cutting your carbon footprint, using a digital and/or programmable thermostat can help you to achieve monetary savings on your monthly energy bill. When you cut back on usage during the time you’re away from home, you stand to save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs right off the top (assuming an 8-hour absence daily).
- No mercury. One of the biggest complaints about dial thermostats is that they contain mercury, perhaps more than any other item in the average, modern household. This could not only prove hazardous to your health, but digital thermostats won’t contribute to the ongoing buildup of mercury in landfills.
- Locks. Upgrading your HVAC and improving indoor air quality reduces indoor pet allergies and increases comfort, but you can’t make the most of your system without installing a digital thermostat to control it. And you can’t gain the greatest benefits from your digital unit if everyone in your household is constantly overriding your settings. Luckily, digital units may come with either a physical locking mechanism or a digital passcode to keep people from monkeying with the controls.