Episode 5 – Choosing A Thermostat

Donna: Hello and welcome to another edition of Rapid Repair Pro. I am your host Donna Green. And joining me in studio is Phil green, our resident Handyman Ofallon expert, how are you today Phil?
Phil: I’m doing wonderful. How are you?
Donna: I’m fantastic too. Thanks. So also in the studio are our two Valley Bulldogs, Lucy and Bauer. They are our little sidekicks and there’s no point in trying to lock them out of the studio room cause they’re gonna sit outside and cry. So if you hear any noises, that would be them. Lucy was a little noisy on our last topic.
Phil: Yeah, she was needing some attention.
Donna: Yeah, she did. So today folks, our topic is choosing a thermostat and a thermostat is really a big decision to make and you really should invest in a good thermostat. And so today I’m going to let Phil, Founder of Rapid Repair Pro, Handyman Ofallon expert talk about the different types of thermostats that are available out there.
Phil: Well, you have different choices out there. So let’s talk a little bit about the original old thermostat you may still have in your home. Thermostats are basically just a switch that turns your furnace or air conditioner on and off. And the limited use is whatever temperature that you set it at. So the old thermostats had one function that was it. You set a temperature and it turned off your furnace or air conditioner to maintain whatever your desired temperature was. So if you went to bed at night you and you wanted it cooler, you’d have to turn your thermostat down. Or if you went to work and you wanted to not have it run and you’d turn it up or down, depending upon the season, those types of thermostats, and you could still buy them, they still exist. If you don’t really like dealing with some of the other options and you just want that basic function that still exists.
Phil: As a Handyman Ofallon service provider, I still have some elderly customers who that’s what they want because that’s what they’re used to. And the older you get, the harder it is to learn the new tech. The programmable ones can be a little daunting to people, particularly the elderly. But you also have other choices. So you have from the original single use thermostat, we went to the programmable thermostat which allows you to set the temperature for various times of days and days of the week, whether it be the Workday or the weekend and those work well if you’re the type of person who doesn’t change your temperature all the time and you just like a certain set temperature depending upon whether you’re home or not home or it’s bed time or morning time or whatever that time of day is you could set it to adjust your temperatures based on that.
Phil: And then the next level, the thermostats that we have available today would be, well you might hear referred to as a smart thermostat. Even with those you have choices. So the one kind most people might be familiar with would be the brand that Google has out called the Nest thermostat. And that is a type of thermostat that’s called a learning thermostat. When you install one of those, you’re going to set the temperature based on what you want it to be. And then over a period of a week or two, as you adjust it up or down, depending upon what you want the temperature to be, it will learn how you like the temperatures to be at different times a day in different days of the week. And it will eventually learn that schedule and do it for you.
Phil: And then that thermostat will also sense when no one’s home. And it will, if it senses no one’s home, it’ll automatically adjust the temperature for someone being gone. Now the only drawback to that is sometimes a lot of thermostats are placed in locations where they may not go a lot. So if you don’t go in that hallway for hours and hours at a time, it’s going to assume you’re not home. As a Handyman Ofallon provider, I have to educate customers with this.
Donna: Right? So we have that situation, right?
Phil: So in that case, if you’re going to get that type of thermostat you may want to consider changing its location. The other smart thermostat doesn’t change, it doesn’t learn what you do but you, but you have a lot of control over it. An Echobee makes one that’s really good. And even it and the learning ones have the apps that you can use to control them.
Phil: If you control it with your smartphone or your computer and you can program it to do whatever you want and it can even know when you’re headed home and it can turn the thermostat up or down depending upon the season. So that the house is good, it knows how long it’s going to take to warm the house up. And it does it in time so that the temperatures right when you get home, and that’s kind of a nice feature to have. So you do have a lot of options today with thermostats, you know, so you definitely have choices, and so do we as Handyman Ofallon experts.
Donna: So then how does someone know what’s right for them?
Phil: What type of person are you? Are you intimidated by technology? If you’re the type of person who has a hard time,
Donna: I have a tough time,
Phil: You can’t even operate your smartphone, all the features on it,
Donna: I’m not that bad,
Phil: Then you know maybe a smart thermostat might be a difficult for you to learn but you could learn how to use it.
Phil: But if you’re really, you know, tech savvy and you really like having total control of everything, some of the smart thermostats might be fun for you, good for you to have. The Handyman Ofallon providers at Rapid Repair Pro can help. They do claim that they save money, a hundred to $200 a year. I’m a little bit skeptical of that number. I guess it would depend if you went from an old, you know, single use thermostat to one of these smart thermostats then I would agree with that number. But if you have a programmable thermostat and you pretty much let it do its program, I don’t think going to see a significant savings advantage. But you will have more control. You have an app, you could see what’s going on with your system, you can tell if your system is running or not. So if you’re on vacation and it breaks down, you would know and you can have remote control of your system while you’re not at home. They can do things like turn it on or turn it off.
Donna: So that’s really the advantage when it comes to a smart thermostat versus the programmable is the control you have when you’re not there. Right. And maybe the ease of reprogramming it or setting a new program.
Phil: Yeah, They’re definitely easier to program with an app than they are on the thermostat as they can be. I know every year at the time change, I have to change the program on our thermostats, I have to get the manual out and relearn how to do it. Oh, it’s not real intuitive.
Donna: Right. So, so really the, it comes down to knowing what’s right for you is how much control do you want over that and your lifestyle.
Phil: Absolutely. I know a lot of things in the home are going to, you know, there are a lot of opportunities to add smart features to your home, not only with thermostat but with your lighting, with your appliances, even a garage door or your front door locks, your security systems that can all be interconnected and give you a lot of control over your indoor environment whether you’re home or not. Yeah, it’s pretty good. Technology is improving all the time. Functionality of it. It’s, you know, can be a good thing.
Donna: Often times our local electric company or gas company will have programs or incentive programs for us to be more energy efficient. Are you aware of any programs or incentives out there right now?
Phil: Yeah, I know I find as a Handyman Ofallon provider, locally here Amerin Illinois has some pretty good rebate programs for the smart thermostats and not only thermostats but also for energy efficiency also. So you definitely want to check with your local utility and see if they have any kind of programs on these. I know the Amerin right now, if you go on their website Amerin Illinois and you’re a customer, you can get the echo B thermostat, which is normally a $300 thermostat for $94 or you can get a nest thermostat, which is normally a 200 plus dollar thermostat to 50 maybe. Plus they’ll throw in a Google home mini for $54
Donna: Oh for both. Yeah.
Phil: So it’s a pretty good deal and you still need to have it installed. Now some people may be able to install them themselves. I would caution against that because if you miss wire something you can cause problems with your furnace. I mean you could blow it the transformer, you could blow a fuse on your circuit board, in which case you’re gonna end up spending more on a service call to repair that than you will probably would have if you just hired someone to come out and install it. The average price is about $99 to have a smart thermostat installed, that’s something we can definitely take care of for you.
Donna: Okay,
Donna: Awesome. That was some really good information on the thermostats and hopefully this was helpful to our listeners as it may have helped them make that decision on whether or not to stick with or move to the programmable or the smart thermostat. We’re here to give any Handyman Ofallon insight when you need it.
Phil: If you live in Amerin, Illinois territory, it’s really a no brainer really.
Donna: Yeah.
Phil: I mean for the price you pay for it to get it installed. So, you know, $160 you can get the thermostat and the install. So give us a call, visit us@rapidrepairpro.com. Check us out, check out our reviews, and we’d love to take care of that for you as Handyman Ofallon providers.
Donna: Good information, Phil, thanks so much for your knowledge and expertise on this. I’m sure that others will be calling you to get those new thermostats installed. Thank you very much and you all have a great day. Bye.