Square, rectangular, round, electronic, digital, WiFi, with touchscreen, controlled by app or with voice commands… today’s choice of a programmable thermostat isn’t easy at all because the market really offers such a large variety of models, which differ by design, functions, programming, power supply and much more. Here are some suggestions “for non-experts” to help you to choose the best product for your needs.
First of all remember that, unlike a thermostat – where you activate and adjust heating manually-, the programmable thermostat allows you to set heating switch on and off according to your needs. Therefore, whoever is considering getting a programmable thermostat is already looking for a product that meets two precise requirements: your comfort and energy saving.
But there are many models of programmable thermostats on the market and though they look alike, they are actually very different from one another. Let’s try to clear things up, highlighting the basic differences which you should know and the pros and cons of each solution as regards use experience.
ANALOGUE PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
These are those programmable thermostats which many of us have seen in our parents’ or grandparents’ homes. They are based on analogue technology and feature a mechanical clock with cams on the front panel: opening the front panel you may access the controls to manually select the desired temperature time, thus adjusting heating switch on and off. These products are much easier to set than modern appliances, but for the majority of cases they can only be programmed daily and therefore it is not possible to differentiate one day from another.
DIGITAL PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
This is the evolution of the analogue one. The design and technology take a step forward. The front panel with mechanical clock is replaced by a digital panel bearing all the main values and some keys. You may schedule differently for different days, depending on the time and day of the week, for greater comfort, as well as featuring additional programs in many cases. These are programmable thermostats which require very careful programming, but which a simple instruction manual will help you to complete on your own.
WIFI DIGITAL PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
This is the latest and most recent generation of programmable thermostats. WiFi programmable thermostats are connected to the home WiFi router and are coupled to an app for mobile devices (even Fantini Cosmi has its proprietary app, Intelliclima+). Thanks to the remote connection, heating can be switched on or off when you are away from home, as well as monitoring the room temperature, modifying programming, etc.
A WiFi programmable thermostat gives you greater flexibility regarding the programmable “periods” (therefore the hour intervals) for each individual day.
A WiFi chrono can be harder to use for those who have little “digital” experience, but really provide many advantages.
SMART PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT
Today we talk about smart programmable thermostats, the last evolution of this type of products. The most advanced are voice controlled via apps or via smart speakers such as Google HomeTM and Amazon AlexaTM.
Fantini Cosmi has followed the evolution of smart technology and today the entire range of WiFi programmable thermostats (consisting of models CH180WiFi, CH180RFWiFi, CH193WiFi and CH193BwiFi and the brand-new C800WIFI) can be managed with voice commands.
The constant research and development on these products aims at achieving a fully autonomous management of heating by the programmable thermostat. This is made possible by exploiting different readings: the outdoor temperature, the indoor temperature, whether or not the user is home (detected by geolocation on our smartphone), the desired temperature, etc. According to these parameters, and thanks to the processing of artificial intelligence algorithms, the thermostat is capable of learning our habits and formulating a custom-made program completely on its own, without any intervention on our part.
What should we choose?
With all that is offered, it’s not easy to choose the right product for your home.
Is it still worth buying an analogue thermostat? At what point should we look into a smart thermostat? Which category guarantees the best efficiency?
The first question is who will be using it and whether this user is accustomed to technology. If you don’t have a smartphone and you don’t use apps, you can’t buy a WiFi programmable thermostat. In this case, it’s better to choose analogue models that don’t need an Internet connection and which anyhow provide you with the main features, especially the more advanced analogue models.
Whereas if you are technology-friendly, you have a “smart home”, and enjoy using Google Home and Amazon Alexa to control the smart devices in your home, then the Smart thermostat is definitely for you!
A QUESTION OF DESIGN!
Sometimes the choice depends on the product’s looks. A design programmable thermostat is definitely nicer to look at and can be well integrated into charming environments as far as style is concerned. And so further criteria for making a choice are added such as the colour of the device, the shape, materials, LED lights allowing you to see the main values, and other features in which manufacturers work with ever greater care to guarantee that even this product can stand out in our homes.
… it is mandatory to have a programmable thermostat in your home. The current standard in force is Presidential Decree DPR 412/93, amended and integrated by subsequent legislative decrees such as Legislative Decree 192/05, Legislative Decree 311/06 and recently Presidential Decree 59/09. All of these laws lay down the obligation of installing devices which allow you to adjust the temperature of rooms at two temperature levels.
TRUST AN EXPERT
For the final decision, we recommend in any case that you contact your trusted installer: not all WiFi programmable thermostats are the same and therefore you need to pay attention to certain characteristics to make sure you buy a model compatible especially with your boiler, and not only with your wishes!