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Comparing smart thermostats and programmable thermostats

Both smart and programmable thermostats allow you to better control your home’s energy use. Unlike inefficient manual models, modern thermostats were created for the purpose of saving energy without sacrificing comfort.

That is why energySMART, a Nicor Gas program, provides the option of a programmable or smart thermostat as part of its rebate offerings and free home energy assessments. With no shortage of features, it is just a matter of selecting the better thermostat option to suit your needs.

As the name suggests, programmable thermostats allow you to program your home’s cooling and heating system. Smart thermostats are also programmable, and they are designed to learn your behavior over time, automatically adjusting the temperature in your home to accommodate your habits. As an added benefit, some smart thermostats are WiFi-enabled, allowing you to remotely monitor and control the temperature in your home from a smartphone or other web-enabled device.

As they are considered energy efficiency devices, both a programmable and smart thermostat can help save energy and reduce costs. During a free home energy assessment, programmable thermostats are included and installed at no cost, while smart thermostats can be purchased at a discounted price. Programmable thermostats qualify for a rebate of up to $20, while smart thermostats qualify for a rebate of up to $50.

Click here to learn about thermostat rebates and qualifications.

Features Programmable thermostat Smart thermostat
Comfort Can be programmed to preferred temperature settings
May sense when you enter a space and bring that room to your comfort setting  
Control and convenience Automatically adjusts temperatures to your personalized schedule and preset levels
May sense when you are home or away, optimizing comfort when you are home and conserving energy when you are away  
Allows you to schedule events (such as a vacation)  
Provides additional information such as monthly energy use, weather, system operation and maintenance reminders  
May minimize runtime by using weather and system performance data to bring your home to the correct temperature  
Communicates with other devices Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to remotely adjust temperature with a smart phone or other device  
Price Rebate amount $20 $50
Average retail price $50 $150-$250
Price through assessment Free $150
Qualifying products*
*Prices shown reflect the ecobee3 smart thermostat, which is available for purchase through an energySMART free home assessment.