Programmable thermostats have a few advantages over manual units, and do not cost much more. Since the adjustments are done automatically, you can have them even when you are away from home or sleeping.
Programmable thermostats advantages
Programmable thermostats are especially suited for people with regular schedules. Modern units allow different schedules for weekdays and weekends, and to program specific settings for while you're awake, asleep or away from home.
Programming a thermostat can be a bit daunting, but it's mostly a one-time issue.
Manual digital thermostat vs. manual electric-mechanical
Besides the traditional manual electric-mechanical thermostats, there is now a new category of manual thermostats: the digital models.
They have an easy-to-see and easy-to-read backlit digital display, and a wide compatibility with furnaces, air conditioners and other heating and cooling equipment; and they are also more accurate: some digital models provide levels of accuracy of +/-1°F (+/- 0.5 degrees Celsius), which is unusual in mechanical units.
If you want to buy a manual thermostat, consider
- its warranties (they vary from 1 to 5 years for both types of manual thermostats),
- ease of installation (professional installation or DIY-installation),
- its battery system (some basic models do not need a battery) and the...
- mercury issue (the most modern models do not use mercury).
Programmable line-Wired vs. programmable wireless thermostats
Hard-wired and wireless thermostats can both provide the same modern features:
- 7-day (or 5-2, or 5-1-1) units,
- energy saving modes,
- easy to use touch-screen display,
- backlit display,
- auto mode (to change from heat to cool and vice-versa),
- permanent day and time settings (convenient for power outages), etc.
The simplest wireless thermostat systems involve one remote-mobile thermostat, and a receiver connected to the heating/cooling equipment (installed as you would install a common thermostat)
This design allows you to put the thermostat right where you want it to be (in your bedroom, living room, or wherever you are); the mobile wireless thermostat will "switch" on or off the heating and cooling system accordingly.
But the wireless design can also involve more than one remote thermostat (typically up to four); you can have several wireless thermostats (sensors), each one in a room/zone, all connected to the same central receiver module. The ultimate goal is, obviously, to deliver more or less heat (or cold air) according to the needs of each room.
Multi-wireless systems are mostly designed for central heating and cooling systems but they can also be designed to work with window air conditioners, ductless furnaces, etc. The installation requirements depend on the exact design of the system, and prices accordingly…