Smart Thermostats vs. Traditional Thermostats: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to the debate about smart thermostats versus traditional thermostats in Wilmington, NC, the savings you reap are among the main talking points. Keep reading to learn about the differences between smart thermostats and traditional thermostats, so you can make an informed decision about whether you need an upgrade.


With traditional thermostats, you have to check the temperature and then adjust the appliance’s dial or press a button to get to the desired temperature. Once that is done, the thermostat will increase or decrease the temperature in the room. If there is a central cooling unit, then the whole house or apartment will be cooled to that temperature.

With smart thermostats, you can program them to start cooling down even before you get home. That way, the temperature will already be at a comfortable level once you arrive. You can also set it for a preferred temperature in the evening as well as the afternoon.

Remote Access

With traditional thermostats, you have to be at home to adjust them. Not only that, but you also have to be in the same room and standing in front of them to make adjustments. If you have a traditional thermostat and want a cool or warm house when you get home, you’ll have to wait for the temperature to change once you’ve adjusted the thermostat.

With a smart thermostat, you can use the app to see the temperature inside your home. If it is too warm or too cool, you can access the settings in the thermostat and adjust them to your comfort level. That way, when you come home, you don’t have to do anything to the thermostat.

Learns and Adjusts Accordingly

With a traditional thermostat, you always have to use buttons to increase or decrease the temperature. While air conditioners and heaters will activate if programmed, they can’t learn and anticipate your temperature preferences.

A smart thermostat can learn your temperature preferences throughout the day and then automatically adjust as the day progresses. It will learn that you prefer not to have the AC on if it is rainy but would like to have the air blowing if it is sunny outside.

Data and Reports

A smart thermostat can give you detailed reports. These reports show how long the heating or cooling has run each day, weekly and monthly energy reports, your energy usage and how much energy you save. It will even present a monthly comparison and provide alerts if it detects any problems such as the heater or AC shutting down when it shouldn’t.

A traditional thermostat can’t provide reports, and it doesn’t provide alerts for the heater and AC unit. The only way you can track your energy usage with a traditional thermostat is if you track it yourself, which you can’t do accurately when you aren’t home.

Take It With You

Another cool perk about installing a smart thermostat is that you can uninstall it and take it with you when you move to a new home. A smart thermostat might not be that much of a financial investment for a homeowner, but for a renter, it would make sense to take a smart thermostat after a relocation. Homeowners can also choose to take the appliance with them if they don’t wish to spend money on another smart thermostat and installation fees.

If you live in Wilmington, NC, and have been debating about switching from a traditional to a smart thermostat, there is no time like the present. Not only are smart thermostats programmable, but they also learn patterns and make the necessary adjustments. If you’re interested in thermostats or any other HVAC service in Wilmington, give us a call at Airmax Heating & Cooling.

Image provided by iStock

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