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Thermostats: What's the Difference?

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Thermostats have become a hot topic thanks to all of the cool features on the latest models.

However, there are a lot of thermostat terms out there—programmable, connected, smart—that sound similar, but are actually very different. To make sense of it all, imagine thermostats are like maps.

A programmable thermostat is like printing out driving directions from the Internet. You can set your course and make sure you're headed in the right direction. Once you print out directions, however, that's all you have unless you stop to get new directions. A programmable thermostat can save energy as long as you know how to program it.

A connected thermostat can connect you to the Internet, but think of it like a basic GPS navigation system in your car. You'll get directions, and if traffic seems slow or there's a detour, it's easy for you to look up a new route and select it. With connected thermostats, you can adjust the settings remotely, but you still make all of the decisions yourself.

Smart thermostats are not only Internet-connected, they can make decisions for you. Think of a real-time navigation system in your car. It's using outside inputs like traffic data and construction reports to tell you which route is the fastest. It does all the work, allowing you to focus on driving. A smart thermostat maximizes savings using inputs such as outside temperature, indoor conditions, occupancy and more without any work on your part.

Thermostat technology is taking us to new places. How you get there is up to you.