Not all programmable thermostats are created equal. They can range in price from $40 – $300. The difference in price is based on the capabilities of the thermostat. Your basic programmable thermostat varies in price from $40-$100 dollars. A more advanced programmable thermostat varies from $150-$300. Running down to home depot and installing any programmable thermostat may save a few dollars in the immediate, but investing is a better thermostat could save you even more in the long run. Johnson Controls offers a programmable thermostat for about $195 that offers Smart Fan. In a commercial situation the fan is supposed to run continuously during occupied times for the best air quality, and a smart fan mode provides this without manually putting the fan in the ‘on’ position. Smart fan also allows for continuous fan operation during occupied mode and cycling with the equipment at night. This saves you money in energy by not having a fan in operation 24 hours a day when you don’t need it. Without the smart fan mode the fan would be left ‘ON’ all the time, which draw constant energy and the fan would only cycle during a call for cooling or heating during the day, which could create stagnant air or a buildup of CO2
Other features of a more advanced programmable thermostat include: adjustable heating and cooling cycles per hour, which balances temperature control and equipment cycling; remote indoor outdoor sensing; frost protection, that will turn on the heat when the zone temperature drops below 42 degrees, regardless of how the thermostat is set; memory that saves parameters in the case of a power outage; as well as many more.
Before buying a less expensive programmable thermostat make sure that it is the best piece of equipment for you. Spending a little more money upfront may save you money and time in the long run.