Does it matter what kind of thermostat you have in your home?

Sep 22, 2022

Here in Winnipeg, heating and cooling are about more than just comfort – they’re about your health. Having a high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner will save you money (and help protect the environment), but new models are also more reliable, leading to fewer emergency calls to your local heating and cooling company.

You probably already know all of that – but did you know that the kind of thermostat you have matters, too?

With the right thermostat, you can save money, improve the lifespan of your furnace and air conditioner, and spot serious problems before they cause you any headaches.

We’ve offered heating and cooling in Winnipeg for decades, so we know a thing or two about thermostats. Today, we’re going to look at the three different kinds of thermostats and the benefits of each. 

The three kinds of thermostats


Manual thermostats are the most straightforward model. Will you want to change the temperature? You’ll have to get up off your chair and change it yourself – unless it comes with a remote. Manual thermostats can be mechanical or digital, but they can’t change the temperature without direct user intervention.


Programmable thermostats can be programmed (I bet you didn’t see that one coming) to adjust the temperature in your home at given times. They’re a great energy-saving tool – you can set the temperature in your home to be lower (or higher, depending on the time of season) when you’re away or sleeping. 

You’ll program the thermostat to bring the temperature back to a level you’re comfortable with when you get back home or wake up. Simple and effective.


Smart thermostats are the most advanced type of thermostat, and they’re loaded with features. The key feature of a smart thermostat is that it’s connected to the internet via Wi-Fi, so you can control it even if you’re far from home.

These thermostats are programmable – and many go beyond that. Most smart thermostats will learn your schedule, adjusting temperatures automatically without needing human intervention. They’ll also give you data on how much money you’re saving by adjusting the temperature. Many even come with sensors to tell you when there are problems with your HVAC units or ducts!

The kind of thermostat you have matters

There’s a pretty simple way to know how good your thermostat is:

  • Manual thermostats will do the trick
  • Programmable thermostats will save you money
  • Smart thermostats will save you more money

Now, “saving money” is a funny thing – you have to spend money to get programmable or smart thermostats, so it’s a matter of calculating how much money you’ll save by getting a better thermostat.

That’s a hard calculation to make, but in our experience, programmable and smart thermostats tend to pay for themselves. Smart thermostats are particularly useful as they can alert you to maintenance issues so you can address them before repairs are needed.

Smart thermostats are so good, in fact, that the Government of Canada has a whole page about smart thermostats. We recommend you keep an eye out for government incentives (both provincial and federal) for rebates on smart and programmable thermostats.


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