With the warm weather on the horizon, do you need a new thermostat? If you’re not sure whether you need to upgrade this key HVAC accessory, take a look at the top pre-summer season questions to ask right now.

How Efficient Is Your Air Conditioner?

Does your thermostat add to your summer cooling costs? Or is your central air conditioner the main problem? An older, poorly maintained, damaged, or low-quality air conditioner can cost you money in energy-related costs. Even though the air conditioner itself is a primary source of energy usage, it isn’t the only part of the system that can add to your overall costs.

The thermostat can significantly impact your air conditioner’s ability to cool your home efficiently (and for less money) in the summer heat. If you’re not sure whether your thermostat or your AC unit is at fault for high cooling costs, consider:

  • The setting. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 7 to 10 degree Fahrenheit change in setting for eight hours a day can save you up to 10 percent in cooling bills. If you never change the temperature setting, the thermostat could cost you money.
  • The ages. How old are your air conditioner and thermostat? A central air conditioner lasts an average of 7 to 15 years and a thermostat has a lifespan of up to 35 years, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors.
  • Maintenance factors. How well do you maintain your HVAC system? If you don’t schedule routine service or clean filters regularly, your AC unit may use more energy — and cost you more in electric bills.

If you’re still not sure whether your thermostat or air conditioner is at fault for high cooling costs or whether one (or both) require replacement, you need to move on to the next step — professional help.

How Can a Professional Help?

Should you, or shouldn’t you, invest in a new thermostat? Limited HVAC knowledge can put the average homeowner at a disadvantage. After you’ve assessed energy usage and the efficiency of your AC unit and thermostat, you may still need expert guidance.

Unlike an entire HVAC system (or a central AC unit), a thermostat is a relatively inexpensive upgrade. But even though a new thermostat probably won’t break your home improvement budget, you want to get the most value for your money. This includes energy efficiency-related costs, features, durability, and lifespan.

If you’re not sure if you need to replace the thermostat or don’t know which model to choose, a qualified HVAC professional can:

  • Inspect your AC system. The technician can inspect the system for signs of wear and tear or damage. If the technician determines your central AC isn’t the issue, they can help you to choose a replacement thermostat.
  • Provide thermostat options. Which type of thermostat should you choose? If you don’t know whether a standard, programmable, or smart system is right for your home, the professional can recommend the best option to fit your needs.
  • Install the thermostat. If you don’t have specialized HVAC knowledge, a new thermostat installation is best left to the professional. The technician can recommend the best space to place the thermostat, install the unit, and make sure it works correctly.
  • Maintain the thermostat and HVAC system. The HVAC technician’s job doesn’t end immediately after the installation. Your thermostat and HVAC system require pre-season (or post-season) maintenance for maximum energy-efficiency.

Before you call the first HVAC professional you Google, consider who the contractor is and what they can do for your home. Ask the contractor for references and discuss how they can help your AC system to work at maximum efficiency. Make sure they offer the thermostat products (such as programmable or smart thermostats) before you schedule a service appointment.

Do you need a new thermostat for your air conditioner? Contact Apollo Heating & Air Conditioning for more information.