Aside from the price of your own renewable energy, the cost of anything used to heat or cool the home is largely non-negotiable and headed in one direction only: up.
That's why startup Nest Labs developed its elegant programmable thermostat, the Nest. It's also why Honeywell is pushing its Prestige, a programmable, high-definition touchscreen thermostat. And indeed, it's why Lennox International has come out with the icomfort Wi-Fi touchscreen thermostat.
The Lennox icomfort, which sells for $300 to $400 and works with Lennox Wi-Fi infrastructure, has a lengthy feature and capability list:
• Temp and humidity can be programmed for daily and seasonal schedules
• One-touch “away” setting
• Remote access via free smartphone app and website
• Five-day weather forecast
• Maintenance alerts for you and your dealer
• “Skins” you can place over the thermostat's frame to make it blend with the room
• You can put a digital picture of your choice on the screen
A woodgrain "skin" camouflaging the Lennox icomfort
It's easy to go overboard here (skins and photos), but there's no argument against a penny-pinching attitude towards energy. Manufacturers cite double-digit energy savings, but it's safe to assume that thoughtfully managing your heating and cooling will save money. Here's a quick comparison of the icomfort to the Nest and Prestige:
- The icomfort uses programming menus, and menus are almost always tedious and confusing. Both the Nest and Prestige ask you questions, which can be less flexible.
- The icomfort stands out from the wall the way most wood picture frames do. The Prestige and Nest are like blisters, flush against the wall.
- The icomfort and Nest are programmable via smartphone, but not the Prestige, which comes with an in-house remote (one that may escape with all the other remotes you can't find).
For more on HVAC, consider:
Nest Learning Themostat: Digital-Age Home Temperature Control
Winterize Your Home on a Budget
Wiring a Thermostat