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The Government’s Energy Star Program suggests that homeowners who use programmable thermostats — so-called “smart” thermostats — may be able to save $180 or more year on energy costs. That’s good news, whether you’re a San Francisco condo owner, or you own a modest home in the East Bay. While the Golden State’s climate (at least, in our neck of the woods) is relatively mild, energy costs can still really add up. The big question is: what can you do about those costs, not just over the short term, but over the longer term (e.g. 3 to 10 years)?

If you plan to stay where you are for 5+ years, and if the Energy Star estimates are correct, then you could save approximately $900 — just by being more mindful about your energy bills!

Smart thermostats can help you rein-in your budget by reducing your use of oil, gas, solar, electricity, etc – without forcing you to give up any comfort or control.

Multiple models of smart thermostats are competing for attention of consumers. These include systems like The Nest and Honeywell’s Prestige 2.0 Comfort System, both of which allow you to control not only temperature but also humidity, ambient light, etc. These smart thermostats can learn your schedules. They can also communicate with other units in your house via WiFi; and you can even program them using your mobile phone.

This way, when you’re on the way home from work – or from a vacation – you can pre-set your home to be the perfect temperature.

More sophisticated models include Ecobee Smart Thermostat, which can be controlled by smartphone or web browser and which interfaces directly with your ventilator, humidifier, furnace, and other units. It retails for nearly $500. Steep, indeed! But if such a unit helps you save $200 a year on energy costs, it “pays for itself” within just two and half years of use.

If you’re looking for a more discounted unit, consider Homewerks’ Radio Wireless Thermostat with WiFi. This gizmo has fewer extras than the Nest and the Ecobee, but it’s relatively easy to install, and it can also be controlled remotely via your smartphone to optimize energy usage.

For more detailed help with home system automation and control, call Karbon Home Theater for a free estimate at 925-795-7600. We can help you solve your residential or commercial needs: visit us online at

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