Get control of your heating and air conditioning system by installing a new thermostat with the help of an HVAC pro or handyman. Fortunately for your budget, what seems to be a problem with your heating or AC may actually be a thermostat problem — which usually can be resolved more quickly and cheaply.
Thermostats can control heating systems, air conditioners, furnaces or fireplaces, electric baseboard heaters and more. Different types of HVAC systems require different kinds of thermostats, so always confirm with a specialist before purchasing a thermostat on your own. Newer thermostats control your heating and air with a thermistor, a device that measures the temperature in the room against preset low and high temperatures to activate heating or cooling. If you’re ready to bring your thermostat game to the next level, here are the cost factors involved.
Type of thermostat
There are four main types of thermostats: mechanical, digital, programmable and learning. Mechanical thermostats used to be more popular, but now the rising trend is "smart" learning thermostats that learn your energy usage patterns and self-program based on your needs. Most learning thermostats can also connect to your mobile devices. Programmable thermostats of any kind offer money savings. Energy.gov reports that using a programmable thermostat can save you up to 10 percent on your heating and cooling costs.
If you’re purchasing retail, nonprogrammable digital thermostats range from $20-$40. Programmable digital thermostats that don’t offer remote Wi-Fi access can range from $20 on the low end up to $120 or more. Wi-Fi-enabled programmable thermostats cost $100-$250.
Once you have purchased a thermostat, you can call a handyman, HVAC pro or electrician for help safely wiring in your new device. Factors that could impact an hourly rate for installation are travel fees, minimum service fees and overhead. Geographic location also affects cost, as areas with a higher cost of living will typically have higher labor rates. Here are some examples of hourly rates:
$40: Per hour for handyman services from Vern’s Residential Repair in Overland Park, Kansas.
$65: Per hour for HVAC services from Capital Refrigeration Service in Midlothian, Virginia. An additional 5-20 percent is added to parts used.
$50-$80: Per hour for handyman services from CRAB Handyman in Irving, Texas. Price depends on complexity of job.
- $75: Per hour for electrician services from Alpha Electric and More in Fremont, California.
With Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, you can control your temperature remotely — turning the heat on as you drive home from vacation, or turning the power off if you’ll be out for the night. Learning thermostats help homes use less energy, reducing your utility bill and having a positive impact on the environment. Purchasing your Wi-Fi learning thermostat from a retail store can range from $100-$250, while the cost for an HVAC pro to install one will vary, depending on the model of the thermostat you select and the labor rates for the pro. Here is one example of cost:
- Honeywell Wi-Fi thermostat: $375 from Premier HVAC Heating and Cooling in Romeoville, Illinois. Includes thermostat and installation costs.