Are you considering a thermostat upgrade? The buzz behind ‘smart’ tech and home automation can’t be denied. But what’s the big benefit? How do smart homes work, and how exactly do today’s smart thermostats really stack up against their predecessors? Do they really work that much differently?
What is a smart thermostat?
Smart thermostats, like other smart devices, allow you to remotely control your home’s temperature via mobile or internet-connected device. This unique capability makes operation more convenient, offering greater control of heating and cooling, and thus, energy savings.
Benefits of switching to a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats are the most efficient way to cool your home if you take advantage of their features. Nest Laboratories reported the average energy savings for users who enabled their Summer 2016 Seasonal Savings algorithm was 80%.
The biggest problem with older energy-saving thermostats was their complicated settings process. Smart Thermostats are as easy as checking a Facebook post. User-friendly apps offer far more control over energy use than old thermostats.
Real-Time Energy Tracking
With old thermostats, there was no way to know how efficiently they were running until a bill came in. The new smart units allow homeowners to see simple energy audits through the attached apps—no more expensive surprises.
Smart thermostat features
The Smart Scheduling Wizards
Apps for smartphones and PCs make it easy for homeowners to set a schedule and temperature preferences.
These thermostats learn from the user. For example, many people turn their thermostats down a few degrees at night. A smart thermostat would notice that behavior and begin making the adjustment automatically after a few weeks.
They will automatically adjust patterns of heating and cooling based on the change of the seasons
Heating or cooling an empty house is a major reason for wasted energy and high power bills. Smart thermostats can learn when a house is usually occupied and act accordingly.
Most smart thermostats are designed to consistently provide the homeowner feedback, such as monthly reports on energy savings automatically sent to the homeowner’s email and suggestions for more efficient use.
Smart thermostats can be controlled from anywhere with an internet connection. Say you leave the AC running and leave on a road trip. With an old thermostat, you’ll come home to a painful electric bill. With a smart thermostat, you can easily turn it down or off, and if you forget, the thermostat will probably do it for you automatically!
Do smart thermostat really save money?
Yes, if you use it properly. Nest, the leading manufacturer of smart thermostats reports that their average user saves $145 a year on heating and cooling. Other manufacturers are less open about their user data, but the average savings reported by real users is 10% to 20%, with the savings in heating costs being greater than that in A/C costs.
The following are some useful tips to make sure you save money with your smart thermostat.
- Set reasonable temperatures. Keeping a house at 65°F in a heatwave or 78°F in a sub-zero blizzard is going to be expensive no matter what thermostat you use.
- Seal drafty windows and doors. If cold air is leaking out the door, you’re losing money. Smart thermostats also can’t close open windows.
- Upgrade older A/C units. If your A/C unit is over 10 years old, you could save up to 40% on cooling costs by upgrading to a newer model. A smart thermostat will get the best performance out of a newer A/C unit.