If you want a way to spend less money and energy in your home, it may be a worthwhile investment to explore getting a smart thermostat. These gadgets can do everything from track when you leave the house, so that it doesn't waste electricity heating or cooling an empty home, to changing energy usage based on how many people are in a room or what time of day it is.
We'll review what a smart thermostat is, how it works and why it's worthwhile to purchase one. We'll also talk about how it can help you spend less money on your energy bills by lowering energy consumption.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a programmable device that allows you to do everything from changing your heating and cooling settings for different times of day, to monitoring when people are in the house, so it isn't needlessly consuming energy by heating or cooling a vacant home.
Most smart thermostats have learning abilities, which means they pay attention to how you change your settings and make automatic adjustments as time passes based on what they learn from you.
A smart thermostat connects to Wi-Fi, so you'll be able to change and keep track of your energy usage from just about anywhere.
How Do Smart Thermostats Work?
A smart thermostat has learning algorithms and can connect with other smart home technology, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, for even better control over your comfort. They work with most systems, including home heating and air conditioning.
Smart thermostat features include a temperature sensor that can detect when the home is vacant, and then automatically change to an energy-efficient setting. Your smart thermostat might be able to geofence with your phone to know when you're at home or out.
A smart thermostat does tasks like adjust more for rooms that are occupied or have more people in them, as well as track what time of day it is so it knows how much heating or air conditioning should be used.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For some people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of traveling or are gone for long hours during the day, it may be worth your money to get one of these devices. You could save a lot, especially if you forget to change it when you leave for the office or go out of town for the weekend.
You won't have to be concerned about whether your smart thermostat is on the appropriate program, or if you remembered to adjust the temperature setting before you left. It doesn't require a lot of effort from you, but you'll see it in reduced energy bills.
Smart Thermostats vs. Programmable Thermostats
Most homeowners have a traditional programmable thermostat, but 40% of them aren’t set properly. This means you might be missing opportunities to save on heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats are convenient because they adjust to your schedule and automate heating and cooling that corresponds. You can set a similar schedule on a programmable thermostat. But it's more work to program your thermostat by hand.
A smart thermostat automatically adjusts and gradually changes the temperature inside your home for the biggest energy savings. If you manually adjust a programmable thermostat, you can overburden your HVAC system and make it work harder to meet your adjustments.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Energy?
Yes, since your smart thermostat will learn from your temperature preferences and day-to-day activities to make a schedule that saves on heating and cooling costs. You don't have to do much as your thermostat does all the work for you while saving money.
You can get identical energy savings with a programmable thermostat, but it's going to require a little bit more work than a smart thermostat. To put together a schedule on programmable models, we suggest following these guidelines from ENERGY STAR® to save energy.
Recommended Temperature Settings for Your Heating System
- Wake: Below 70 degrees.
- Day: Set back at least 8 degrees, if no one is home.
- Evening: Higher than 70 degrees.
- Sleep: Set back at least 8 degrees.
Recommended Temperature Settings for Your Cooling System
- Wake: Greater than 78 degrees.
- Day: Set up at least 7 degrees, if no one is home.
- Evening: Lower than 78 degrees.
- Sleep: Set up at least 4 degrees.
To sum up, you don't have to get a smart thermostat to save on your energy bill. All you need is a programmable thermostat, but it's important to know that any savings may come at the cost of your comfort and convenience.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Money?
Nest, one of the most prominent smart thermostat manufacturers, says its smart thermostat saves U.S. homeowners about:
- 10-12% on your heating bill
- 15% on your cooling bill
- $131 to $145 on your energy bill annually
Your smart thermostat will provide you with a monthly heating and cooling report, which usually compares you to other residences in the area.
Your possible savings vary based on your home, where you live, how much insulation you have and your preferred temperature settings. You might experience average savings, significant savings or somewhere in the middle.
If you're finding you're only getting minimal savings on energy costs, you might be optimizing for energy efficiency currently. This includes switching off your HVAC system when you're not at home or turning your thermostat up/down when you're sleeping.
Smart thermostats make the process easy through their hands-off process that slowly shifts the temperature. If you're at home often, it might not save you money on energy costs as is the point in an automatic, energy-efficient schedule.
How to Get a Smart Thermostat Rebate
Many utility companies offer rebates to homeowners who install energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment such as a smart thermostat. The rebate total varies by company, but in many instances, it will take care of most or all the cost. To learn more, check your utility company's website for rebate info.
Trust the Experts for Your Smart Thermostat Needs
Getting a smart thermostat is an investment, but it can help you spend less money in the long run. If you’ve been thinking about installing one and want to know if they work as promised, we offer free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 587-315-5271 to request yours today!