Smart Thermostat Buyers Guide
Lear how a SMART thermostats can cut $180 a year from your energy bills
The typical homeowner can spend thousands of dollars each year on energy bills with up to half being wasted on cooling an empty space. In other words, you are probably spending too much money on cooling your home while wasting energy in the process. If your energy bills are high, a programmable thermostat is a great way to cut costs.
So what is a SMART Thermostat? It has the ability to connect to the internet so you can access various features remotely via Wi-Fi. Most SMART thermostats are easy to set and use. Programmable thermostats all have one thing in common: They let you schedule when to cool your home. This feature allows you to reduce utility bills and extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling equipment. Before choosing a thermostat, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with your air conditioning system.
Types of SMART Thermostats
Learning thermostats offer the benefit of being programmable but don’t require you to actually program them. They learn as you use them and create a schedule based on your preferences. They can turn themselves down when you’re away, guide you to energy-efficient settings and provide monthly energy reports. These thermostats connect to your home Wi-Fi network and can be monitored, set and managed remotely over Wi-Fi from a computer, smartphone or tablet.
Remote Energy Management
A remote energy management thermostat allows you to set, program and monitor your heating and cooling system from a computer, smartphone or tablet. The thermostat connects through a hub (sold separately) to your home broadband network, allowing you to access it over Wi-Fi from anywhere.
A programmable thermostat makes the most efficient use of your system by automatically adjusting the set temperature throughout the day. You let the thermostat know your preferred temperature at different times of the day and night, then forget about it – the thermostat does the work.
A non-programmable thermostat with a digital read-out is the best choice for people who prefer manually-controlled settings with the convenience of an easy-to-read LCD display.
Mechanical / Manual
With a mechanical or manual thermostat, you control the temperature setting manually. These are best for people who are home often and prefer a fixed temperature.
Thermostats that don’t use wireless technology cannot be controlled unless you’re in the same location as the unit itself. With a Wi-Fi thermostat you simply log into the app associated with the model you have and you can change all manner of things.
Of course, you will need to make sure you have access to the internet.
OK, so we all know that having a programmable thermostat can help you save energy. However, a wireless model goes one step further. Imagine if you have to work late and you won’t be home at the usual time? If you have a wireless thermostat, it’s simple to just use the app and log into the device and set the program to “away” for a bit longer.
The same can be said for other situations. Say you and the family have been rushing around getting ready to go on your annual road trip. You get an hour into your journey and realize the thermostat wasn’t changed to the “vacation” program. Easy! You can use any number of mobile devices to log into the thermostat and change the program to suit your needs.
Both of these situations (and more) can help make sure your energy bills are kept to a manageable level and it makes for a “greener” you as well.
This is another very useful extra you get with a wireless thermostat. Various models allow you to set warnings so that if the temperature in your home or workplace gets too high or too low, you will receive an alert via email or text.
Not only does this help with saving energy, it could also help extend the life of your HVAC system overall. If you’re not going to be in the same building as your thermostat for a while and there is a particularly cold snap in the weather, having the system alert you could stop pipes from freezing or other problems occurring as a result of extreme temperatures. Some models will even let you know if your system isn’t working as well as it should be.
Ease of Use
When you first start to use the device, the days of having to stand at the panel trying to work out which program will suit you best will be a thing of the past. Even if you are in the same building, you can choose a comfortable spot to sit and program the thermostat from your mobile device.
Easy to read reports are available with many models, although it does depend on how feature rich your thermostat is. You can sit at your desktop, use an iPad, iPhone or tablet to find out things like how much energy you’ve been using, how the local weather has affected the indoor climate, learn how to better use your thermostat to save energy (AND stay comfortable) along with a plethora of other options.
SMART Thermostat Review
- This Lennox iComfort is not the most compatible product of the thermostats and is most effective when used with premium Lennox equipment only, like the XC-25. However, if you have another brand of air conditioning unit, add-on equipment can be used to make it work. You can’t install this wireless thermostat yourself.
- The Venstar has a unique text message option available so you can send messages remotely to other people at home.
- The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart has a variety of colors to choose from on the screen which can help it blend into any space.
- The Nest Learning Thermostat is one of the best on the market. It’s versatile, offers great energy saving and is thoughtfully designed from both an aesthetic and technological point of view.
- The Honeywell 7 Day Programmable Thermostat is one of the more basic wireless models available, and if you want the flexibility of being able to access your device remotely but prefer not to have the “bells and whistles”.
- The Ecobee STAT-02 Thermostat has a lot going for it in terms of energy saving, and it’s rich in features. However, the interface isn’t the most user-friendly to operate.
The investment to purchase a smart thermostat will be higher than traditional thermostats at first. However, when you think about the savings, up to 20% on your energy bills, it won’t be long before it’s paid for itself. Additionally, a smart thermostat has a good number of extras that can help you become more efficient with energy, keep the climate comfortable, and provide you with more freedom to adjust various settings when you’re not there.
What do you think of SMART thermostat technology?
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