Do you have a smart thermostat?
Wait, a what?
If you have never heard of a smart thermostat, you may be a bit confused right now. What the heck is it. Many people over the most recent years have turned to more smart products to help them automate their daily activities and a smart thermostat is one of those products that people have started to turn to. These thermostats allow homeowners to remotely turn up and down the cooling and heating features within their home.
Smart thermostats look nice and are quite user friendly. They offer a lot more functions than the non-smart options that used to be once the most popular finds in homes. Not only do they look good, but they also offer you convenience, many features, and efficiency. In addition, they can actually help save you on your electric bill.
Below, we will take a mini dive into what smart thermostats are, what they do, and the pros and cons to them.
What Exactly Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a type of thermostat that is controlled via a smart speaker, phone, tablet, or any other internet connected device. These thermostats allow you to set scheduled and also your desired temperatures. One of the nice things about these thermostats is that you can also work them into your home automation systems.
What Do Smart Thermostats Do?
Depending on the exact type and model that you purchase, smart thermostats are able to do many different things, some of which are actually pretty cool. Some thermostats are able to learn what your cooling and heating preferences are and then automatically adjust the temperature in your home to accommodate this.
Other models come with diagnostic features that will actually alert you when it senses an issue with your HVAC system. It can remind you when to change your air filter or have your HVAC system maintained. You can also program the thermostat to monitor your energy consumption.
Some smart thermostats have Alexa built into them, so they can pair right along with your home automation system. You will even find some that have sensors equipped in them to monitor the temperature within the room and then specifically cool or heat that area.
Finally, some smart thermostats have what is called geofencing where it can recognize when you enter your home and then turn on and off the HVAC system to conserve energy.
How Does My Smart Thermostat Work?
A traditional thermostat operates by using temperature to determine when the HVAC unit should turn on or off. It is similar to a light switch, but it monitors temperature and acts based on the temperature. When you set a desired temperature on your thermostat, the thermostat works to read this number and then automatically turn on when the desired temperature is not achieved.
Smart thermostats work in the same sense except they also hook up to your home’s Wi-Fi network. This then allows you to monitor and adjust your thermostat remotely. When you set a temperature in the companion app, the setting is then transmitted to your thermostat via the Wi-Fi signal.
If you have a smart thermostat that uses Alexa, you can simply tell the system what to set itself at. For example, Alexa, set the temperature at 65 degrees.
Will a Smart Thermostat Save Me Money?
Smart thermostats are designed to save you money by lowering your overall energy consumption, which will in turn lower your energy bill month over month. These thermostats work to do that by utilizing your HVAC system only when it is needed. Utilizing the smart features such as geofencing, scheduling, and diagnosing can help you not only recognize problems early on, but can help keep your HVAC system off when you walk out the door for the day. Therefore, your system runs less and does not use as much energy.
Room sensors can also help save you money as they provide accurate readings of the room temperature to ensure the most efficiency from your system.
Can a Smart Thermostat Be Installed in Any Home?
Not necessarily. Smart thermostats can be installed in most homes that have an upgraded HVAC system as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection present. Since there are many different types of HVAC systems, you will want to make sure that yours is compatible with a smart thermostat before you invest in one.
Most smart thermostats also require a C wire, which is not always present in traditional thermostat setups. While this does not mean that you cannot have one if you do not have a C wire, it just means you will need to be aware, as you will have to install an adapter kit.
Smart Thermostat vs. Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat allows you to schedule when your HVAC unit turns on and off along with some other minor program settings. A smart thermostat is a step above this and has additional features that help you achieve the most and best efficient use from your HVAC system.
Are Smart Thermostats Easy to Use?
Yes! They are extremely user friendly, even if you have never used a smart device before. The biggest benefit of a smart thermostat over a programmable one is the ease of use. People tend to forget that they can use their programmable thermostat and thus never use it. In addition, if you forget to use it, you cannot choose to use it while out of the house. Jumping on your phone and clicking a button or two is just how easy it is to use your smart thermostat, which means you are more likely to use it.
Do I Always Have to Adjust My Smart Thermostat?
No. Over time your smart thermostat will start to learn your habits, preferences, and behaviors and then accurately control your HVAC system for you.
What Are the Pros and Cons?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of a smart thermostat.
- Easy to use
- Set the numbers and forget it
- Save money
- Lower your electric bill
- Installation can be difficult
- Numbers may be skewed if your home sees a lot of foot traffic
- Can be more expensive in the beginning
Should I Get a Smart Thermostat?
The decision to upgrade to a smart thermostat is completely up to you. The determining factors will be whether it fits into your budget, whether your HVAC system is equipped for one, and whether you feel that you would like the automation part of it.
There are many pros and benefits to a smart thermostat and they come with many different features that can really improve the comfort within your home and how much energy you actually use. Smart thermostats are becoming extremely popular, so if you are considering one, go check them out and see what they can do for you.