Today’s smart thermostats are not just control panels for your heating and air conditioning. These thermostats are equipped with Wi-Fi, sensors, advanced algorithms and much more. Here’s how those new features benefit you as a homeowner, and why you should consider upgrading to a smart thermostat of your own.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat takes a programmable thermostat to the next level and offers you the most control and customization over your home’s comfort level. Equipped with wi-fi connectivity, advanced sensors, and even “smart learning” capability, a smart thermostat allows you to change your home’s thermostat from your smartphone or laptop. This allows you raise or lower your thermostat to your preferred temperature from anywhere!
What makes these connected thermostats truly “smart” is that many of them offer advanced learning, meaning they learn your behaviors and pick up ambient conditions such as humidity, and auto adjust the programming accordingly. Some models will give you a clear view of how efficient your heating and air conditioning system is by showing you how long it takes for your preferred temperature change to be achieved. You can even see the costs of your heating and cooling, so you can make immediate changes that will save you money on your energy bill.
Pros of Installing a Smart Thermostat
An experienced DIY-er can install most programmable thermostats and some smart thermostats. But do not forget to turn off the breaker to the HVAC equipment! Most thermostats use low voltage wiring (except “line voltage thermostats”) and involve anywhere from 2 – 10 wires, depending on your type of heating and cooling system. If the job requires more than just a replacement, a certified HVAC professional can ensure proper installation, as well as operation of your heating and cooling system. If you are replacing a central air conditioner or heating system, consider a thermostat upgrade at the same time – find a unit that will work with your family’s habits to save you the most.
Smart thermostats are programmed with multiple settings. Regardless of where you are, you can program the thermostat to turn on the air conditioning or heater an hour before you return or adjust the temperature throughout the day. You can control the temperature in individual rooms with the zoning feature, and program to adjust based on conditions like high humidity. Lowering the heat or turning up the air conditioning when you are not at home or work conserves energy, which of course saves you money.
Set It and Forget It
A smart thermostat lets you be energy-conscious without a lot of effort. Set the days, times, and temperatures then forget about it. Once you have the unit programmed for your specific needs, you can leave it to do all the work. Most models will learn your behaviors and auto adjust the programming accordingly.
Instant Access from Anywhere
Like older thermostats, smart thermostats control the temperature in the home, turning the heating or cooling systems on to maintain a set temperature range. But unlike other thermostats, you do not need to be in front of the actual device or even in the house when using it.
Wi-Fi thermostats tie into your home network and can be accessed from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. With just a few swipes, you can remotely switch on your heating or cooling if you are heading home unexpectedly, or shut it down if you are going out of town and forgot to set up a new program before you left.
Fun for Techies
If you have fun with all the technology and enjoy playing with buttons and programs, then a smart thermostat is for you. These units will compile the in-depth data and track how much energy you use in real time daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly for an analysis of your consumption.
Monitor and control the temperature remotely from your cell phone or computer with a connection to the Internet. Most smart thermostats come with an app for your smartphone, iPhone, iPad, Android and computer.
Smart thermostats, when programmed and used properly for the space, lower energy consumption. Saving energy means you cut carbon emissions and leave a smaller carbon footprint. The smart thermostat minimize temperature swings by cutting on or off closer to the desired temperature than manual thermostats.
Informs You of Maintenance Needs
A smart thermostat will alert you when it is time to change the filter in your air conditioner and furnace and will keep you informed on when the last maintenance check was done with the push of a button. You can choose to receive a text, an email, or have the thermostat beep when it is time to perform preventative maintenance or call a qualified technician. No more worries about costly repairs if you forget to change a filter.
Cut Your Energy Bill
Since smart thermostats are built with user experience and convenience in mind, they are absolutely easier to use, which allows homeowners to better keep their home at a comfortable temperature even while fine-tuning furnace and AC activity to reduce utility expenses.
The long-term difference and energy savings are so great that the U.S. Department of Energy actually recommends smart thermostats for all homeowners!
Cons of Installing a Smart Thermostat
Most people would rather not spend an entire weekend reading an owner’s manual. For homeowners that are not especially handy with installing gadgets, it might be best to hire an HVAC professional to do it for you. While the installation is typically fairly easy, as outlined above, many homeowners find the process a little overwhelming.
Too Many Instructions
Smart thermostats will not do a homeowner any good if they cannot figure out how to use them, or if they cannot remember to program them based on the family schedule. If you are going to get a smart thermostat, you might want to spring for the most reputable product on the market and for technician’s help to hook it up.
As you might expect, smart thermostats are pricier than their old-school ancestors—by a factor of 33 when you compare the bottom-of-the-line mechanical version. If you rent or you are planning to move any time soon, it may be difficult to recoup the up-front cost of a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats can usually pay for themselves in about two years with an average savings of about 11% on heating and 15% on cooling costs. But they also cost about four times more than an average thermostat does. How much you save will be largely dependent on how often you are in the home, what your ideal temperature is and what type of climate you happen to live in.
Smart thermostats can help protect your home from high utility bills, but there are plenty of other types of protection available to you. If your system needs repair or you are considering an upgrade for your old system, call Aire-Tech on 951-926-1002. You can also visit our Contact page and complete the contact form.