If you want a way to spend less money and energy in your home, it might be a wise investment to research getting a smart thermostat. These gadgets can do everything from monitor when you leave the house, so that it doesn't waste electricity heating or cooling a vacant home, to adjusting energy usage according to 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 worth it to purchase one. We'll also discuss 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 an automated device that allows you to do everything from adjusting your heating and cooling settings for various times of day, to monitoring when people are in the house, so it isn't needlessly consuming energy by heating or cooling an empty home.
Most smart thermostats have learning abilities, which means they pay attention to how you adjust 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 improved control over your comfort. They work with most systems, including home heating and air conditioning.
Smart thermostat features include a temperature sensor that can tell when the home is empty, 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 adapt more for rooms that are full or have more people in them, as well as monitor what time of day it is so it knows how much heating or air conditioning should be going.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For many people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of traveling or are gone for many hours during the day, it may be worth your money to get one of these thermostats. You could save a lot, especially if you forget to adjust 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 right program, or if you remembered to change the temperature setting before you left. It doesn't require much effort on your part, but you'll see it in lower energy bills.
Smart Thermostats vs. Programmable Thermostats
Many homeowners have a traditional programmable thermostat, but 40% of them aren’t set properly. This means you could 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 conveniently adjusts and progressively changes the temperature inside your home for the greatest energy savings. If you manually change a programmable thermostat, you can overload your HVAC system and make it work harder to meet your changes.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Energy?
Yes, because 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 take a little bit more effort than a smart thermostat. To put together a schedule on programmable models, we advise 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 there.
- Evening: Higher than 70 degrees.
- Sleep: Decrease at least 8 degrees.
Suggested Temperature Settings for Your Cooling System
- Wake: Higher than 78 degrees.
- Day: Set up at least 7 degrees, if no one is home.
- Evening: Cooler than 78 degrees.
- Sleep: Increase 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 expense 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. households about:
- 10-12% on your heating bill
- 15% on your cooling bill
- $131 to $145 on your energy bill each year
Your smart thermostat will give you a monthly heating and cooling report, which usually compares you to other residences in the area.
Your possible savings vary based on your house, where you live, how much insulation you have and your desired temperature settings. You might experience average savings, significant savings or somewhere in the middle.
If you're noticing you're only seeing 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 asleep.
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 give rebates to homeowners who install energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment such as a smart thermostat. The rebate amount varies by company, but in many instances, it will cover most or all the cost. To learn more, visit your utility company's website for rebate info.
Trust the Experts for Your Smart Thermostat Needs
Installing 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 run as promised, we provide free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 405-432-2197 to schedule yours today!