If you want a way to spend less money and energy in your home, it may be a wise investment to explore getting a smart thermostat. These devices can do everything from monitor when you leave the house, so that it doesn't throw away electricity heating or cooling an empty home, to changing 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 invest in one. We'll also discuss how it can help you save 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 it all from changing your heating and cooling settings for different times of day, to monitoring when people are in the house, so it isn't wasting energy by heating or cooling a vacant home.
Many smart thermostats have learning abilities, which means they pay attention to how you change your settings and make automatic adjustments over time based on what they learn from you.
A smart thermostat links to Wi-Fi, so you'll be able to adjust and keep track of your energy usage from just about anywhere.
How Do Smart Thermostats Work?
A smart thermostat has learning algorithms and can hook up with other smart home technology, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, for even better control over your comfort. They're compatible with most systems, such as 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 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 used.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For some people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of traveling or are out 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 adjust it when you leave for work 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 change the temperature setting before you went out. 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 correctly. This means you could be missing chances to save on heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats are convenient because they learn your schedule and automate heating and cooling to match. 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 progressively changes the temperature inside your home for the greatest energy savings. If you manually change a programmable thermostat, you can overburden 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 routine to make a schedule that reduces heating and cooling costs. You don't have to do much as your thermostat does all the work for you while conserving money.
You can acquire identical energy savings with a programmable thermostat, but it's going to require a little bit more effort than a smart thermostat. To set up 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: Decrease at least 8 degrees.
Recommended 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 buy a smart thermostat to decrease 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 popular 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 often compares you to other residences in your community.
Your potential 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 between.
If you're noticing you're only getting minimal savings on energy costs, you might be optimizing for energy efficiency currently. This includes turning off your HVAC system when you're not at home or turning your thermostat up/down when you're asleep.
Smart thermostats make this simple through their hands-off process that slowly shifts the temperature. If you're at home often, it might not save you much 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 purchase energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment such as a smart thermostat. The rebate amount varies by company, but in many instances, it will take care of most or all the expense. To find out more, check your utility company's website for rebate information.
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 end. If you’ve been considering installing one and want to know if they run as promised, we offer free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at (713) 352-7887 to request yours today!