If you're looking for a way to save money and energy in your home, it might be a wise investment to research getting a smart thermostat. These gadgets can do everything from track when you leave the house, so that it doesn't throw away electricity heating or cooling an empty home, to changing energy usage based on 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 worthwhile to invest in 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 tracking when people are in the house, so it isn't needlessly consuming energy by heating or cooling an empty home.
Many 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 even better control over your comfort. They're compatible with most systems, such as home heating and air conditioning.
Smart thermostat features consist of a temperature sensor that can detect when the home is vacant, and then automatically adjust to an energy-efficient setting. Your smart thermostat may be able to geofence with your phone to know when you're at home or away.
A smart thermostat does tasks like adjust more for rooms that are full or have more people in them, as well as track what time of day it is so it knows how much heating or air conditioning should be going.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For some people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of travel or are out for many hours during the day, it may be worth your money to invest in one of these devices. You could save a lot, especially if you forget to change 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 appropriate program, or if you remembered to adjust the temperature setting before you went out. It doesn't require much effort on your part, but you'll see it in reduced energy bills.
Smart Thermostats vs. Programmable Thermostats
Many homeowners have a standard programmable thermostat, but 40% of them aren’t set correctly. This means you might be missing opportunities to save on heating and cooling expenses.
Smart thermostats are handy 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 manually.
A smart thermostat automatically adjusts and gradually changes the temperature inside your home for the biggest energy savings. If you manually adjust 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 acquire identical energy savings with a programmable thermostat, but it's going to require a little bit more work than a smart thermostat. To set up a schedule on programmable models, we advise following these recommendations 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: Greater than 70 degrees.
- Sleep: Set back at least 8 degrees.
Recommended Temperature Settings for Your Cooling System
- Wake: Greater than 78 degrees.
- Day: Set up at least 7 degrees, if no one is home.
- Evening: Cooler than 78 degrees.
- Sleep: Set up at least 4 degrees.
As you can see, you don't have to get a smart thermostat to decrease your energy bill. All you need is a programmable thermostat, but it's essential to know that any savings may come at the cost of your comfort and convenience.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Money?
Nest, one of the most popular smart thermostat manufacturers, states 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 annually
Your smart thermostat will give you a monthly heating and cooling report, which often compares you to other residences in the area.
Your potential savings vary based on your house, where you live, how much insulation you have and your desired temperature settings. You might see 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 moving your thermostat up/down when you're sleeping.
Smart thermostats make this easy 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
Most utility companies offer rebates to homeowners who purchase energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment like a smart thermostat. The rebate amount varies by company, but in many instances, it will take care of most or all the cost. To find out more, check your utility company's website for rebate information.
Trust the Experts for Your Smart Thermostat Needs
Installing a smart thermostat is an investment, but it can save you money in the long run. If you’ve been considering getting one and want to know if they run as promised, we provide free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 518-417-2938 to schedule yours now!