If you're looking for a way to spend less money and energy in your home, it might be a wise investment to explore getting a smart thermostat. These devices 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 adjusting energy usage according to how many people are in a room or what time of day it is.
We'll cover 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 save 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 changing your heating and cooling settings for various times of day, to tracking when people are in the house, so it isn't wasting energy by heating or cooling an empty home.
Many smart thermostats have learning capabilities, 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 connect with other smart home technology, such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit, for improved control over your comfort. They're compatible with most systems, including 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 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 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 many people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of travel 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 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 left. It doesn't require a lot of effort on your part, but you'll notice 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 opportunities to save on heating and cooling expenses.
Smart thermostats are convenient because they learn your schedule and automate heating and cooling to match. You can set a comparable schedule on a programmable thermostat. But it's more effort to program your thermostat by hand.
A smart thermostat conveniently adjusts and gradually changes the temperature inside your home for the biggest energy savings. If you manually adjust 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 about 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 saving money.
You can acquire the same 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 advise following these guidelines from ENERGY STAR® to save energy.
Suggested Temperature Settings for Your Heating System
- Wake: Under 70 degrees.
- Day: Set back at least 8 degrees, if no one is home.
- Evening: Higher 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.
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 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, 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 the area.
Your possible savings differ 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 the middle.
If you're noticing you're only seeing small savings on energy costs, you might be optimizing for energy efficiency already. 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 the process easy through their hands-off process that slowly shifts the temperature. If you're at home a lot, 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 total varies by company, but in many instances, it will take care of most or all the cost. To learn more, visit your utility company's website for rebate information.
Depend On 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 getting one and want to know if they work as promised, we provide free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 512-592-3072 to request yours now!