If you want a way to save money and energy in your home, it might be a worthwhile investment to explore getting a smart thermostat. These devices 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 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 talk about how it can help you spend less money on your energy bills by reducing energy consumption.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a programmable device that allows you to do it all from adjusting your heating and cooling settings for different times of day, to tracking when people are in the house, so it isn't wasting energy by heating or cooling an empty home.
Most smart thermostats have learning abilities, which means they pay attention to how you change your settings and make automatic adjustments as time passes 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, like 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 consist of 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 away.
A smart thermostat does things like adjust more for rooms that are occupied 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 used.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For many people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of travel or are gone for long hours during the day, it may be worth your money to invest in one of these devices. You could save a significant amount, especially if you forget to change 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 adjust the temperature setting before you left. It doesn't require a lot of effort from you, 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 might be missing chances to save on heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats are handy 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 effort to program your thermostat manually.
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 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 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 get the same 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 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.
Suggested Temperature Settings for Your Cooling System
- Wake: Higher than 78 degrees.
- Day: Set up at least 7 degrees, if no one is there.
- 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 important to note 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. 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 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 preferred temperature settings. You might see average savings, significant savings or somewhere in the middle.
If you're noticing you're only getting small 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 asleep.
Smart thermostats make this 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
Most utility companies give rebates to homeowners who purchase energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment like a smart thermostat. The rebate total varies by company, but in most instances, it will cover 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 save you money in the long run. If you’ve been thinking about installing one and want to know if they work as promised, we offer free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 908-448-2154 to request yours today!