If you're looking for a way to save money and energy in your home, it might be a wise investment to explore 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 changing 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 runs 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 decreasing 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 different 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.
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 monitor your energy usage from just about anyplace.
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 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 empty, and then automatically adjust 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 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 some 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 invest in 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 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 might be missing chances to save on heating and cooling costs.
Smart thermostats are convenient because they adjust to 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 automatically adjusts and progressively 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 adjustments.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Energy?
Yes, because your smart thermostat will learn about your temperature preferences and routine 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 the same energy savings with a programmable thermostat, but it's going to require a little bit more effort than a smart thermostat. To put together 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 there.
- Evening: Greater 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 there.
- Evening: Lower than 78 degrees.
- Sleep: Increase at least 4 degrees.
As you can see, 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, states 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 each year
Your smart thermostat will provide you with a monthly heating and cooling report, which often compares you to other residences in your community.
Your possible savings vary based on your home, where you live, how much insulation you have and your preferred temperature settings. You might experience 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 switching 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 gradually shifts the temperature. If you're at home often, it might not save you much on energy costs as is the point in an automated, energy-efficient schedule.
How to Get a Smart Thermostat Rebate
Many 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 take care of most or all the expense. To find out more, check 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 save you 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 502-785-8230 to request yours now!