If you want a way to spend less 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 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 works and why it's worth it to purchase one. We'll also talk about 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 adjusting your heating and cooling settings for various 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.
Most 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 anyplace.
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 include a temperature sensor that can detect when the home is empty, 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 things 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 used.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For many people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of travel or are gone for many 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 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 right program, or if you remembered to change the temperature setting before you went out. It doesn't require much effort from you, but you'll notice it in lower energy bills.
Smart Thermostats vs. Programmable Thermostats
Most homeowners have a standard programmable thermostat, but 40% of them aren’t set properly. 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 that corresponds. You can set a similar 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 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 saving money.
You can acquire identical energy savings with a programmable thermostat, but it's going to take a little bit more work 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: Below 70 degrees.
- Day: Set back at least 8 degrees, if no one is there.
- Evening: Higher than 70 degrees.
- Sleep: Set back at least 8 degrees.
Suggested 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 buy a smart thermostat to save on 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. 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 usually 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 experience average savings, significant savings or somewhere in between.
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 turning 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 money 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 most instances, it will cover 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
Getting a smart thermostat is an investment, but it can save you money in the long run. If you’ve been considering installing one and want to know if they work as promised, we provide free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 484-401-7577 to request yours today!