If you want 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 track when you leave the house, so that it doesn't waste 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 review what a smart thermostat is, how it works and why it's worthwhile to purchase one. We'll also talk about how it can help you save money on your energy bills by reducing 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.
Most smart thermostats have learning capabilities, 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 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're compatible with most systems, including home heating and air conditioning.
Smart thermostat features include a temperature sensor that can tell when the home is empty, 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 out.
A smart thermostat does tasks 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 traveling 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 adjust it when you leave for the office or go out of town for the weekend.
You won't have to worry 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 a lot of effort on your part, but you'll see it in reduced 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 opportunities to save on heating and cooling expenses.
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 work to program your thermostat manually.
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 overload your HVAC system and make it work harder to meet your adjustments.
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 acquire the same 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 home.
- 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: Cooler than 78 degrees.
- Sleep: Increase 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 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, 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 provide you with a monthly heating and cooling report, which often compares you to other residences in your community.
Your possible savings differ based on your home, 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 finding 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 turning 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 a lot, 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 install energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment like a smart thermostat. The rebate total varies by company, but in many instances, it will cover most or all the expense. To learn more, visit 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 end. If you’ve been considering installing one and want to know if they run as promised, we provide free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 512-596-1257 to schedule yours today!