3 Questions to Ask When Buying a Smart Thermostat
The type of thermostat, how many to buy, and automation options are key elements to consider
As summer comes to an end and we begin to spend more time indoors, many of us are looking to find ways to make our homes more comfortable. One way to accomplish this is through automation and can be as simple and inexpensive as changing the thermostat.
If you consider your thermostat to be something that gets turned up when you’re cold and down when you’re warm, you may wonder why you need a smart thermostat in your home. The answer, it seems, may just come down to dollars and cents. According to Energy Star, a programmable thermostat can save about $180 each year in energy costs. That’s an amount that adds up, even when considering the cost of a smart model.
The following are three important questions to ask to help determine whether a smart thermostat is right for you:
What is it, and why do I need it?
OK, those are technically two questions, but they’re closely related. First, it’s vital to understand how a smart thermostat differs from other types of thermostats. Manual thermostats are set by hand and are manually adjusted each time you want the temperature to change. The programmable variety can be set and automatically adjusts itself based on a predetermined schedule. On the other hand, a smart unit actually learns from your behavior and self-adjusts based on the conditions of your home, which maximizes savings and comfort.
In addition to the savings, the main benefit of a smart system is that it’s remotely controlled, providing an extra level of control when you’re away from home. For example, you can remotely raise your thermostat when coming home from a winter vacation so that your home is comfortable by the time you arrive. Smart thermostats also provide usage data, which helps manage your consumption for optimum savings.
Do I need more than one?
This is a common question, and the short answer is “maybe.” Generally, one thermostat will do the job if it’s placed in an appropriate location, such as an interior wall or in a room that gets a lot of use and is away from direct sunlight. However, more than one thermostat may be required if you have a zoned heating and cooling system or an extremely large house with more than one furnace. Simply put; if you have more than one thermostat today, it is advisable to replace all of the thermostats with Smart Thermostats.
The more appropriate consideration is whether a smart unit would be appropriate for a second home or the home of an elderly relative. Because a smart thermostat can be viewed and controlled remotely by a registered user, it can be helpful to monitor the status of family members or vacation properties that are primarily empty.
What are the benefits of linking to home automation products?
The purpose of home automation is to enable your home to work with you, providing intuitive control over your environment so you can do less maintenance and more living. One benefit of a smart thermostat is to link it up to a smart home security system. By combining systems, you achieve a powerhouse of home control and only need to access it through one app or control center.
The thermostats in our house are connected with my Alarm.com security alarm system so that when I leave the house the doors are locek and the thermostat is automatically raised or lowered to help me conserve energy and save money.
When I get close to our house, the Geo Fencing senses that I am close and readjust the thermostat either up or down to the setting that it has learned that I prefer. All of this is accomplished automatically with no effort or intervention on my part.
Next week we will discuss how the Smart Thermostats also interactive with the Smart Locks in my home.