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 track when you leave the house, so that it doesn't waste electricity heating or cooling an empty home, to changing 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 runs and why it's worthwhile to invest in one. We'll also discuss how it can help you save money on your energy bills by decreasing energy consumption.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a programmable 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 a vacant home.
Many smart thermostats have learning capabilities, which means they pay attention to how you adjust 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 anywhere.
How Do Smart Thermostats Work?
A smart thermostat has learning algorithms and can hook up 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, such as home heating and air conditioning.
Smart thermostat features consist of 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 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 going.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
For some people, the answer is yes. If you do a lot of traveling or are gone 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 change 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 appropriate 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 reduced 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 opportunities to save on heating and cooling expenses.
Smart thermostats are handy because they adjust to your schedule and automate heating and cooling to match. You can set a similar schedule on a programmable thermostat. But it's more work to program your thermostat manually.
A smart thermostat conveniently 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 adjustments.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Energy?
Yes, because your smart thermostat will learn about 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 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 set up a schedule on programmable models, we advise following these guidelines from ENERGY STAR® to save energy.
Recommended Temperature Settings for Your Heating System
- Wake: Under 70 degrees.
- Day: Set back at least 8 degrees, if no one is home.
- 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 there.
- Evening: Lower 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 essential to note that any savings may come at the expense of your comfort and convenience.
Do Smart Thermostats Save Money?
Nest, one of the most prominent 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 annually
Your smart thermostat will give you a monthly heating and cooling report, which usually compares you to other residences in the area.
Your potential savings differ based on your home, where you live, how much insulation you have and your desired temperature settings. You might see average savings, significant savings or somewhere in the middle.
If you're noticing you're only getting minimal savings on energy costs, you might be optimizing for energy efficiency already. 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 the process simple through their hands-off process that gradually shifts the temperature. If you're at home often, it might not save you money on energy costs as is the point in an automated, energy-efficient schedule.
How to Get a Smart Thermostat Rebate
Most utility companies give rebates to homeowners who install energy-saving, ENERGY STAR-certified equipment such as a smart thermostat. The rebate amount varies by company, but in most instances, it will cover most or all the expense. To learn more, check your utility company's website for rebate info.
Depend On 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 getting one and want to know if they work as promised, we offer free home comfort assessments. Call our Experts at 315-313-6531 to schedule yours today!