Smart products are becoming increasingly popular. Many household items, such as lights, televisions, refrigerators, and more, are promoting features that help make your everyday life more convenient, secure, or help save you money. It’s easy to see how a smart thermostat would be convenient, but can it actually save you money? Here’s a look at how you could potentially cut energy costs using a smart thermostat this winter.
What’s a Smart Thermostat?
Smart thermostats are more than just programmable versions of standard thermostats. Programmable thermostats are available in smart and non-smart versions, but smart ones typically connect to the internet, which allows you to have control over the settings from smartphone apps or some other web interface. Some thermostats are even able to help you determine the most energy-efficient daily schedule and connect to other smart devices, like your Google Home or Amazon Alexa, so you can control the temperature in your home with just the use of your voice.
How Do Smart Thermostats Save You Money?
With most smart thermostats, you can customize the settings to cater to your desired temperature and normal daily schedule. For example, you can have your system begin to heat your home when you leave work, leading to it being the right temperature when you get home. Instead of using energy to keep your home cool or hot when you’re away, you can save energy (and money!) by changing temperatures only when necessary. You can make adjustments to your schedule as often as you wish.
In addition to helping you heat your home around your schedule, smart thermostats can also learn your behaviors and help you set new schedules that could be more energy efficient. They use third-party integrations or geofencing to determine when you’re at home or away, which can help automate your heating/cooling so you don’t have to worry about setting temperatures before you go somewhere. They will also become wise to your preferences the more you use them. For example, the Nest thermostat will log each interaction you have with it in an effort to learn what you like. After some time, it will have a better understanding of your daily activities and provide you with suggestions to optimize your schedule and save you even more on energy costs.
Smart thermostats can also learn exactly how long it takes to heat up the spaces within your home based on the temperature outside. They will log data specific to your home and eventually determine the amount of time it needs in order to heat up a room to your preferred temperature. This allows you to maximize the amount of time the thermostat spends in a more energy-efficient mode while you’re asleep or away for an extended period of time. Some of the learning units can even use this data with your daily activities to generate an energy-efficient schedule customized to your needs.
How Much Can Smart Thermostats Help You Save?
It can be difficult to predict exactly how much money a smart thermostat can help you save. Your total savings will depend on a number of different factors, like your heating system, the size of your home, your behavior in your home, and what kind of climate you live in.
On average, around 40 to 60 percent of your total energy bill goes to heating your home. According to a study performed by Nest, a leading smart home company, smart thermostats can lower energy bills by around 12 percent. Ecobee, another top smart home company, estimates that savings could be as much as 23 percent.
It’s important to remember that smart thermostats can only save you money within the specific boundaries you set. Every degree you lower your thermostat by will help save you more money, but the total savings will depend on your behaviors and your home. Here are a few cases where smart thermostats are the most cost-effective.
In Homes with Multiple Thermostats
Smart thermostats can be incredibly beneficial in homes that have different heating zones for each area. In these cases, your energy savings can be higher because you have more control over exactly which rooms you’re heating. For example, if you have a guest bedroom that no one is currently using, you can reduce the temperature in that room until you have guests stay over.
Smart thermostats work very well in cabins and vacation homes that are only occupied for a portion of the year. You can make sure the heat is off or turned down while you’re not occupying the home. You can also use them to warm up your vacation home before you arrive and control the temperature from your main home if necessary.
What Should You Look For in a Smart Thermostat?
If you’re considering getting a smart thermostat to save money during the winter months, there are a few key things you should look for.
1. Compatibility with Existing Smart Home Devices
If you have an Amazon Echo or a Google Nest, it’s wise to purchase a smart thermostat that can connect to these devices. This will add a few extra benefits and make using your thermostat even more convenient.
2. ENERGY STAR Certification
Before purchasing a smart thermostat, check to see if it is ENERGY STAR-certified. Most top brands, like Google and Honeywell, are certified, but it’s best to double-check. Devices with this certification will help provide the best savings on your heating costs.
3. Good Value
Smart thermostats typically cost anywhere from $250 to $300. If you’re paying more than that, you’re probably paying for trivial features that don’t have much to do with the device’s ability to provide you with convenience and energy savings.
Are Smart Thermostats The Best Way to Save on Energy Costs?
Although smart thermostats are more expensive than traditional ones, they can provide significant savings on your heating bill in the winter if they are used properly. Homes utilizing their smart thermostats effectively will stand to see the best results when it comes to saving money on energy costs; however, smart thermostats can only do so much. If you have poor insulation or an HVAC system that is not operating efficiently, your smart thermostat can’t work a miracle.
If saving money is your only concern, you could opt to achieve this in other ways. Insulating your home more thoroughly and repairing or replacing an ineffective HVAC system could help save you money. But if you’re looking for convenience, a smart thermostat can help make your life a lot easier.
If you’re ready to invest in a smart thermostat, contact the professionals at Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning with locations in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Although smart thermostats can be relatively easy to install, consulting with a professional is the safest option. They understand how to work with the electrical components and technology that comes with these thermostats. The team at Apollo Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning can help with thermostat installation and repair, plumbing, drain cleaning and repair, sewer pipe maintenance, heating and cooling installation, and so much more.