The Many Benefits of a Smart Thermostat

When it comes to enjoying perfectly conditioned air in your home while using a minimal amount of energy, switching to a programmable thermostat has long been the way to go. Also known as smart thermostats, these devices have evolved considerably over the past decade and are now easier to use and more affordable than ever. If you don’t already use a smart thermostat, it’s time to consider the many benefits that go along with using one. As you will see, there’s far more to these devices than meets the eye.

Although programmable thermostats have been available for some time, the vast majority of U.S. households don’t take advantage of them. Indeed, it is estimated that only 10 percent of households use the programmable thermostats that they already possess. In terms of the latest smart thermostat technologies, only one in eight U.S. homes—approximately 12 percent of the roughly 118 million households in the country—owns and actively uses a next-generation smart thermostat like a Nest or an Ecobee.

12 Incredible Benefits of Smart Thermostats

After considering the following advantages of using a smart thermostat, you are certain to see why they are must-haves for modern homes:

  1. Savings – The primary thing that attracts homeowners to the latest smart thermostats is the ability to save money. As energy costs continue to rise, using a programmable thermostat is among the best ways to use less energy and save more money. It is estimated that the Nest thermostat, for example, can save anywhere from 10 to 12 percent on heating and up to 15 percent on cooling. Ecobee, meanwhile, estimates that the average household can save an average of 23 percent on heating and cooling costs by switching to a smart thermostat.
  2. Remote access – Today’s best programmable thermostats connect to a home’s Wi-Fi system. This allows for remote access to many of the device’s controls via smartphone, tablet and other enabled devices. Sensors in the home can also detect when people are around and active in the home and when they aren’t, which can help to achieve more effective and efficient programming schedules.
  3. Learning – Modern thermostats like those by Nest utilize the aforementioned sensors to learn a household’s routines. This built-in learning capability lets the system detect when the household is typically active and when people tend to be gone. Over time, this results in more effective automated programming, so you hardly have to do a thing to maintain optimal heating and cooling efficiency.
  4. Smart home functionality – As the Internet of Things, or IoT, becomes more and more of a reality, smart home technology is poised to reach its heyday. Smart thermostats are increasingly capable of connecting with other smart devices in the home, including dehumidifiers and air purifiers, to achieve optimal indoor comfort, efficiency and air quality. As more devices become connected to one another, a home’s most important systems can become largely automated, share information and create the most pleasant indoor environment possible.
  5. Usage tracking and energy profiles – Although smart thermostats can do a lot on their own to keep energy usage and costs in check, they also provide real-time information that homeowners can use to optimize things even more. These devices provide reports about how your energy use has changed over time and even provide estimates for future costs. By inputting information about your home into the device’s energy profile feature, including things like its size, location and style of heating and cooling, the thermostat’s programming can become even more efficient and effective. These devices also usually provide helpful tips, including ideas for weatherproofing, that let you fine-tune things even more.
  6. Voice commands – Smart speakers and assistants like Google Home, Siri and Amazon’s Echo and Dot systems are all the rage. Not surprisingly, most smart thermostats are compatible with these technologies, so you can use these speakers and assistants to adjust the temperature in your home without lifting a finger. If you own an Amazon device, for example, you could say, “Alexa, turn the temperature down to 68 degrees,” and it will do so automatically.
  7. Display – If you’ve ever used an old analog thermostat or even an older programmable one, you know how difficult it can be. Unlike these older devices, however, smart thermostats have bright, colorful touchscreen displays that make it a snap to adjust settings. Interfaces are clean and simple, and many light up automatically when they detect motion or dim automatically when it ceases. In some cases, you can even customize the display with a unique face that matches your home’s décor.
  8. App-based scheduling – Unlike in the analog days, you can fine-tune your smart thermostat’s programming via apps that are available for most popular mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Within the app, it is much easier to make sense of your home’s current energy profile and to adjust its programming to be as efficient and effective as possible.
  9. Room sensors – One of the biggest drawbacks of traditional home thermostats is that they only sense the air in the immediate vicinity of the device. Most homes, however, have “hot spots” and “cool spots,” and they can negatively impact a heating and cooling system’s ability to remain efficient and effective. Many of today’s smart thermostats can be upgraded to include sensors for individual rooms or areas of a home. Using this information, the device can adjust its output accordingly to optimize overall comfort and energy use.
  10. Geofencing – While away for the day, you might schedule your smart thermostat to stay warmer or cooler–depending on the season–to save energy. However, after getting home, you used to have to wait for the system to kick on and get the house comfortable again. With smart thermostats, you can schedule the system to kick back on at a specific time. Better still, many of these devices allow you to establish “geofences” on app-based maps. When the device detects that you have crossed the boundary that you’ve established in either direction, it can kick back on or turn back down.
  11. Alerts – With most smart thermostats, you can utilize a vacation mode function to use minimal energy while you are away. However, what if something unexpected happens when you’re not there—for instance, maybe a major cold front is due to hit? These devices can issue alerts to warn you remotely when adjustments are necessary. This can provide a great deal of peace of mind regardless of where you go.
  12. Weather forecasts – The best smart thermostats on the market today can also receive real-time weather information. This information can then be used to help the system to adjust for changing conditions without your direct input. For example, if the device detects that the temperature is going to spike rapidly, it can automatically kick up the level of cooling to keep things in a nice balance.

At first glance, you might think that smart thermostats are a bit pricey. However, when you take into account the many benefits that they bring to the table, you’re sure to see them as worthwhile investments that will save you money and energy while keeping you and your family as comfortable as possible from one season to the next. In the Gladstone, OR, area, Watts Heating and Cooling is here to help you with all of your smart thermostat and heating and cooling needs.