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How Does A Smart Thermostat Work?
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are capable of adjusting heating or air conditioning in your home automatically and through a mobile app.
Utilizing smart thermostats can help homeowners cut back on expensive electric bills by helping to better optimize the regulation of your home’s temperature.
While smart thermostats can be a great addition to some homes and increase energy efficiency, other homes may not see the same results. However, in most situations, smart thermostats can save you money and are an excellent addition to any home.
How Can A Smart Thermostat Save You Money?
Smart programmable thermostats can be a fantastic way of cutting back on your heating and cooling costs. Almost fifty percent of the energy bill is devoted to heating and cooling in many homes. As such, it can be a great option to save energy and reduce your bill.
They can make a world of difference in some homes, helping to optimize energy use and, in turn, provide you a few extra dollars in energy savings. Some homes can save up to fifteen percent on their energy bill by using smart thermostats.
How? Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that smart thermostats change your energy bill for the better.
Learn The Behaviors Of The Homeowner
As you come and go, leave for work to grab groceries, pick up the kids, or go out with friends, your smart thermostat detects your habits. The device is programmable, so you need to initially adjust the temperature and settings to your likings.
From there, the thermostat observes your behavior, learning when you come and go and monitoring your temperature preference.
The system will adjust the settings to accommodate your preferences, keeping your home at your preferred temperature. Some systems can also work with humidifiers and dehumidifiers to adjust the humidity levels in your home.
Remote Control Over The Thermostat
Several of the Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats allow for remote control from your smartphone. This feature allows you to adjust your home’s thermostat even while you are away, eliminating unnecessary energy use.
Almost every smart thermostat has an Android and iPhone app that pairs with it. Imagine not having to get up from the couch to adjust your thermostat. Additionally, most smart thermostats are compatible with smart home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, allowing you to adjust settings on the fly with your voice and perform other automated actions.
The convenience of the smart thermostat extends beyond the remote control to your smartphone and voice commands. Geofencing can determine when you are on your way home, allowing your smart thermostat to adjust accordingly to have the temperatures to your liking upon your arrival.
Alerts For Maintenance Needs
Your smart thermostat can inform you when maintenance is necessary. For example, it can notify you when it may be time to change the filter in your air conditioning unit or furnace. Also, the thermostat can quickly and easily tell you when the last maintenance check was completed.
When the time rolls around to complete DIY maintenance or seek the assistance of a technician, you can choose whether you would like to receive a text, an email, or have the thermostat beep to alert you.
This feature eliminates expensive costs associated with a lack of maintenance. No need to worry about when your unit needs service; your smart thermostat will tell you.
Control Over Different Zones
There will be even more savings on the heating and cooling bill for homes equipped with several different thermostats that regulate the temperature of different zones. Separate thermostats each have their own temperature sensors, which allow you to control the temperatures in the various zones, which further optimizes your energy consumption.
For example, if you had thermostats in different rooms or floors, you can control the temperature of each room and floor individually. If you are not using your guest room, or nobody is downstairs, there is no reason to keep that area as warm or cool as the areas you’re currently occupying.
Rebates From Energy Companies
Some utility companies provide a rebate if you purchase and install an ENERGY STAR smart thermostat in your HVAC system.
So, not only will you lower the energy costs of your heating and cooling system, you’ll get cash back for your new home technology gadget too.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Smart Thermostats?
The benefits of smart thermostats extend beyond saving money on your utility bills. The convenience they offer is fantastic for a variety of other purposes, such as insight into your energy usage. Smart thermostats provide different features and perks that allow you to receive an outstanding experience while saving money.
Great For Vacation Homes, Cabins, and Cottages
If you own a vacation home, cabin, or cottage, smart thermostats can be beneficial. Smart thermostats will control the home’s temperature, ensuring the heating or air conditioning is not in use when you are not there.
Installing a smart thermostat that can adjust before your arrival will assist in saving energy. You can heat or cool your vacation home, cabin, or cottage remotely, so the temperature is at your preference when you arrive. There is no need to walk into a sweltering or freezing home; the smart thermostat will accommodate any preference you desire.
Insight On Energy Usage
Another great benefit of smart thermostats is the data they provide. Many smart thermostats allow owners to view temperature data that is trackable and manageable.
You can see the adjustments in temperature and compare it to when you are home versus when you are away or sleeping. Software updates ensure that the smart thermostat is utilizing the latest energy-efficient features and algorithms.
Constant Monitoring While You’re Away
The system continues to monitor changing temperatures, even when you are away. This can be great in areas that get extremely cold because the thermostat will begin heating the home. There are certain reasons you may want to keep your home warm even if you’re not physically there.
If temperatures get low enough, frozen water pipes can become a serious issue, possibly even bursting and causing significant damage to the home.
The smart thermostat works to prevent this, only using energy to warm or cool the house when someone is home or if the temperature becomes excessively high or low.
Smart thermostats are great for saving energy without constantly having to manage the settings. Once you have completed the programming for your unit, ensuring the thermostat is tailored to your specific needs, there isn’t much else that you will need to do.
The thermostat will do the rest of the work and even inform you when maintenance is necessary.
If you like to check up on your usage or adjust your settings, they are easily accessible through your smartphone or thermostat, but constant monitoring is unnecessary. In fact, some homeowners even forget where their smart thermostat is located.
What Are The Disadvantages of Smart Thermostats?
While smart thermostats are an excellent option for some homes, this is not always the case. Some people may find that the smart thermostat does not work for their situation in the long run due to various factors.
Smart thermostats can be much more costly than their counterparts. They typically run $150 to $450 for a quality smart thermostat, while regular thermostats are much cheaper, usually around $50. Most require professional installation to connect to your cooling and heating system.
If Someone Is Constantly Home
If there is always someone home, or you work from home, smart thermostats may not correctly do their job. Some have modes that work to regulate energy use by heating or cooling while you are away, but this automated programming is much more difficult if you are constantly home.
Smart thermostats may not be worth it in the long run if you or a family member is constantly home. However, they can use less energy and are still helpful due to their voice command and mobile app features.
Programming your smart thermostat can be tough to figure out. Given that it is a smart thermostat, someone needs to program it, and the touchscreen display panel (which many models have) and software may be hard to learn if you are not familiar with this kind of device.
If the thermostat isn’t programmed correctly, the savings may be non-existent. Smart thermostats may not be suitable for every home, and if you are unsure if they are a good choice for you, speak with a professional before purchasing one.
How Else Can You Save Money On Air Conditioning?
There are other ways you can save money on air conditioning yet still keep your home cool and comfortable throughout the summer. These methods are relatively simple yet make all the difference.
Invest in Attic Fans
Installing an attic fan in your home can help keep your home cool. Whole house attic fans work to circulate the air in your home, helping avoid warm and stagnant air.
The attic fan gets installed in the ceiling of the upper level of your home. It then pulls cool air in through your open window and ejects the warm air outside.
Opening a handful of windows to help draw airflow through your home can be beneficial. For homes with an upper level, open several of the windows on the lower level. One-story homes should open the windows further away from the fan to encourage airflow.
Attic fans are a great alternative to the use of an air conditioner. However, they are useless on days where the outside temperature is scorching.
Service Your AC Unit
Ensuring that your air conditioning unit is operating at optimal efficiency is key to reducing costs related to air conditioning usage. You need to clean or replace the air filters in your AC unit regularly, as a dirty or clogged filter will restrict airflow, therefore reducing the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
Checking the coils in the evaporator and the condenser, in which dust and dirt can build up, should be a regular habit. Regular cleaning will help boost the efficiency of the unit.
You should check the evaporator coil fins in your unit as well to ensure they are not bent, which can block the airflow. You can straighten them with a coil fin brush.
Keep Windows Covered
Keeping your windows covered during hot summer months can help reduce the temperature in your home. The majority of sunlight that streams through your windows enters in the form of infrared heat. Investing in solar screens or window screens can help mitigate the heat that penetrates your home.
Solar screens work best on the outside and help stop solar energy from entering your home. Window films, which are metalized sheets, are another option.
They reflect the heat from sunlight before it transmits through the window glass. Solar screens are operable with windows open, but window films require the windows to be closed to work.
Ensure Doors And Windows Are Sealed
Failing to ensure that both doors and windows have adequate seals while your air conditioning unit runs will allow the cooled air to seep out of the home.
Checking to see if you have any drafts in your windows and doors is pretty simple. Just run your hand along the outside of the door or window, and if you feel cold air leaking through, caulk the edges to prevent leakage.
Keeping the doors and windows shut (unless necessary) while your air conditioner is running is crucial for keeping your home nice and cool.
How Can An HVAC Contractor Help?
If you are unsure if a smart thermostat is right for your home, contact our HVAC technicians for assistance in determining the best way to keep the temperature comfortable in your home. Our HVAC contractors can also help install a smart thermostat if you feel it is suitable for you and your home.
Smart thermostats may not be the right choice for every home, but if it is rightrfor you, our HVAC pros can help you with other options. They can help ensure that your air conditioning unit is working at optimal efficiency.
Whether you are seeking advice on the best way to keep your home cool in the sweltering summer months or needing help with other aspects of your air conditioning needs, seeking the help of our HVAC technicians is a good idea.