Just about every device in your home is becoming smarter, whether it's your television, refrigerator, or even your toaster. So having a smart thermostat isn't so far-fetched. In fact, your home just migh benefit from having its HVAC system controlled through a smart device. The following takes an in-depth look at smart thermostats, their overall benefit to your home, and what to expect from your smart thermostat.
What Makes a Smart Thermostat "Smart"?
There are several things that make a smart thermostat smarter than the average programmable thermostat. However, the two most important aspects of a typical smart thermostat are its software and wireless connectivity. The embedded software within a smart thermostat relies on algorithms to adjust and adapt to your heating and cooling preferences. Not only is it able to collect and parse data regarding your HVAC system usage, but it can also use that data to better manage your home's indoor climate.
Wireless connectivity is another key aspect of a typical smart thermostat. Once your smart thermostat is connected to a Wi-Fi network with Internet access, it can automatically download software updates, collect and upload your energy usage statistics, and even allow you to adjust settings from a remote location while you're online.
How You'll Benefit from Having One in Your Home
As you can imagine, there are plenty of benefits to having a smart thermostat control your HVAC system:
- Smart thermostats are self-learning - Over time, a smart thermostat can learn your heating and cooling preferences and program itself based on that data. This usually means you usually won't have to manually program your smart thermostat except at the very early stages of ownership.
- Smart thermostats are user-friendly - The average smart thermostat features a clear, easy-to-read touchscreen interface that allows users to easily make changes without relying on a manual.
- You can change settings while you're away from home - With wireless connectivity, you can easily manage your smart thermostat's settings away from home using an app on your smartphone or tablet or a web browser on your laptop.
- You can control who gets access to your thermostat - If you have guests in your home or anyone else you don't want messing around with your thermostat settings, a smart thermostat can be programmed to accept changes only from authorized users.
- Your smart thermostat can even predict the weather - A smart thermostat can download and display the latest weather forecasts and severe weather alerts, helping you stay ahead of Mother Nature as you plan your day or evening.
- Smart thermostats can help you save money - Recent studies have shown that a smart thermostat could potentially offer a 10- to 12-percent reduction in heating costs and a 15-percent reduction in cooling costs each year.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
As with any type of device, there are a few drawbacks to having a smart thermostat in your home. For starters, smart thermostats can be expensive to purchase, with most models ranging from $100 to $300 according to CostOwl's estimates. An installation kit for a wireless thermostat can cost anywhere from $200 to $800. Meanwhile, ordinary programmable thermostats are considerably cheaper to purchase and install.
Also keep in mind that some HVAC systems simply aren't compatible with most smart thermostats. For example, most smart thermostats aren't able to work with HVAC systems that rely on electric baseboard or convection heating, due in large part to voltage issues. Before you decide to install a smart thermostat, you may want to consult with your HVAC specialist at a company like Taylor Heating Inc to see if your current HVAC system can be controlled with the latest in smart thermostat technology.