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HomeSmart HVAC

Buying Guide: Smart Thermostats For All Home Owners

How do you choose a thermostat for your smart home? There are many options on the market, and there is no "one size fits all" solution.

This guide will cover some things to think about when purchasing a smart thermostat to have improved control of your home's heating and cooling costs.

What Is A Smart Thermostat And What Does It Do?

A smart thermostat is an adaptive or programmable thermostat that connects to your home network and can be controlled remotely. It will learn about your desired temperature setting, when you're at home, away from home, and what temperatures make you comfortable on certain days of the year.

The goal is to save energy and money by keeping your home at comfortable levels when nobody is home and at the temperature that you like when you're there.

A smart thermostat, such as a Nest Learning Thermostats, will also monitor your energy usage so that over time, it can be adjusted to improve efficiency while maintaining comfort levels for people in the house.

Smart Thermostats: Benefits

  • Smart thermostats are able to control the temperature in your home at all times, room by room.
  • They allow you to adjust the temperature with an app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • You can also set up smart notifications that will inform you when it is time to change settings for energy savings

Smart Thermostats: Disadvantages

  • Smart thermostats are much more expensive than traditional models
  • They require a/c wiring in order to function properly, and you may need an electrician on hand for installation
  • Some smart thermostats are not compatible with other smart devices in your house, such as a Nest Protect smoke alarm or Amazon Echo
  • Your current HVAC system may not support your specific programmable thermostats

The Best Features To Look For In A New Smart Thermostat

Here are the top features to consider before buying a new thermostat:

  • Compatibility - smart thermostats are designed to work best with smart home systems from the same manufacturer. Make sure to choose your setup wisely before making a purchase, or verify what devices you currently have and will require.
  • Wireless connectivity - some of the best smart thermostats are controlled remotely via Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth. You'll also need power to the thermostat for it to work.
  • Temperature settings - you'll want to make sure the thermostat has a range of heating and cooling settings that work for your home, including custom zoning options.
  • The display - larger displays can be easier to read if they're mounted on the wall. If it's going in an out-of-the-way spot like high up or down low, then smaller is probably better.
  • Your Current Wiring - most homes are built with either 110-volt or 220-volt wires, which will need a corresponding type of smart thermostat that can handle the voltage. If you're not sure, look online and in your manual for more info on this. Hiring a professional makes it easier and is the safer choice overall.
  • Easy Installation - If you're doing it yourself, smart thermostats usually come with a mounting kit or adhesive. Still, if there's an option for something like drywall screws and anchors, you might want to consider that too.

Which Protocol Is Right For You? (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Or Z-Wave Enabled)

The most important decision you'll have to make when choosing a smart thermostat is which underlying wireless (or wired) communications technology it uses. Here's what we found out:

Wi-Fi enabled: this is by far the most commonly available protocol. It's also one of the most reliable and secure protocols you can choose because it operates on a well-established network with many resources to help maintain its security.

Bluetooth enabled: It's not as reliable or secure as Wi-Fi, but it is still a valid choice if you don't have a Wi-Fi connection available.

Z-Wave enabled: This protocol is used by only a small selection of wireless thermostats on the market today, and it will require an external hub to connect with other networked devices.

Installing A Smart Thermostat: Should You Hire A Professional?

Deciding on whether you should have a professional installation or do it yourself will depend on a few factors.

  • Do you have the time and patience to install your smart thermostat?
  • Is the wiring in your home easily accessible, or does it run through walls, under floors, etc.? If so, installing may be easier for someone with experience.
  • Will a DIY installation cause problems with your home insurance? It already sounds like a professional installation may be worth the extra cost.

Installing a new thermostat can cause fires or electrocution, so you should always consult with an expert.

How Much Will You Save On Energy Bills With A Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat can help you save money on your monthly energy bill. If the heat or air conditioning is left uncontrolled, it will waste more energy than necessary, and this can add up to a significant amount of wasted energy over time. You could potentially save about $157 per year with just a one-degree change by using a programmable thermostat.

In Summary: Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?

Yes. Smart thermostats can make your home more energy efficient and save you money.

It is important to note that the benefits of installing a smart thermostat mainly center on use at night. This is when one's activities are much less than they are during an average day, as this is when heating and cooling systems spend most of their time running (even in countries where daytime temperatures might be hot enough).

The bottom line is that if you want to save serious cash on energy bills, try investing in a smart thermostat like Nest Learning Thermostat or Ecobee3 Lite Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats. As information becomes readily available about the top-performing models, we will revisit and update this post accordingly!