Smart Thermostats: 5 Benefits and What you Should Know
May 04, 2023
With the summer season just around the corner, do you have what you need to stay cool? Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat.
A smart thermostat provides an efficient way to control the temperature of your home while also saving energy—and money. Here are the benefits of smart thermostats and what you should know as you’re browsing options.
How Does a Thermostat Work?
The type of thermostat you have installed determines how it functions. In general, there are two types: manual and automatic. However, the latter’s variety of options could be overwhelming and make it difficult to understand how each works. Here’s a deeper look at them to discover which one best meets your requirements.
A manual or mechanical thermostat is the most basic device for reading and controlling room temperature. Its temperature sensor is a bimetallic strip formed by laminating two metal parts. When heated or cooled, the metals expand and contract at different rates, opening or closing a contact.
To understand how to read a mechanical thermostat, notice that there are two thermometers on its face. One controls your heating or cooling systems, and the other shows the room temperature.
When using mechanical thermostats, keep in mind that you’re not adjusting the temperature itself but rather its range. Manufacturers calibrate the device to match room temperature as closely as possible within a few degrees of the set point. As a result, mechanical thermostats are less accurate and sensitive, causing your heater or air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Despite being less energy-efficient than other thermostats, some homeowners still prefer a mechanical thermostat. They’re more affordable and easy to use—just turn the dial to adjust the temperature.
Non-mechanical or digital thermostats have a thermistor, a simple device measuring room temperature. It allows thermostats to provide more precise readings and fine-tune the indoor temperatures to the exact degree.
Among the most popular digital or electronic thermostats is the programmable kind. It has a feature allowing users to program various settings at different times of the day. Some models can even let you set the heating or cooling schedule for specific days. For example, you can heat or cool your home at less than comfortable temperatures when you’re out. This adjustment results in lower energy consumption, saving you money.
Some programmable thermostats come with complicated instructions that make them difficult to use. In one survey, 40% of the respondents did not use the programming features to control their home’s indoor temperature because of the learning curve. Ignoring these features defeats its energy cost savings benefits.
Fortunately, smart thermostats eliminate confusing steps during setups. Instead, they study your climate preferences and habits to suggest a particular setting with your input or automatically adjust the temperature based on your pattern.
Understanding the Accuracy of Thermostats
Knowing how to read the thermostat is simple. The device’s plate or face will always have two temperatures—one is the target point, and the other is the actual indoor or room temperature. But, depending on your type of thermostat, its reading may not be accurate. It may result in discomfort and wasted energy as you frequently adjust temperatures.
Here’s how to test if your thermostat is giving correct temperature readings:
Get a digital thermometer, tape, and paper towel.
Tape the thermometer on the paper towel, then mount the latter next to your thermostat. The added layer of paper towel prevents the thermometer from sensing the wall’s temperature. Ensure the thermometer’s location doesn’t have a nearby heat source or is close to windows or doors.
Keep it in place for 15-20 minutes before checking the temperature.
A temperature differential of 3 degrees or fewer is no reason for concern. However, if the difference is greater, your thermostat is likely malfunctioning. You may need to clean the device’s vents since debris can obstruct accurate readings. The problem may also be due to dying batteries that you’ll need to replace. Take another reading after attempting both solutions.
If the results are unchanged, you probably have a faulty thermostat. Consider replacing yours with a Nest Learning Thermostat for better energy efficiency, higher cost savings, and improved comfort.
What Are the Advantages of a Smart Thermostat?
There are five key benefits to owning a smart thermostat:
1 – Smart Thermostats Help You Save on Energy Costs
With a smart thermostat, you can better regulate your HVAC system and have it run less when you’re out of the house. This helps you save more energy while also lightening up your monthly bill.
Nest unveiled that their smart thermostat saves households about 10 to 12 percent on heating costs and 15 percent on cooling costs. In Salt Lake and Utah county, we found smart thermostats save about 15 percent on homeowners’ cooling bills.
2 – Smart Thermostats Are Programmed Around Your Life
Smart thermostats aren’t simply control panels. They have built-in movement sensors, which take note of your indoor lifestyle (are you most active at home during the mornings, afternoons, or evenings?) and when you’re not home. This information helps smart thermostats set up the right heating and cooling schedule.
You can also create a heating/cooling schedule via the app to have your thermostat run during specific times.
3 – Smart Thermostats Can Be Controlled Remotely
That’s right! You can control your smart thermostat whenever you need to from wherever you are.
Want your home to be cool upon your arrival? Using your laptop or phone, you can set the temperature before your commute back home.
Unsure if you’ve left the AC running? You can check the app on your phone and adjust accordingly.
4 – Smart Thermostats Help You Track Your Energy Usage
Smart thermostats offer an energy history report that keeps you informed on your cooling and heating usage. Having access to this data can help you and your family members make smarter decisions about your energy use.
5 – Smart Thermostats Can Qualify for Local Utility Rebates
Utility companies offer rebate programs that allow you to receive money back for buying and installing a smart thermostat. The savings you win ultimately help you offset the cost of your new equipment, making your new device affordable AND energy efficient.
How Much Does a Smart Thermostat Cost?
We all know what you’re thinking—how much does a smart thermostat cost?
Smart thermostat installation starts at $99. This can cost more if your current thermostat wiring isn’t set up to support a smart thermostat.
Sure, these can be higher up-front costs, but remember, these thermostats are a smart, long-term investment. A Nest Learning Thermostat can save you $131 to $145 a year in energy costs.
Not to mention with benefits like utility rebates, you can make back some of your investment. Of those who purchased a Nest Learning Thermostat, 89 percent were satisfied with their device.
A Smart Thermostat and a WiFi Thermostat: What’s the Difference?
As you’re shopping around for a smart thermostat, you’ll likely hear the term “WiFi thermostat.” What is a WiFi thermostat, and how is it different from a smart thermostat?
A WiFi thermostat is similar to a smart thermostat in that you can control it through an app/mobile device through an internet connection. Their key differences lie in capability.
While a smart thermostat learns your daily routine to set up customized schedules, a WiFi thermostat cannot do this. A WiFi thermostat only performs specific actions. In other words, it does not have automated or “smart” capabilities, which is why they usually cost about $100 less than a smart thermostat.
How Do I Choose a Smart Thermostat?
There are different types of smart thermostats available. How do you choose the right one for your family and home?
Here are three key questions to consider as you’re shopping around:
Does your home have different temperatures in certain areas? If yes, you might want to choose one that offers portable sensors. You can place these sensors in specific areas of your home (particularly the areas that have distinct temperatures).
How often are you home? If you follow a pretty consistent schedule, finding a smart thermostat with a learning algorithm embedded is helpful. That way, it can easily adapt to your lifestyle. If you travel quite a bit, make sure you get one that provides remote control or a “home away” feature.
How’s the installation process? You don’t want to purchase a smart thermostat only to pull out your hair over the installation process. Get one that aligns well with your HVAC system or one that offers professional help to get the job done quickly. Brands like Google Nest offer helpful compatibility checks. You can also take a look at the instruction manual before your purchase.
Get Smart With Yes!
Interested in securing a smart thermostat this year? Call Yes! today at 844-216-9300! We’re proud to offer multiple brands and models to help you select the right smart thermostat for your needs. As a Nest Pro Elite Dealer, we’re ready to assist you with questions and installation.
Last Updated: September 18, 2023