Energy Star defines smart thermostats as “Wi-Fi-enabled devices that automatically adjust heating and cooling temperature settings for optimal performance.” The typical smart thermostat allows you to control the temperature by smartphone or even by voice when you are home and can alert you to possible AC repairs. They can learn the temperatures you use most and set a schedule to match your preferences. So, whether you are at work, at home hanging out or asleep, the smart thermostat will set the temperature schedule for optimal energy use. They can also “track” your energy use so you can adjust if you want to save more money. The average home saves about 8% a year with a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats are not only money-savers, they are kind to the environment, helping you to get the most out of your power grid experience. Here are three smart thermostats that can help you save money:
Nest, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, was the first programmable thermostat to receive the coveted Energy Star Certification. Independent studies have shown users have saved up to 10 – 12% on heating and 15% on cooling. It can be installed in about a half an hour and within a week it will program itself, and adjusts as seasons change. The Nest thermostat can use sensors and your phone to know if you have left the house and adjusts the temperature accordingly. If you change the temperature to a more energy efficient level, a leaf will appear on your thermostat letting you know. It also generates a monthly home report monthly so you can see when you use the most energy and show you ways to adjust it. If the temperature dips too low or gets too high you will get an alert on your phone.
The Ecobee 3 operates more like a smartphone in that it has a full color touchscreen which you can use like your phone by tapping and swiping, or you can access the free mobile app. The thermostat uses a system of remote sensors that are placed around your house to track both per-room temperatures and to determine if there is anyone home. The Ecobee 3 comes with preset scheduling so you don’t have to ‘teach’ the thermostat if the schedules that are already offered work for you. You can set minimum and maximum temperature readings and it can automatically change temperatures based on your mobile location. The Ecobee 3 system offers a web portal that lets you know how much energy you’ve used each month. It will also send alerts if any issues come up and reminders for maintenance.
The Honeywell Lyric
The Honeywell Lyric allows you to set a seven-day cycle schedule which helps reduces energy usage. The scheduling is done through creating shortcuts in the Lyric mobile app. A shortcut lets you choose a ‘trigger’ to let the thermostat know how it should respond. If you like the house cooler when you sleep, you can set the thermostat to automatically change the temperature once you go to bed. You can also do this manually with your phone. You can physically tap the house icon on the front of the thermostat to let it know you are leaving, or use the Lyric mobile app to link the away mode to your mobile phone’s location. Through a process called ‘geofencing’ your thermostat can detect when you are at home or away and adjust the temperature for the best energy efficiency. The Honeywell Lyric will send you alerts when it senses a problem with your equipment and when you are due for routine maintenance. It also checks live weather reports to prepare your system for any temperature changes.
Finding the right smart thermostat for you is a matter of preference. While each one of these products do the job of helping your home be more energy efficient, they each do it a little differently. Regardless of which one you choose; a smart thermostat is an excellent choice for keeping your house comfortable while saving money.