Many people grew up with the round dial, analog thermostat with slow controls that needed frequent adjustments. The next iteration was a digital programmable thermostat, with better control precision and better response time. The current, state-of-the-art choice is a smart thermostat, with features that increase your comfort and save you money. Let’s dive into this new technology.
Smart thermostats have a wall-mounted interface, similar to earlier models. The unit should be mounted in a convenient, central location; away from doors so that the HVAC system doesn’t activate every time the door opens, and away from appliances, so that generated heat doesn’t activate the HVAC system. The bonus is the connection to the internet and a cellphone app with tools for comfort and savings.
Many people like a cooler temperature while sleeping, so the thermostat can be programmed to lower the temperature overnight. The program can be set to return to normal comfort levels 30 minutes before the family wakes up to get ready for the day.
Settings can be changed while the house is unoccupied and return to normal comfortable temperatures 30 minutes before the family returns. If you adjust your smart thermostat to a lower setting while you are away, but your schedule changes, you can adjust thermostat settings to prepare your home for your arrival.
A smart thermostat will also learn your comfort preferences and adjust automatically. It takes a couple of weeks of your programmed input, but once the thermostat can identify patterns, it recalls your desired patterns of comfort it will adjust to keep you comfortable. There is often an expanded feature that, with internet access, feeds your thermostat with the local weather forecasts. Can your analog thermostat respond to a cold snap or excessive heat?
A remarkable feature of smart thermostats is a proven record of cost savings. Because the thermostat is collecting data about your HVAC patterns, you are given saving tools customized for your house. Here is how that works:
The thermostat app prepares graphing tools to help you understand your household energy consumption. This information can be coupled with programmed comfort patterns; armed with such tools, you can take control of energy use.
A saving opportunity:
You can save energy and achieve a noticeable cost saving by adjusting the temperature by five-degree for 8 hours. If you program a 50 adjustment after the family leaves for school/work, you will notice a difference beginning the first month.
A second opportunity comes during sleeping hours. Another 50 adjustments overnight would compound the savings. The larger the adjustment, the greater the savings.
ENERGY STAR is a program managed by the US Environmental Protection Agency: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats
In addition, if everyone used ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats, U.S. homeowners could save $740 million dollars annually and help care for our environment.
Additional savings happen because you understand how to optimize the use of your HVAC system and save on normal wear and tear. The app alerts you when components experience reduced efficiency and need repairs. Ideally, you catch small problems before they become big problems. You can set notifications to remind you to schedule a preventative maintenance visit or change filters. Neglecting your HVAC system will certainly lead to more frequent repairs and early replacement.
Some thermostats are better paired with certain HVAC equipment than others. Features and tools vary from one brand to another, so check with your HVAC professional technician to determine the best thermostat for your home. Installation is easy and takes only a few hours. The installer can help you learn the features of the app and ensure you are prepared to use the technology to its greatest advantage.