Smart Thermostats: Heat-beaters and Money-savers

Summer’s here and temperatures are on the rise. If you’re looking for new ways to beat the heat, a smart thermostat might be the right solution: It can help both cool your house and cool off your electric bill.

Reacting to rising temperatures can be costly. You know that cars burn more gasoline at engine start-up or when accelerating than they do when maintaining cruise speed — the same principle applies for home cooling. More electricity or natural gas is used to catch back up on hotter days if your home’s temperature falls far from a comfortably cool level.

Fortunately, there are thermostats that are designed to help you avoid some of this wasteful energy use with smart home improvements.

Smart vs Programmable

There are two types of “smart” thermostats you can consider: a smart learning thermostat and a programmable thermostat.

A smart learning thermostat learns not only your temperature preferences, but also the timing of those preferences. Do you like to keep your home warmer in the daytime and cooler at night? The thermostat picks up on that.

After several days of operation, it learns enough about your schedule that it will begin to automatically adjust the temperature to optimize your comfort level, so that you don’t need to tinker all the time. That, in turn, might prevent your air conditioner from having to run overtime to cool you down when the weather varies. The smart thermostat is designed to adjust as necessary, which can also reduce mechanical wear on your HVAC system.

A smart thermostat is usually Wi-Fi enabled and allows you to remotely adjust temperature with a smart phone or other device. Some good learning thermostat options are Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat with Sensor, Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation), and Honeywell Lyric T5 smart thermostat.

If you want a simpler and cheaper version that could allow you to better control your home’s energy use, but without connecting to the Internet, try out a programmable thermostat. It can be programmed to preferred temperature settings and adjusts temperatures to your specific personalized schedule. Orbit 83521 Clear Comfort, Honeywell RTH2300B1012 and Lux Products TX9600TS have great ratings and customer reviews.

Whichever thermostat you go with, make sure it’s compatible with your HVAC unit before buying.

Mission control for your home.

Of even more value as we move closer to becoming a society that is wired together via an Internet of Things: Smart learning thermostats can often integrate with other web-enabled home devices, like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, lights, appliances, and more, to help you create a more secure, cost-efficient, fully-automated home.

For information only. Not applicable to all situations.

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Shannon Lewandowski
Shannon Lewandowski
Shannon heads up the IoT initiative on the Innovation & Digital team. She’s a smart “tech guru” - passionate about finding ways to protect insureds’ homes!