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All About Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats keep you in control of your energy costs and help you save money. Many also offer other features that can make your life easier and more efficient, like connecting to other smart devices you have in your home. Read on to learn more about smart thermostats, if they’re right for you, and some of the best smart thermostats you can buy on the market right now.

Manual vs Programmable vs Smart

There are 3 kinds of thermostats: manual, programmable, and smart. Each of these thermostats operate based on the same mechanics, meaning, they measure the air temperature in your home and will switch on when they sense the air temperature is rising or falling, according to how you have it set.

Manual thermostats will maintain the temperature you set for as long you like. They reliably set your heating or AC unit to switch on when the ambient temperature rises or falls above your desired temperature. Manual thermostats come with few to no extra settings to help you track your energy usage and save money. It’s up to you to adjust the temperature before you go to bed or leave your home.

With a programmable thermostat, you can schedule what temperature you want at your home on certain days of the week at certain times. So, for example, you can program your thermostat to reduce your home’s temperature before you go to bed, and to increase the temperature before you get up in the morning.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats go further, adjusting the temperature according to your behaviors and preferences, even performing adjustments for you. Many smart thermostats are also connected to WiFi, which means you can access them from anywhere in the world, or even your couch, to adjust the temperature in your home. Smart thermostats can also sense whether or not you are home based on your phone’s location or motion sensing and automatically adjust your thermostat to your preferences.

Many models can connect to smart home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, so you can control your home’s energy with even more ease. These thermostats can even help you create a home automation system, connecting lights, speakers, and more to give you full control over all the smart features in your home.

Another benefit is that smart thermostats sense how long it takes for your home’s HVAC system to heat or cool your home, and will turn on at precisely the right time to save you energy and keep you comfortable. Some smart thermostats even come with sensors you can place around your home to give the device a more accurate sense of the overall home temperature – helping the thermostat adjust as needed.

Smart thermostats also track your energy usage; some even have smart pre-settings that can help you reduce your energy consumption. Others have sensors that will detect if something is wrong with your HVAC unit, helping you save money further down the road.

Downsides to Smart Thermostats

There are some downsides to smart thermostats. One of the largest is that they can be rather expensive, with many models running upwards of 200 dollars. In comparison, programmable thermostats usually cost $25-$100, depending on the model. Manual thermostats can cost as little as $20.

Smart thermostats are also small computers, needing software updates and firmware updates from time to time. Eventually, like a smartphone, they will no longer be up-to-date and will need to be replaced, about every 10 years. On the other hand, manual and programmable thermostats last much longer, as long as about 30 years.

You also must be comfortable with using tech if you want to install a smart thermostat. Not everyone is comfortable with navigating new technology, or the maintenance smart thermostats require.

Another drawback is that not all HVAC systems can work with a smart thermostat. While the vast majority of HVAC systems are compatible with most smart thermostats, not all are. Before you make the switch, research if that model is compatible with your existing HVAC system. If you are not careful or do not make the necessary adaptations, they can short-circuit your furnace or cause other problems.

Highly Regarded Smart Thermostats

In no particular order...

Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium

This model offers all the features you could ask for in a smart thermostat. Not only does this device sense when you are home with a motion sensor (even detecting slight motion from around corners), but it uses a geofence to detect if you are home using your phone’s location. It seamlessly connects with Amazon’s Alexa or other various smart home systems. This thermostat also includes a speaker so you can play music from Spotify, Apple AirPlay, or Amazon Music. This model can also monitor the quality of the air in your home. It features a 4-inch color touchscreen interface.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

This thermostat offers many great features in one beautiful package, and is compatible with a wide range of HVAC systems. Like the Ecobee, it also has a motion sensor to detect when you are home, as well as geofencing to see when you and your smart device leave the house and when you will arrive back. Nest has an auto-scheduling feature that learns your heating and cooling preferences in the first week of use and then creates a heating/cooling schedule for you. Nest is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Wyze Thermostat

This is one of the best smart thermostats for under $100. This thermostat connects to your home WiFi system and has geofencing to sense when your device leaves the house and prepare your HVAC system for when you come home. The Wyze thermostat is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other smart home products from Wyze. Using other Wyze products like their home security cameras can also automatically trigger the thermostat to begin cooling or heating your home to your desired temperature. The thermostat has a smaller footprint measuring 4.75 inches high and 2.5 inches wide.

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your home energy efficient, smart thermostats can help you automate the process. Not only can they help you save money on your energy bills, but they can also connect to your existing smart home systems to make your life easier.

We are not affiliated with the companies linked in this article and we do not profit if you visit their websites or buy smart thermostats. This article is for educational purposes only.

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