Doorbells that send phone notifications, door locks that can be opened with your phone, heating systems that learn your habits and adjust to it.
Science fiction is becoming reality as modern homeowners start to invest in high-tech systems to keep their houses comfortable, safe, and energy-efficient.
This has become evident with the rising popularity of “smart thermostats,” which automatically adjust the temperature of your house in accordance to your day-to-day life.
Like any electronic device that’s labeled as “smart,” a smart thermostat is more expensive than a regular thermostat. However, think of the smart thermostat as a small, but impactful, investment.
Smart thermostats have many features that make them vastly more efficient than your run-of-the-mill analog device, so you’re almost certain to make your money back down the road from lower energy bills.
In terms of its price, there’s nothing wrong with a typical thermostat. The most affordable thermostats in the market are the ones that do nothing else but let you adjust the temperature at home.
Another benefit of an analog thermostat is that even though they can be a bit dated, they are made of simpler parts can be sturdier than the average smart thermostat.
But using an old thermostat will ensure that you’ll miss out on opportunities to save money and conserve electricity. Even if you tried your best to mimic the way a smart thermostat adjusts the temperature with an analog device, you'd have a tough time achieving the same effect.
The energy bill will still have to factor in human error, and you will still be letting go of up to hundreds of dollars in rebates.
Besides keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, smart thermostats are made to help you conserve energy. Let us take a look at some of the features that help save money and energy.
Frequently and erratically changing the thermostat settings on an analog thermostat will seriously overload your HVAC appliances. They will go into overdrive just to combat the outside temperature and to keep you comfortable inside. This can make energy conservation especially difficult in the winter and during the summer.
A smart thermostat completely avoids that approach as it automatically adjusts and gradually changes the temperature inside your home. As the thermostat adjusts with a steady and incremental pace, your heating and cooling appliances will have time to adapt to a more comfortable temperature — a transition that requires less power overall.
With analog thermostats, you frequently have to guess what your energy bill will be. But with smart thermostats, that is not a problem.
Some smart thermostats use systems that keep track of your HVAC unit’s energy usage and compile it into a neat and easy-to-read report that it sends to your phone. Smart thermostats record the hours of cooling and heating your HVAC appliances have done for the month, and can even let you compare your results with other homes in the same state.
Not only can smart thermostats cut a significant chunk off your energy bill, but also many utility companies offer rebates for residences that have smart thermostats.
In Massachusetts, for instance, you can save up to $125 on up to three smart thermostats depending on the manufacturer and your energy provider. Once you've installed your thermostat, submit your rebate online within 60 days with a receipt or invoice for the thermostat.
Smart home device companies like Nest have been surveying their consumers, and their reports show that the average smart thermostat can reduce heating costs by 10% and cooling costs by 15% in a residence. For an average household, that could mean around $130 in savings each year.
Want to see how much you can save with a smart thermostat? You can use Duke Energy’s Saving Calculator here.
The burgeoning market for smart home devices includes many brands that might not reach the standard your home deserves. Here are five brands you can rely on when it comes to smart thermostats.
Honeywell is a giant technological conglomerate that offers multiple products to a wide market. They offer engineering services, aerospace systems, security solutions, and smart home devices, to name a few of their services. With their collective accumulated information, it’s pretty safe to say that they can make high-quality smart thermostats.
Their smart thermostat shows off a bright, customizable, and beautiful screen, which makes it easy to read. The screen displays the indoor temperature, outdoor temperature, and the humidity.
This thermostat is easily programmable and it also has a feature where it asks you to fill out a few questions so it can create a week-long thermostat schedule for the household. The thermostat can also adapt to the household’s habits to create optimal comfort.
This thermostat is a great smart home device for starters. It’s caught almost at the halfway point between analog thermostats and top-of-the-line thermostats. With its semi-traditional and straightforward display, it’s easier to understand than most smart thermostats. Honeywell’s thermostat can also be significantly cheaper than many other smart thermostats.
Sensi is a brand dedicated to crafting smart thermostats under the manufacturing company Emerson Electric. Sensi carries Emerson’s vision of creating better solutions for its commercial, residential, and industrial consumers. Being under the wing of a long-standing company, Sensi’s thermostats might be just what your home needs.
Although it still classifies as a smart thermostat, Sensi’s product is compatible with many HVAC systems. Its display is similar to older thermostats, but don’t let that fool you. It is highly programmable and can be remotely controlled from its companion app.
This thermostat is great for families that live in older homes. It’s easy to install and can operate on a pair of batteries. If adaptive thermostats aren’t what you’re looking for, then this smart thermostat might be perfect for you.
Unlike most smart home device companies, Ecobee has its focus set entirely on smart thermostats. Ecobee company strives to make thermostats that are not just functional, but aesthetically striking as well. With Ecobee’s passion for their business and the environment, their thermostats have nowhere else to go but forward.
At the cutting edge of smart home devices, Ecobee’s thermostat is packed with high-tech features and designs. The thermostat itself is a touchscreen, putting seamless style at the forefront. The thermostat also comes with sensors you can put around the house.
These sensors track your behavior indoors and they help the thermostat automatically adjust the temperature of your home for maximum comfort. The thermostat also tracks your HVAC habits and can create monthly reports.
Ecobee’s thermostat is perfect for a household with at least one resident data and gadget enthusiast. The tracking feature lets you see how much power you’re using monthly, and can help you conserve energy.
If you’re the plug-and-play type of person, this thermostat is great for you, too! It learns from your thermostat adjusting habits so that eventually you may not need to touch the thermostat again at all.
When it comes to creating smart home devices, Nest is a forerunner for many. It’s a home automation organization founded by former Apple engineers and is a subsidiary of Google.
They are focused on creating home automation systems that are self-learning, programmable, and self-driven. Supported by innovative giants in the tech industry, thousands and thousands of people swear by Nest’s thermostat.
Nest doesn’t need a lot to achieve the efficient and comfortable temperature your household has been looking for. It simply learns from your programmed settings and adjustments. When given enough time, it can be the self-driving thermostat you never knew you needed.
You can remotely control it through its app, even when you’re away from home. It also sports a touchscreen dial on the display, joining the old with the new.
The Nest thermostat is great for families who have already found their forever homes. Its robust systems and software features make for a much more comfortable and hands-free experience.
Once installed, the thermostat—with its simple UI— can be easy to use for people who need more time to get acquainted with new technology. Like other thermostats, the Nest thermostat can also create reports to help you keep track of your power usage.
Besides keeping your family warm during the cold and cool during hot days, smart thermometers can also give peace of mind. Just by taking the basic features of an analog thermostat and giving you more control through the latest technology, smart thermostats can help you save money in the long run.
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