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By Tom Moor
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Posted 8/21/23

Years ago, homeowners didn’t give much thought to their thermostat — it was a piece of equipment with simple functions: turn the heat or air conditioning on or off, adjust the temperature, and maybe control the fan. Then along came the programmable thermostat, and a big push for installation, citing their energy-saving capabilities and the convenience they offer. Over time, many households have replaced basic manual thermostats with programmable models, offering families more control over their comfort and energy use.

Over the last few years, you’ve probably heard a new term in the world of thermostats: the smart thermostat. While smart thermostats are the latest trend in home comfort and energy control, many homeowners do not know a lot about them; unless you’re a technology junkie. So what’s the big deal about smart thermostats? Read on and you’ll see.

Why Would I Want A Smart Thermostat?

A programmable thermostat allows you to program temperature settings around your household needs, helping you save energy by offering automatic control — smart thermostats offer capabilities above and beyond the programmable stat, keeping homeowners connected and aware of their comfort and energy settings. Smart thermostats present homeowners with a variety of useful features, such as WiFi connectivity, maintenance alerts, data on energy use, and even the ability to learn your family’s comfort needs.

Smart thermostats keep homeowners connected and informed regarding their HVAC system and energy use, with the goal of creating a more comfortable and energy efficient indoor environment with little homeowner effort involved. Popular models include the Nest and Lyric smart thermostats.

Advantages Of Using A Smart Thermostat Include:

Effortless programming

A smart thermostat learns your schedule and preferences, keeping you comfortable without the need to adjust temperatures or set schedules on your part.

Wireless connectivity

Control your thermostat from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Usage data

Your smart thermostat compiles data regarding your energy usage for your review, so you can further fine-tune your HVAC system usage to maximize your savings.

Maintenance alerts and diagnostics

Smart thermostats help you stay on top of system maintenance, alerting you when it’s time to change the filter or providing diagnostics to assist in system repair

Is A Smart Thermostat Worth The Cost?

It’s no secret — a smart thermostat is going to cost you more than a programmable model. Some smart thermostats feature easy installation that a homeowner can complete on their own, while others require professional installation, further raising your costs. With the hefty price tag on a smart stat, many homeowners question if it’s really worth the cost. Our answer is yes.

The energy savings achieved by smart thermostat usage will allow the equipment to pay for itself over time. If you currently have a manual thermostat, upgrading to a smart stat is certainly going to be worth it, because of the energy savings it will help you gain by taking system adjustments out of your hands (user errors and forgetfulness account for a great deal of energy waste). If you already have a programmable thermostat and are using it properly, a smart stat can still help you save. The data it provides and advanced features will help you fine-tune your energy use. Since you’re already using a programmable stat, the payback period may be longer.

How Much Could I Potentially Save?

While actual savings will vary from home to home based on factors such as temperature preferences and energy costs, installing a smart thermostat offers the potential for significant savings. According to ENERGY STAR, correct use of a programmable thermostat will save you approximately $180 per year. The big IF with a programmable thermostat is whether or not you’re using it correctly — since a smart thermostat eliminates the element of user error with a programmable thermostat, it’s safe to say you’ll have comparable savings.

Many smart thermostat manufacturers offer online savings calculators which can help you determine your potential savings based on the area in which you live. Check out the calculators below to get an idea of how much you could save: