Is a smart thermostat all it’s really cracked up to be? What makes it that much better than a regular thermostat, and not just a waste of money?
Well, some people have more of a need for a smart thermostat in their home than others, but it’s useful for any home!
Here’s why smart thermostats are a smart buy…
Your argument for not buying a smart thermostat might be, “If I can adjust the temperature in my home and program it depending on the time of day, then why do I need a smart thermostat? I’ve already programmed my thermostat for maximum power saving and money-saving!”
Well…You might think you have, but you really haven’t.
One commonly recommended temperature to set your thermostat to in the winter when you’re not home is 66°. So let’s say you’re a savvy homeowner and you decide to set your thermostat to 66° from 9 to 5, since you know you’ll be at work and out of the house. Perfect!
Except…Life never goes exactly the way you plan, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be walking in the door at 5:30 sharp or whenever you expect.
So if you’ve programmed your regular thermostat to warm up to 72° at the same time every day, but then a few days a week you actually don’t get home until 8 p.m., that’s almost 10 hours a week that you’ve had your home heated 6 degrees higher than it needs to be…for absolutely no reason and no one’s benefit!
And now you’re thinking (we are just assuming you’re a really cynical customer!) “Yes, 10 hours a week sounds like a lot, but how much difference does that really make on your savings?”
Well, according to the Department of Energy, on average, you save 1% on your utility bill for each degree per 8 hours. So with a smart thermostat, you’d be saving more than 25% a month!
That sounds like an over-exaggerated situation, you might say. (Ever with the cynicism!)
And you’d be right! In fact, Nest Thermostat did a study through Energy Star, showing that their average customer saves 10 to 12% on their heating bill, and 15% on cooling. This translated to an annual average savings of $131 to $145 a year.
Interestingly, this stands in contrast to the Department of Energy study concluding that if you turn your thermostat down by up to 10° in the winter when no one is home, and turn it up 7° or 8° in the summer when no one is home, you’ll save $83 a year.
A smart thermostat simply has the advantage of knowing exactly when you come and go from your home, and developing special algorithms that learn from what you do and what you like temperature-wise! They even change your temperature based on the humidity levels outdoors.
Overall, if you’re planning on living in your current home for at least a few years, which you probably are, a smart thermostat for a few hundred dollars will pay for itself in just a couple of years.
Last but not least, you have to be honest with yourself and answer the question: “Am I really going to bother to program my regular thermostat?”
Here is where you really probably need to be cynical… You’re not.
A smart thermostat will do your programming and learn your behavior for you, or else nothing is going to be done at all. You have enough to worry about, so why not take away the hassle of one part of homeownership?