If you have a keen interest in green technology and smart gadgets for the home, you’ve probably considered getting a smart thermostat. This device was once a boring beige box but has now become one of the primary ways homeowners are saving energy. A smart thermostat can also keep you comfortable by making everyday life even more convenient for you.
While smart thermostats are relatively easy to install, it can be daunting for someone that doesn’t want to touch electrical panels and raw wiring. Fortunately, most smart thermostat products on the market are accompanied by easy-to-follow instructions as well as detailed user guides. After installation, how do you ensure that you’re getting the most out of your smart thermostat?
Switching over from a regular thermostat to a smart one will help reduce your energy bills by around $200 per year. While a new thermostat will set you back around $100, it will eventually pay itself off in about six months. To maximize on the benefits brought by your smart thermostat even further, here are a few tips.
Choose the Right Thermostat
There are numerous smart thermostats on the market from various retailers; you can even get one via a package deal from your cable company. However, you need to have an idea of how much space you have before installing the thermostat on a wall.
While it seems like a trivial concern, the shape of the thermostat can pose an issue. Also, you need to consider that you’ll need a thermostat for every cooling or heating zone in the home.
Next, research on the wiring your HVAC system utilizes with your current thermostat. Most smart thermostats will work in most modern homes right out of the box. However, if older wiring HVAC setups might be incompatible with a few products – check on a product’s FAQ to ask about the smart thermostat system before you even purchase one.
Apply for a Rebate
Upgrading your current system to a smart thermostat option requires quite a bit of investment. While you are getting all the benefits that come with a smart thermostat, you’ll still need to invest a sizeable chunk of change – and time too!
If you would like to reap all the benefits of the new system, consider starting by getting a rebate. Fortunately, most utility companies are offering rebates on smart thermostats – you need to know where to look.
Set a Schedule for Your Smart Thermostat
A top smart heating device on the market, is capable of learning your preferences in time and adjusts room or zone temperatures accordingly. However, if you would rather set specific temperatures or times, you can do so on most smart thermostats.
While you can find this feature on a conventional programmable thermostat, smart thermostats make the process easy and fast. Fortunately, you can set up the times and temperatures using a smartphone app in addition to the device itself.
Check Smart Thermostat Placement
If your smart thermostat is in direct sunlight, chances are very high that you’ll get false readings. Your thermostat reads your room’s temperature and uses the information to judge whether the HVAC system should kick on.
If you place the unit in direct sunlight, it will think that your room is warmer than it actually is, causing the AC to kick in when it’s not required. Such ghost readings can cause your AC to waste lots of energy while unnecessarily cycling on and off.
Also, don’t place your unit close to a vent since the incoming air is likely to skew thermostat readings. When the heater is on, your smart thermostat thinks that a room is getting warmer than it is, and vice versa when the air conditioner kicks in.
Furthermore, don’t place the thermostat in your kitchen since it’s the warmest room in your home. This is because of all the appliances, including the oven and stove concentrated in a single area. If you place the thermostat in or near the kitchen, your entire home will cool down whenever someone is preparing a meal!
The ideal place to install your smart thermostat is an interior wall away from areas with direct sunlight, the kitchen, and near doors and windows. In the ideal world, the unit should be placed at the center of your home. Plus, consider the rooms that you and your family members use most frequently.
Lock with a PIN Code
Since the dawn of AC units, there has been a constant struggle over who gets to set the thermostat. Homeowners would prefer having their cooling systems kick in when required. However, family members would likely be tempted to crank down the thermostat all the way to a chilly 65 degrees.
If this happens often, you will likely find your air conditioning running unnecessarily. Sometimes, the unit will even ice over if left unattended for too long at a low temperature. To prevent such a scenario, homeowners usually used a thermostat metal or plastic lockbox, with a key!
Fortunately, smart technology can help you solve most of the problems associated with using traditional thermostat lock boxes. Apart from merely locking and unlocking, a smart thermostat offers you plenty of many other options. For example, you can set the range of temperatures specific people in your home can adjust the set point after requiring a PIN code.
In addition, you can allow brief overrides to the thermostat settings, especially on a really hot day. However, you need to ensure that the thermostat will resume its optimized schedule. Furthermore, smart thermostats allow you to monitor your home temperatures remotely and make remote changes from wherever you are.
Get the Most out of Programming
While the word “programming” sounds ominous, it’s really easy setting up your smart thermostat. For instance, if your family spends most of the weekends at home, you might program your device to make it cozy on Saturdays and Sundays.
You can also take into consideration your family’s regular commitments like a football game or date night when there’s nobody at home. You can program the smart thermostat to lower temperatures while you are all gone.
Looking for a hack to cut even more costs using your thermostat? Consider using the device to identify your home’s temperature peaks and valleys. The thermostat can also identify specific times of the day when your home usually needs heating or cooling.
Voice Control Your Smart Thermostat
Making your home very comfortable without actually leaving your recliner is now a dream that’s achievable. While it’s great using a smartphone app to control your smart thermostat, you can go a step further and use your voice. In fact, your voice can be used to adjust room or zone temperature in a few words.
Doing this requires you to connect your smart thermostat to a hub like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Through voice command, you can make set temperatures at specific ranges, make it warmer or cooler and even query what the temperature is.
While getting the most out of your smart thermostat is relatively simple, you can also get help from professionals, especially if the thermostat is part of an entire smart home system. Smart thermostats are fantastic home upgrades, but they are just a step towards a more efficient, smarter home.