Smart Thermostats: What Kind of Features Can You Get?

person touching smart thermostat

Temperature plays a big role in our lives. When the temperature goes up, it can make us tired in the times where we need to have energy, and it can make us grumpy when we’d rather be calm. Decreasing temperatures can make it easy to sleep, or can make us feel restless with that chilled feeling in our bones.

Homes are extremely important for our lifestyle and wellness. And temperature affects every metric of how those homes are experienced. It doesn’t matter how comfortable your bed is if it is too hot to sleep. It really doesn’t matter the ways that your kitchen works if it’s so cold that you don’t want to cook something healthy. Controlling our temperatures allows us to come home from work and continue to be productive. It lets us sleep comfortably and kick start our morning.

With all the importance that temperature plays in our experiences of home, it’s no wonder that controlling those temperatures is getting smarter and smarter. While old thermostats let you regulate things based on temperature sensors and times of day, it didn’t integrate into a total lifestyle in the same way that smart thermostats are able to. In this post, we’re going to check out some smart thermostat features that you can get, and the ways that they might be able to improve your lifestyle, increase productivity, and promote wellness.

Features of Smart Thermostats

These are standard features that you’re going to be able to find on most smart thermostats, especially our recommendations for them. The big selling points for smart thermostats are the convenience of the app, the energy savings, and the comfort of the sensors.

An App

Ah yes, you can control the temperature in your home from anywhere. No more getting out of bed in the morning to crank the heat or waiting until you get home to walk into a hot house. You can make adjustments on the fly. Long day in the office? Crank the AC before you get home to make sure that you bounce back for your dinner plans. If things are a bit chilly outside or an unexpected guest is dropping by, you can turn up the heat before you get home. With smart thermostats, your smartphone is the control center for your smart home.

Learning Capabilities

There’s a few different smart thermostats that are able to do this, though Google makes it the main selling point of their Nest Smart Thermostat. With learning capabilities, smart thermostats can figure out how you like your home and help you get it there. That can save you money and energy over time. For example, your thermostat can learn when you are often home and away, integrating weather data to figure out how to most efficiently cool and heat your space.

“Away” Mode

Your smart thermostat can use your phone’s location to figure out whether or not you’re home. That means that as soon as you step out the door for work for the day, the smart thermostat can turn down the heat or AC to save money. In eco mode, it prepares for you to return without busting your energy bills in the process. It’s a more efficient way to leave the house, because you don’t have to turn the thermostat when you leave.

Temperature Sensors

One of the drawbacks of more traditional thermostat systems is that they are often located in hallways or living rooms, main areas of the house. These locations can be a full 10 degrees warmer or cooler than other areas of the house, depending on airflow, temperature, sun position, and if someone left a window cracked. With different degrees of insulation, it can be hard for a classic thermostat to keep track of the temperature and evenly heat or cool the house.

Smart thermostats solve this problem by offering temperature sensors which can tell the main thermostat the kind of temperatures that are being experienced in different parts of the house at different times. The thermostat can make decisions for the whole house based on different kinds of data, which is helpful in energy bills and levels of comfort.

Energy Savings

This will be a major selling point for a number of smart thermostats, and it’s pretty easy to understand why that might be. A smart thermostat can be hundreds of dollars, which is a major investment to simply be able to control the temperature on your phone or with your voice. While this might be a selling point for many, others are convinced by the potential savings. If you’re saving up to 10% on your energy bill every single month, that can add up to a few hundred dollars over the period of a few years. With the energy savings that smart thermostats can deliver, it means that many smart thermostats can actually pay for themselves in the long run.

Recommended Smart Thermostats

Google Nest

Google bought Nest and turned it into a fully integrated product that controls the temperature in your home and looks great on the wall while doing it. Easily the best pick for style and integration points, the Google Nest is a learning thermostat that helps you save energy over time. It tries to figure out your temperature preferences based on real data, not the guesswork that you toss at the system, and then it makes adjustments to heating and cooling cycles based on weather data and its own machine learning algorithms.

Studies have shown that the Nest can save between 10-15% on heating and cooling bills, which means that once the Nest figures out how you like your home, it gets you there while saving money.

Honeywell T5+

The Lyric family thermostat works with a lot of different voice activated systems, and even Apple’s products. It connects to the wi-fi and allows you to control the temperature from anywhere, on an app. Unlike the Nest and the Ecobee, it relies on geofencing to determine your location. When it senses that you leave your house and the area, it adjusts the temperature, changing it back when you close in on home.

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