Are Smart Thermostats a Smart Choice?
The newest breed of thermostat is more than just a high tech energy saving gadget. Many are actually fun to use. Connected appliances that send text messages when the refrigerator door is left ajar or the wash cycle is finished are smart and trendy home updates, but the smartest new device is a programmable thermostat that uses a suite of remote sensors to learn a family’s occupancy habits and sleep schedule.
The U.S. Department of Energy says that homeowners who lower thermostat settings when asleep or away from home can shave as much as 1% from winter heating bills for each degree lowered. In Phenix City, where July and August temperatures routinely top 90 degrees, similar savings would result from raising the thermostat setting while out of the home in the summer months.
Because waking up to a cold house in the winter or returning to a hot home in the summer isn’t a comfortable experience, many homeowners fail to take advantage of these potential savings. A programmable thermostat, however, eliminates any periods of discomfort by making temperature adjustments prior to the homeowner waking or arriving home from work. According to Consumer Reports, the proper use of a programmable thermostat can save the average homeowner about $180 each year.
Are Smart Thermostats Easy to Program?
Programmable thermostats have been available for many years, but the process of programming one was often a chore. Small screens, poor screen illumination and non-intuitive programming sometimes added to the difficulty. In 2009, the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, which certifies energy-saving consumer products as a non–regulatory way to reduce air pollution, stopped providing the ENERGY STAR label to these devices for exactly this reason.
New thermostats are very easy to program. They are Wi-Fi connected and can be accessed through any home computer or smartphone. The bright, clear screen of the smartphone or computer monitor becomes the programming screen for the thermostat, and the programming steps are easier to understand than ever before.
Will Smart Thermostats Work With Every System?
A smart thermostat is suitable for use with almost any heating or cooling system. Although off-brand systems may require some tinkering, well-known HVAC systems like Carrier can be connected to the new devices by homeowners in as little as 20 minutes.
Certain heating and cooling systems, however, should not be used with these new energy saving gadgets. Heat pumps, for example, can take longer to recover to a desired temperature, and a programmable thermostat will not produce the same level of savings as seen on electric or gas systems.
How Can I Learn More About a Smart Programmable Thermostat?
The NATE-certified technicians at Riley Heating and Air Conditioning have been providing HVAC solutions to Phenix City, AL and surrounding communities in eastern Alabama and western Georgia for more than 40 years. Call today to learn how the newest smart thermostats are easy to operate. The money you save on your heating and cooling bills could be enough to pay for several months of your smartphone contract each year!