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What Is a Smart Thermostat? An FAQ

Once upon a time, a thermostat was an analog device that helped to control the temperature of the home. The homeowner would set the dial to the preferred temperature while the thermostat would measure the temperature of the room. When the room became too hot or too cold, the thermostat would turn on the proper heating or cooling device.

Times have changed. Analog thermostats were replaced by digital thermostats, and now those digital thermostats are being replaced as well. Smart thermostats are among the newest HVAC inventions to help homeowners optimize comfort indoors and save money on heating and cooling.  

What Is A Smart Thermostat?

A smart thermostat is a device that can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and thus can be controlled from your smart phone, tablet or computer. Smart thermostats regularly measure conditions in your home and make adjustments according to those conditions. Some products can even learn the behaviors of their owners so they can adjust the temperature based on where they are and what they’re doing.

For example, many smart thermostats know when members of the household are at home and when they’re away. When household members leave for work and the house sits empty, the smart thermostat may lower or raise the temperature of the home to save money. As people begin to return to the home, the thermostat makes adjustments to ensure the house is more comfortable.

What Are the Benefits of Smart Thermostats?

The two primary benefits of smart thermostats are convenience and money savings. Because a smart thermostat can be controlled from a smart phone, a home’s temperature can be adjusted from any location where the homeowner can connect to Wi-Fi. Whether you’re sitting on your couch or lounging near a pool 300 miles from home, you can check, raise or lower the temperature as needed.

If you’re away from home and a sudden winter storm springs up, you can raise the temperature at home to prevent pipes from freezing or to keep pets comfortable. If you decide to come home from your vacation early, you can adjust the temperature of your home to feel perfectly comfortable the minute you walk in the door.

Smart thermostats save money by optimizing HVAC efficiency, and by enabling homeowners to monitor how efficiently their home’s HVAC system is functioning. Homeowners can tell when their HVAC system turned on, when it turned off, how much it ran, how long it ran and other stats. If your furnace starts to run more often and longer over time, you’ll be able to tell.

Smart thermostats are easy to use and have an intuitive interface, so even the most digitally-challenged homeowners can enjoy big benefits over time. For homeowners who struggle to use digital programmable thermostats, smart thermostats offer a refreshing change of pace.

What If a Smart Thermostat is Out Of Your Budget?

Smart thermostats cost around $250. If a smart thermostat is out of your budget, you can still save money on home heating and cooling by using a traditional programmable thermostat.

The ENERGY STAR program estimates that homeowners can save around $180 per year just by using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature of their home. Although programmable thermostats can’t learn like smart thermostats, they can still be told what to do reduce the burden on your home’s HVAC system.

Take note of your activity levels during the day and at night. When are you away from home? What is your ideal temperature when you’re active at home? Can you raise or lower that temperature while you sleep to save money?

Once you’ve established the heating and cooling pattern that works with your lifestyle, program your thermostat to control the temperature of your house. Once you’ve programmed your thermostat, you can turn off or change the settings when your patterns change or deviate.

How Can You Get a Smart Thermostat Installed In Your Home?

If you’d like to get a smart thermostat for your home, start by picking the right product. Different smart thermostats have different capabilities. Not all smart thermostats are capable of learning your habits, but some can.

If you’re interested in purchasing a product that does not need to be programmed and instead will adjust to your lifestyle, then you’ll need to purchase a thermostat that has this capability. Once you’ve done the product research and found a thermostat that meets your needs, contact an HVAC professional in your area.

Installation of a smart thermostat involves removing your old thermostat and wiring the new device into your home’s HVAC system. Working with a professional ensures that the job is done properly and safely.

If you’re looking for more information about smart thermostats or about how you can control your home’s heating and cooling costs, contact Magnolia Plumbing. We’re happy to answer customer questions and help our customers maintain an efficient HVAC system.

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