What is a Smart Thermostat, Anyway?

So, you’re thinking about putting in a “smart” thermostat. But you’re not really sure what they’re all about or whether it’ll be worth it to install one. Maybe you’re asking: “Why are they all the rave right now? Can it save me money? What can they do that my thermostat can’t already do?” Those are good questions and we here at GAMA Air want you to be well educated about what they could do for you to help you decide whether or not to get one. But first...

What Is a Smart Thermostat, Anyway?

First things first: What is a thermostat? It is a crucial part of your home’s heating and cooling system. You tell your thermostat what temperature is comfortable for you and it takes care of the rest, telling your furnace or air conditioner when to turn on and when to turn off. Simple, right? Then there are Programmable thermostats, which we discussed in a blog entry awhile ago. They have the additional feature of being able to set times of the day, and maybe even days of the week, when you want to raise or lower the temperature automatically. Okay so far?

So what about “smart” thermostats? Simply put they take thermostats to the next level by adding one or more of the following features:

  • They learn from your behavior
  • They allow you to remotely control the heating and cooling system in your home
  • They show you energy consumption in real-time
  • They may even adjust themselves to compensate for ambient conditions like humidity.

For example, you can tell them what to do with your system after you leave the house for work and school, and then what to do just before your family is home again to make the house nice and comfy for you. Most smart thermostats show you how long it will likely take to make the change you’ve requested, so you can see how effective your climate control system really is.

Plus, you can view and manage many smart thermostats using an app on your smart phone or computer. Using one of these remote interfaces you can see how much you’re spending on heating or cooling costs at any given moment, tweak the programming to attempt to save money, and then see the results immediately.

What Kind of Smart Thermostats Are There?

Smart thermostats typically come in two categories: The type that learns automatically from your behavior and adjusts itself accordingly (and therefore don’t even need you to do any programming), and the type that offers internet connectivity for remote management and programming. The best smart thermostats fall into both categories.

This is a rapidly expanding market, and each day brings additional brands and models to the market place. But to give you some options to start investigating, here’s some names. The Nest® Thermostat is a learning thermostat that can be accessed remotely and was one of the first smart thermostats to hit the market. Other models like the Ecobee Smart SI and the Honeywell Lyric™ offer similar features such as internet connectivity via your home’s Wi-Fi network, mobile apps for remote viewing and management, and “learning” features that let them auto-program themselves based on your habits.

Stay tuned for the next edition from the GAMA Air blog which will consider more to help you understand your options for installing a smart thermostat.

Have a question that just can’t wait? Click here: Ask An Expert, submit your question, and our resident expert will get back on the double!

Related Posts
  • How Your Heating System Works - Part 10 Read More
  • How Your Heating System Works - Part 8 Read More
  • How Your Heating System Works - Part 6 Read More