Summer is just around the corner and the search for new ways to stay cool is in full swing. But is it possible to keep your house cool without blowing your electric bill each month? As a matter of fact, it is!
Smart thermostats are the latest trend in the ever-advancing smart home technology field. They give you the freedom to customize your home’s climate schedule with a tap on your smart phone screen, even from miles away. Once you get a taste of this user-friendly luxury, it is admittedly hard to go back to your old thermostat system.
But are smart thermostats just an overpriced convenience? Studies tell us that on average, Americans spend around half of their electricity bill on heating and cooling their house. This means that during the peak temperature spikes each season the cost of your electricity bill surges upward, while your thermostat fights to beat the outside temperatures. Many smart thermostats, however, are programmed to learn your preferences and calculate the most efficient ways to keep your house cozy while saving you money.
But before you make your decision to buy a smart thermostat, it is important to clarify some of the biggest differences between the average thermostat you see and the smart thermostat you are thinking about purchasing.
Your average thermostat is the panel in the hallway that controls your AC and heater. In the summer, most people set it to maintain a lower inside temperature than they typically set during the colder autumn and winter months. Once this process is initiated, the thermostat tells the AC to kick in when the inside temperature rises above the set temperature. Once the two temperatures match, the AC off. This prevents the cold air from continuously cooling down the house long after it has reached its desired temperature.
The same thing happens during the winter months when you turn on your heater, but this time the thermostat tells the heater to kick in when the inside temperature drops below the set temperature on the thermostat. The heater eventually turns off once the inside temperature matches the thermostat’s programming and it waits for the cue from the thermostat to turn on again.
Unlike a regular thermostat that can only be changed by walking up to the control panel and flipping a switch, smart thermostats can also be controlled from an app on your smart phone, allowing you adjust the climate from virtually anywhere in the world. This app allows you to set the time of day you’d like the house to heat up or cool down based on the time you typically come home from work or when the kids get home from school, etc. Many smart thermostat apps even let you adjust the climate controls based on which rooms of the house the most used so that you never spend too much on your electric bill by heating and cooling areas of your home that are hardly used. Another customizable feature lets you set your smart thermostat to adjust the temperature based on the current weather forecast in your city to achieve more efficient temperature adjustments.
Another benefit of owning a smart thermostat is the energy saving information it compiles for you. It keeps track of the amount of energy being expended to heat or cool your home while giving you a comparison of how much energy the average American household expends, and in some cases compares your usage to that of other homes in your neighborhood. They offer suggestions on how you can better save energy in your household based on your current usage and where you are succeeding in reducing your footprint. Some models notify you when issues with your A/C unit arise or when your air filter needs changing, helping you to stay on top of maintenance before it becomes a problem.
But if all of this seems a little overwhelming, fear not, for these customizable features are optional conveniences. If you would rather take a more hands-off approach, many of these Wi-Fi connected models can learn your habits and activity patterns over time and will automatically adjust the climate controls based upon your schedule. All you have to do is open the app, set the temperature to your liking, and give it a couple of weeks to learn your preferences by tweaking it every now and then to help it along. It will gather data on your adjustment patterns and begin to initiate them automatically so that you have one less thing to worry about when you are running late for work.
Cost vs. Benefits
Now that you know a bit more about what smart thermostats can do for you, how much does it cost to install one in your home? Will it really save you money in the long run? Let’s take a moment to break this down.
- The price of each smart thermostat model varies, but generally they tend to go anywhere from $100 – $500, depending on the brand and style you decide on.
- Another cost you will need to consider is the cost to have someone install it for you. Professional installs typical cost an additional $100 – $250, though some individuals may charge as much as $400, so make sure to get a quote upfront before going through with this service from a particular company.
However, not every smart thermostat needs a complex installation – there are many devices on the market that come with easy-to-install instructions that make it possible for most individuals to do it themselves, but you may need to purchase specific tools to get the job done. Make sure you read up on how to install your smart device before you purchase it so that you know what you are getting into.
Once your new smart thermostat has been installed and programmed correctly, you are all set! If you are already a conscientious energy saver, you might not see as many savings as other households do due to the effort you meticulously exert to keep your electric bill is clearly paying off. But if you are someone who would find this approach exhausting, adding a smart thermostat into your life may save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. Some great ways you can save additionally on the cost of installing a smart thermostat system include checking for incentives offered by your state or local government for installing a smart thermostat in the form of rebates, as well as checking with your local energy provider for any discounts they may provide to customers who switch. Once again, do your research in these areas if you are looking to save even more when switching your home to a smart thermostat system.
Smart thermostats are poised to become the norm in energy efficient living and have the significant benefits of being thoroughly customizable and incredible cost-effective. When faced with the decision to stay with an outdated and inconvenient system of heating and cooling your home – which ends up costing you money in the long run – or change over to a smart alternative that adapts to your lifestyle and works hard to save your well-earned paycheck, the choice is clear.
Installing a smart thermostat in your home will change the way you interact with your environment and it will improve your budget. The long-term gains far outweigh the upfront costs of installment and research has shown that your smart thermostat will pay for itself over and over again. Deciding to purchase a smart thermostat may just be one of the best decisions you will ever make.
Google Nest is one of the most popular smart thermostats on the market right now due to its easy-to-use interface and intuitive climate control. If you are interested in installing a smart thermostat like Nest in your home, give us a call and we’ll help you find out if your HVAC is compatible with today’s smart thermostat technology. We proudly serve the residents of Modesto, California and the greater Central Valley.