Thermostats are amazing and can make your home so much more comfortable overall. They are able to cool down your home in warm climates or warm your home when it’s cold. Some thermostats are even able to save money on electricity. Programmable thermostats are also good at saving power, but they are quite complicated to program for many buyers. That’s where smart thermostats come in.
Smart Thermostats have easy to use controls and feature touchscreen displays that ease the programming process. They can come with internet connectivity via WiFi that allow you to change temperatures at home from elsewhere. They also can learn the local weather forecasts and program your preferred settings with sensors and artificial intelligence. You can also find programmable models that don’t offer internet connectivity but are still easy to use.
If you’re looking for an upgrade for your current thermostat, here’s what you need to keep in mind.
1. A low voltage thermostat (24v)
Smart Thermostats are generally compatible with only “low voltage” 24v HVAC type of systems. It is important to ensure that the HVAC is compatible if you want to hook up smart thermostats. Options like central heat or central air systems are generally low voltage HVACs. If your systems are not compatible, your thermostat is absolutely useless. Ensure that you use compatibility checking tools to ensure that your smart thermostats are compatible.
2. Wiring needs
You need to check if you have enough wires to ensure that you can go for Smart Thermostats. You need a wire to plug into the C terminus for continuous power. WiFi connectivity needs more power than programmable or mechanical variants. If you don’t have enough wires, you can install one, use an adapter or choose a different model. It is not always easy to determine if you have enough wires. You can look behind the wall or furnace or order new ones or consult a professional.
3. Take high resolution photos of the wire
People often skip the step in the installation process/take blurry photos. It is important that the photos are high resolution to help you put the old thermostat back on. If something goes wrong, it can be a blessing to undo all the steps. If you need customer support, they will also have something easy to work with.
4. Think about the wall
It is crucial to think about what happens to the wall when you get a new thermostat. If your wall is white or your new thermostat is bigger, it isn’t a problem. In other homes, wall repair projects can be a cost factor when upgrading thermostats. Wallpaper damage, mismatched paint are just some of the things that can go wrong. Smart thermostats are generally shipped with wall plates so that any mismatched paint is reduced and damages are revealed.
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5. Having proper tools
You will need to have proper tools like wire cutters and strippers before you start the installation process. You may accidentally snap tips off and need to make new tips suitable for the new thermostat. Wire cutters and strippers with the right guage holes can make the installation process much smoother.
6. Hiring a pro
Professionals not only help install the new thermostat but help in doing other work as well like-
- Servicing the HVAC system
- Running new wires or installing a C wire as needed
- Relocating the thermostat
- Other electrical work
A professional can help if you are not confident about the task. They can also be a good choice if you want it done professionally without having to worry.
Types of smart thermostats
There are a number of different types of smart thermostats available in the market.
These models rely on algorithmic-based learning. Basic parameters for schedule can be inserted, but they learn schedules with time and automatically adapt to changes. Some can switch to energy efficient modes if the motion and light sensors aren’t triggered. Over time, these models can learn when you stay out and adjust the schedule accordingly.
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Geofencing models uses your phone’s geofencing feature to indicate whether you are at home or not. These can sense where you are in a set radius and adjust temperature accordingly. However, these can be problematic for families that share the app or if you work near your home.
These models rely on motion and proximity sensors. When you are near, the machine automatically turns on. When you are gone for some time, it switches on sleep modes. This can be very effective if placed in a part of the house accessed regularly. While the remote sensors are fairly accurate, if you are not walking around triggering the sensors, these models can assume that you are not home.
Schneider Electric Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Comfort Boost- White, Compatible with Alexa.
Is a smart thermostat for you?
Smart thermostats are becoming an inseparable part of smart homes. Some models integrate artificial intelligence for making the process more integrated. They also offer channels for advanced home automation rules. Thermostats can also come with cool features like voice control. However, while programmable thermostats can be quite cheap, smart models are quite steeply priced, between $150-$250. Though you save on the electricity bill, the upfront cost does take quite some time to even out. Ultimately it boils down to personal preferences and what you want your home to be. While temperature control may be very convenient, it doesn’t mean you need to spend a ton on it. Picking something that fits your set budget and offers the features you are looking for specifically is crucial.