TLDR: A smart thermostat? Yes, buy one!
It has taken a while but practical and easy to use technology has finally made its way to the home HVAC thermostat, in what is now known as a smart thermostat. In the late 90s, the federal government passed legislation that required all new homes to come equipped with programmable thermostats. Setting these devices obligated owners to adhere to a strict, rigid schedule that showed no mercy to the realities of life. Not to mention they were about as easy to set up as programming a 1980s VCR. In fact, they were so complicated that the majority of homeowners set them improperly. This complicated user interface resulted in leaving the thermostat on a “HOLD” temperature much lower or higher than necessary. For those who had a Ph.D. in VCR programming, the schedule vs life issue still remained. Because people, because life, does not happen on a strict schedule. They were difficult to use and too rigid for use in a typical household of human beings. Fortunately, there are better options available now.
Here are five reasons why Nest, Ecobee, Lyric, and similar “smart thermostats” are superior:
- They have motion sensors. The rigid schedule initially set in the thermostat is used as a baseline, and over time, the motion sensor learns how to adapt.
- Smartphones connect to the thermostat allowing you to control the AC right from your handheld device. You can turn it off or on at any time. There are even cool apps available that make it possible for you to adjust your air conditioner from miles away. Imagine getting too hot or cold at night. Then picture the simplicity of reaching for your phone and achieving the perfect temperature without an awkward scamper to the thermostat.
- The proof is in the pudding. These smart thermostats offer data. You can look up HVAC run times and visualize on a graph how long your system is running. This information gives you the knowledge you need to know where you can cut back on the settings to save you money on your electric bill.
- They are simple to use and have a very intuitive interface. You no longer need a Ph.D. in VCR programming to enjoy an efficient desirable climate. The Nest is widely known for having the best interface. However, the Ecobee has remote temperature sensors that are awesome! A small cube placed on the wall wirelessly sends the room temperature to the Ecobee thermostat. You can program the thermostat to use the remote sensor temperature at night and during the day while averaging the two for the evening setting. It’s a smart way to simplify comfort at home.
- Modern Nest and Ecobee thermostats have an extra setting that focuses on optimizing fan circulation. Your typical programmable thermostats offer three positions for fan control: Off, On, and Auto. The On setting means the fan is running 100% of the time. The auto setting means the fan only runs when the AC or Heat is needed. Nest and Ecobee thermostats present another option, “circulate.” With this setting, it runs the fan a minimum number of minutes per hour that you can set. By circulating the air, filtration is increased, and it evens out any temperature differences across the home. This is great for allergies but can become pricey because running the fan consumes electricity. However, you can control how much it circulates so the power is in your hands.
- It gives you something to brag about at Starbucks or the watercooler at work.
Smart Thermostat Installation
Smart thermostat installation is easy and even if you do not feel comfortable doing it, it should cost you a maximum of $75.00 from a reputable HVAC contractor. And, even better, you can usually save money if you pair the installation with a regularly scheduled HVAC checkup.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me – Anthony – at 33 Solutions LLC!