Smart Thermostats, What Are They Good For?

A home’s heating and cooling system is among its most used appliances. The costs associated with heating and air conditioning can account for around 50 percent of a household’s monthly energy cost. Smart thermostats are a great way to cut down on some of this extra expense and to make your life much easier. They can be controlled remotely by an app, but make a lot of decisions on their own based on the information they gather.

Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

The Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat revolves around data collection. The thermostat comes with a remote sensor (with the option of adding more sensors to the system) that uses motion and temperature detection to accurately tell when you’re home and when you’re away, and adjusts its settings accordingly. Unlike other smart thermostats which may require that you pass in front of the thermostat for it to sense that you’re home, the Ecobee lets you put as many sensors around the house as you want. These sensors can also paint a more accurate picture of your home’s heating and cooling needs, by keeping track of the temperature in separate areas of your house or apartment. It can also sense when a room is unoccupied and deprioritize that room.

Ecobee is integrated natively with Amazon Echo, the Wi-Fi connected, always listening voice controlled speaker. This voice control is seamless, and lets you adjust the temperature with a simple verbal command. The Ecobee is compatible with 95% of HVAC systems. It is also compatible with Smartthings and Apple HomeKit and has an open API, which ultimately means that it can communicate with a wide range of smart devices. It takes about 45 minutes to install, and the company provides step-by-step videos to help you along.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Perhaps the most famous smart thermostat, the Nest Learning Thermostat is made by Nest Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, and Google. Like the Ecobee, it is a connected thermostat controlled by an app, but it also learns—finding out your heating and cooling patterns, turning off the central heating or air conditioner when not needed, and even figuring out the time needed to heat or cool your home to the desired temperature while taking the weather and other specifics into consideration. It remembers every input you make and will eventually start making changes for you.

The Nest app is able to work directly with your heating or cooling systems to analyze how they’re being used. It breaks down how your hardware acts every day so you can adjust your energy usage accordingly. By revealing days where your home was particularly energy efficient, and the reasons why, it enables you to make more educated decisions on how you program the thermostat. It can also decide whether or not to turn on the air conditioning or to just run the fans to circulate air by keeping track of the humidity levels in your home.

The Nest Thermostat is just one part of your heating and cooling system, but it can keep an eye on the rest of it. You’ll get an alert on your phone if there’s something wrong—like temperatures that are so low your pipes could burst. And if it looks like your furnace is acting up, the Nest Thermostat will send you an alert, so you’ll know your home is safe.

Installation takes about 30 to 45 minutes and shouldn’t involve much more than just connecting the wires from your existing thermostat. The Nest Thermostat is compatible with most HVAC systems and shouldn’t require a furnace replacement to work. If you have any trouble with the installation, Nest’s website can help you get in touch with a Nest Pro Installer.

Keen Home Smart Vents

Keen Home Smart Vents, connected vents that are compatible with the Nest Thermostat, allow you to personalize the temperature of individual rooms around your home using an app on your phone. A Nest Thermostat can communicate the current state of your HVAC system in real time with the Smart Vent system, giving it insight into how your home heats up and cools down, helping the Smart Vents to more intelligently meet your temperature and airflow needs.

Smart thermostats are a great investment. Both the Ecobee and the Nest will run you about $250, but more than make up for the cost in slashed energy bills.

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