Being Smart About Smart Thermostats

Posted By : Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 17, 2017

Question

Trying to decide which smart thermostat to install in my home.

Answer

This question was answered on August 17, 2017.

Programmable thermostats have been around for a long time and provided you take the time to actually program them, they can save you money.

‘Smart’ thermostats take energy saving to another level because they don’t solely rely on your initial programming.

The main ways that they can save you money is by detecting when no one is home and automatically adjusting the temperature to your lower energy ‘away’ setting and by allowing you to remotely control them.

Heating or cooling your home when no one is home will add up over a year’s time, which is why a lot of these smart devices can pay for themselves over time.

Nest – The Learning Thermostat
Nest was the first real advance in smart thermostats because of its sleek design, simple interface and it’s unique approach to the programming portion of the setup.

Instead of sitting down to guess what temperature to set for each day and day-part, the Nest system simply has you adjust the temperature the way you would an old-school thermostat and automatically builds a schedule for you.

Nest also has a built-in motion sensor that helps it determine when no one is home, so it can automatically change the thermostat to a pre-designated ‘away’ temperature.

This is a huge benefit to anyone that has an irregular schedule but it also helps Nest ‘learn’ your patterns for better scheduling.

Nest was acquired by Google a couple of years ago and has become their platform for the smart home.

If you have or want to include Nest security cameras, smoke/CO detectors, smart lights, doorbells and control everything with voice commands via the Google Home smart speaker, you can see all the offerings at https://store.nest.com.

EcoBee – With Remote Sensors
The EcoBee thermostats (https://ecobee.com) don’t have the ‘learning’ ability of the Nest, but they do have the same motion sensing capabilities.

For those that have larger homes, having a single motion sensor like the Nest offers may not be the best way to monitor movement.

EcoBee offers various models that include remote sensors that can be placed in the rooms that you use the most.  This is helpful for those that might work for long periods of time in a home office, for example. 

The recently launched EcoBee4 system also has a built-in microphone and native support for Amazon’s voice-technology, so it extends your ‘Alexa’ voice command range in the house.

Honeywell – Value Options
Honeywell has a long track record in the thermostat business, but they lack some of the ‘smart’ sophistication of the other two.

If you’re looking for lower cost options with remote controls and programmability, there are many options to choose from at: https://goo.gl/5hjNa4

Installation and Compatibility
Installation can range from simple to a complete nightmare depending upon the age of your HVAC system and your technical skills, so proceed accordingly.

If you plan on expanding your smart home to other devices, make sure you review the compatibility of the thermostat with the smart platforms you are interest in using. 

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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 17, 2017

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