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SMART Thermostats that are flying off the shelves

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By: Brian Humenuk, This Informed Life
Updated on July 11, 2023
6 minute read

Let’s face it a SMART home thermostat can make our lives easier, keep us comfortable and save us money. Their use of technology makes for a great investment, but one needs to be careful to buy the right one because the consequences are wasted time and money. Reading this article on SMART home thermostats couldn’t be a smarter place to start your journey.

 

We happily took a dive into some research to find the best SMART home thermostats. It’s what we do best so that we can help you make an informed decision.

In case you want to jump right to our recommendations we get it and you can do that by clicking here or just scroll down, but if you want to continue on in this 5 minute or less information packed article on SMART home thermostats keep on going. We think you will come out more informed and have no regrets reading the information that we have provided.  

1. What to look for when buying a smart home thermostat?


Convenience Features
There are optional smart thermostat features that provide additional convenience, and they are brands usually reserved for premium models. While they're not essential, these are desirable features that can make a thermostat smarter and help reduce a home's heating and cooling costs. A good example of this is a filter change alert, a feature that alerts you when it's time to change the filter in your air conditioning unit or furnace. The feature relies on measuring how long the filter has been in use and comparing that time to the manufacturer's recommended lifespan.

While often overlooked, intuitive controls and a backlit display should be top considerations when researching smart thermostats. These features make setting up the device and adjusting settings easier. A clear, backlit screen and an intuitive interface also present essential HVAC information in an easy-to-read format.

Zoned heating is a standout feature on smart thermostats, providing benefits that are immediately obvious. It allows you to set different temperatures for different parts of your home. This multi-room feature is especially useful for large homes. A multi-zone smart thermostat can further reduce heating and cooling costs by turning off air quality systems in unoccupied parts of your house. It also saves you the cost of getting multiple thermostats to control different parts of your home.

​Make your shopping decision easy by going with the thermostat that helps reduce your electricity bill the most and makes your home smarter. To find the right model, consider compatibility, wiring requirements and smart thermostat features that make the device truly smart and convenient to use.

2. Is it worth it to get a smart home thermostat?​​

According to amigoenergy.com a SMART home thermostat can save you up to 23% on your utility bills. This savings that your receive also gets passed on to the environment as less energy is needed to be produced for your home.

The savings come from both the programmable features, learning features and remote use of your SMART home thermostat.

Buying the right SMART home thermostat can save you money and pay for itself in just a years time. So yes buying a SMART home thermostat is worth it’s cost and is a smart decision for a homeowner.

3. What is the difference between a smart home thermostat and a programmable home thermostat?

A SMART home thermostat allows you to control your home's heating remotely over an internet connection or via a mobile app. Certain SMART home thermostats also have features that learn about your families comfort and make adjustments as time goes on.

A programmable only thermostat is just that. You are able to enter days and times in which you want your thermostat to make it warmer, cooler or even enter into eco mode. A programmable thermostat without wifi connectivity does not allow you to control your homes temperature remotely and offer other features that connect it to your smart device.

3. Do smart home thermostats lower the electric bill?

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4. What are learning features on a smart home thermostat?

Learning features on a SMART home thermostat are usually what ultimately win over reluctant homeowners still festering with the question: is a smart thermostat worth it?

The ability to learn your preferences without manual programming is why smart thermostats are popular Internet of Things (IoT) devices found in smart homes. A smart thermostat relies on its sensors to learn your habits and adjust heating and cooling accordingly.

An example of this is, Wi-Fi thermostats will learn when you wake up, go to work, return home and go to bed to provide the right ambient home temperatures for specific times of day.

A SMART home thermostat uses these pieces of information for pattern recognition to set up a routine. When the device senses no movement for an extended period, it infers that no one is home then goes into Away Mode or ECO mode on some thermostats. These automated energy-saving benefits add up to savings and ultimately settle the debate when weighing the pros and cons of a SMART home thermostat.

5. What is the geofencing feature on a smart home thermostat?

Geofencing is one of many cost-saving smart thermostat features to look for when shopping for a new thermostat.
A model with geofencing lets you set a virtual border around your home. When you cross the invisible border, it triggers an action from your smart thermostat, such as lowering the heat or turning on the central air conditioning unit.

Geofencing relies on GPS and usually tracks to the location of your cell phone. Set up a geofence about a few miles from your home if you'd like your smart thermostat to begin a pre-programmed routine whether you’re coming home or leaving for the day.
Another feature the SMART home thermostat has that is similar to the geofencing one is the sensors that seek movement in order to tell if there is anyone home or not. The geofencing and sensor features contribute to cost savings because they have the ability to place the hvac system into ECO mode.

6. Do SMART home thermostats need wifi?

There is no straight forward answer to this question. If you do not have wifi and purchase a SMART home thermostat then you will not be able to use much of the benefits in which the wifi connection will provide to you.

The thermostat will still work without wifi connectivity however the advanced features that make it SMART will not work.

Furthermore, purchasing a SMART home thermostat without wifi would be a poor decision especially where there are a number of programmable thermostats on the market which you can see by clicking here and don’t require wifi.

If your question was related to will my SMART home thermostat still work if my wifi goes down the answer to this question is Yes, the thermostat will continue to operate your heating and/or cooling system even when your WiFi network is down.

7. Can I use a smart home thermostat without a C-wire?

SMART home thermostats and programmable home thermostats commonly require what’s known as a C-wire, but some homes may not have one. If you come to realize that you don’t have a C-wire don’t worry to much about it as there are options that will allow you to use a SMART thermostat in most cases.

Running without a C-wire entirely requires that another source of power needs to be supplied to the thermostat. There are three ways you can use a thermostat without a c-wire, and I have recommendations for each of these options below.
Run the thermostat on batteries

Using an internal rechargeable battery, or plain old AA or AAA batteries, a thermostat can maintain the power it needs to run it’s smarts without any external power source. The biggest issue here is limited power availability which can reduce the available features, and the need to replace them fairly often.
Use a ‘c-wire adapter’

Some smart thermostats come with a c-wire adapter. This is a small device that is wired into your HVAC control board and allows the thermostat to draw power via some of the other wires that you do have available. You’ll still need to have certain wires running to your thermostat, but these are the more common ones that will usually be available even if you don’t have the C-wire.
Use an external power pack

The last resort is to simply use a 24V AC power pack that plugs into the wall. This is wired into your thermostat wiring terminals the same as a c-wire would be and provides the same power. The downside with this approach is that it’s a bit unsightly as you have to run wires from the thermostat to a nearby power socket.

The following SMART home thermostats are recommended to you by This Informed Life that do not require C-wires

Most thermostats are wired into the HVAC control board via a number of thin, colored wires. These thermostats are 24V low voltage devices that draw power from the control board of your heating or cooling system. The wire that delivers that return circuit for the thermostat itself is known as the C-wire, or Common wire.

Smart thermostats generally require one of these as they have higher power draw requirements due to the need to run on-board smarts, Wi-Fi radios, and fancy displays.

8. Can I install a SMART home thermostat myself or do I need to hire someone?

All of the SMART home thermostats we recommend here in this blog are sent to you with informative DIY instructions. Granted we all have different capabilities when it comes down to installing products in our homes but a SMART home thermostat is a product that the majority of home owners can install successfully.

​You Tube is a great place to find help from other Do It Yourselfers who may have installed the very same SMART home thermostat that you are installing.

If you need to hire a professional to install your SMART home thermostat the cost should be minimal.

Whenever you set out to buy yourself something new that utilizes components you should do your research on that product so that you can make an informed purchasing decision.

10. What makes a Smart home thermostat ENERGY STAR certified?

ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostats are required to do a number of things in order to get the ENERGY STAR ticket of approval.

They are required to work as a basic thermostat in absence of connectivity to the service provider.

They are required to give residents some form of feedback about the energy consequences of their settings.

They are required to provide information about HVAC energy use, such as monthly run time.

They are required to provide the ability to set a schedule.

They are required to provide the ability to work with utility programs to prevent brownouts and blackouts, while preserving consumers’ ability to override those grid requests.

More information can be found by following this link https://www.energystar.gov/products/heating_cooling/smart_thermostats/key_product_criteria#:~:text=ENERGY%20STAR%20certified%20smart%20thermostats,such%20as%20monthly%20run%20time.

To energystar.gov

11. Why is a smart thermostat better than a regular thermostat?

SMART home thermostats sure do look a whole lot better with their colorful displays, ability to change the look of the display along with their ability to show you what the weather is outside.

They connect to wifi and deliver some key enhancements that save you money all the while keeping your home comfortable.

Leaving regular thermostats in the rear view these new SMART thermostats can be controlled while you are away, have the ability to be programmed and some offer something pretty clever called geofencing so that your comfort can be achieved before you arrive home and not a minute sooner or later.

12. SMART home thermostat product information and reviews

Whenever you set out to buy yourself something new that utilizes components you should do your research on that product so that you can make an informed purchasing decision without wasting your hard earned money.

Sometimes a company will tell you that their product has certain features but the testing and reviews of that same product tell a different story especially over time as the product is used over and over day after day.

A SMART home thermostat is the brain of your heating and cooling system essentially telling it when to turn on and for how long. It is a vital component in your home and a vital component in your SMART home.

It is important to buy a SMART home thermostat that comes with a reputable name that is time tested and will last you years. All of the SMART home thermostats that we recommend here come with a quality time tested name and models that have been out there in the field working for quite some time with very minimal issues.

We also look at and weigh a products quality or lack of quality along with it’s price tag. In other words what is the best bang for the buck.

Any product that we feature here on This Informed Life has been researched, information about the product has been gathered and reviews have been read. We have done the legwork for you and have given you our top choices for purchasing a Smart Thermostat.

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