Has your old thermostat been acting up, chilling you to the bone in winter by turning on the AC or, even worse, failing to turn on at all? Even if things aren’t as bad as that, the convenience of managing your home’s temperature from anywhere in a lot of different ways sounds appealing, and that’s something an older thermostat model just isn’t capable of.
A smart thermostat is a sound upgrade and a logical step in home automation evolution. It keeps the temperature from fluctuating, can adapt to the weather, time of day and your habits, not to mention help protect the environment by lowering emissions, energy loss and needless spending.
Which smart thermostat to buy though? Good question! There are many smart thermostats out there clamoring for your attention, while some or most of them might not fit all of your needs.
Rather than suggesting a brand and model outright, here are a few factors which you should look at that offer a broad overview of what to expect when hunting for a smart thermostat, and what impact they can have on your final purchase.
Key Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing What Kind of Smart Thermostat Should You Buy
What kind of smart features do you need?
It’s important to note right from the start that smart thermostats don’t all work on the same principle, or at least the way they handle temperature regulation doesn’t. Do you want as little involvement as possible?
Then get one which learns over time and adapts on its own. Are you a person that likes to have precise control over their home’s temperature all the time?
Then a smart thermostat with advanced scheduling options that lets you plan out the temperature for every single hour of any day in the week sounds perfect.
If you don’t wish to splurge on a thermostat with an AI and can’t be bothered to tinker with a schedule, motion sensors are the right way to go. A thermostat equipped with these is able to sense and react to movement and its absence.
As long as nothing is stirring (and you’ve activated the appropriate mode), the thermostat will be offline, saving energy. Once you wake up or get back home, the motion sensors alert it to your presence and voila, a temperate atmosphere is created in no time.
A C wire (or lack thereof)
This is the thing you need to be most mindful of when installing a smart thermostat. Usually the red wire is the one responsible for supplying the thermostat with power, but it doesn’t do so continuously.
Some modern thermostats require constant power this wire doesn’t provide, and that’s where the C or Common wire comes into play.
Newly-built houses have these installed already. Older ones might not and paying someone to do it can set you back almost as much as the thermostat itself.
Luckily, there are thermostats out there that run on regular or rechargeable batteries, making the C wire a non-issue.
The most expensive smart thermostats are those that learn your daily patterns and adjust the temperature based off of that, so if cutting-edge technology interests you, they’re the clear winner. On the other hand, cheaper thermostats lack only that feature or some other specific one like integration with HomeKit, so if you couldn’t care less for that, there’s a pretty penny to be saved from the get-go.
When used correctly, even the priciest smart thermostat will pay for itself, so price becomes a matter of how soon you want to start turning a profit on it.
With these broad guidelines in mind, upgrading your home with a smart thermostat should become easier. Now is a great time to get one as their technologies’ early kinks have been worked out and there are solid cheap alternatives as well as well-known brands in the market, all offering the promise of a cozier, more efficient home.
Whichever thermostat you decide is right, do remember that most of them are compatible only with North American HVAC systems. Other alternatives for markets like the UK and Germany do exist, however.
These are compatible with these countries’ specific means of heating like radiators and floor heating, and are worth researching further if you happen to live there.