What Is a Smart Thermostat and Why Would I Want One?

Basically, a smart thermostat is a programmable thermostat with extra “smart” features that make it easier and more convenient to use.

If a smart thermostat is just a better programmable thermostat, we need to first explain what a programmable thermostat is.

Smart thermostats vs. programmable thermostats

A programmable thermostat lets you set your temperature schedule for the week. So the thermostat will automatically adjust the temperature based on the day and time.

This gives you 2 big benefits:

  • More convenience and comfort: Now you don’t need to constantly fiddle with the thermostat at different times of the day. Also, you can come home and wake up to the perfect temperature.
  • Saves money: If you set the programmable thermostat properly, you could save up to $180 a year, according to ENERGY STAR. That means you’ll recoup the cost of the programmable thermostat in less than a year.

Unfortunately, some programmable thermostats are a pain to program. And they’re not customizable enough to adjust to many peoples’ irregular schedule or temperature setting habits.

That’s where smart thermostats come in. With their extra features, they’re much more user-friendly for homeowners—especially those with a hectic, hard-to-predict schedule.

Common smart thermostat features

Smart thermostats can usually do anything a programmable thermostat can, plus they:

Connect to the internet via Wi-Fi

Here’s what that means for you:

  • Updates itself—so you don’t have to.
  • Allows the thermostat to give you a weather forecast
  • Let’s you adjust the thermostat’s settings remotely. So if you go on vacation and a cold or warm front comes in, you can automatically change the thermostat to a better setting. A programmable thermostat can’t do that.

Work with a smartphone app

Many smart thermostats come with a complimentary app, giving you full control of your home’s comfort with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Track your energy usage

Ever wonder “How in the heck did we spend so much on heating/cooling?” Many smart thermostats monitor that for you. You can get graphs of your energy usage, displaying when you’re wasting money.

Two popular smart thermostats (plus our reviews)

Some of the latest popular smart thermostats include:

Nest 2.0

Its biggest “smart” feature: Programs itself so you don’t have to. Basically, it memorizes your temperature settings and, over time, automatically changes the temperature setting based on your past usage.

Cost: $249


Its biggest “smart” feature: Geo-fencing. This allows the Lyric thermostat to automatically adjust its settings based on your smartphone location. So it knows when you’re coming home from work and adjusts the temperature accordingly.

Cost: $280

“Can I install a smart thermostat myself?

It depends on 2 things:

  • Your level of comfort with wires
  • The smart thermostat you buy (For example, the Nest is relatively easy to install compared to Honeywell’s Prestige 2.0, which needs professional installation.)
    Whichever smart thermostat you choose, Coolray can install the smart thermostat for you if you live around the Atlanta metro area.

Coolray is your Atlanta-area home comfort expert with specialists in heating, air conditioning, air quality and plumbing. Have more questions? We’d be happy to help – just contact us online.

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