02 May Smart Thermostats – what you need to know
Centrally heating a home has never been easier. As domestic systems go, central heating has never been a particularly difficult process, nevertheless, we are always keen for technology to make things even more simple for us. Thanks to app-controlled smart thermostats, it is now possible to control your heating from wherever you are in the world, and with incredible accuracy. In this blog we’ll be discussing what makes smart thermostats ‘smart’, and how much they could help you save when used correctly.
Linking with your device
There are so many things that make these new thermostats ‘smarter’ than their more traditional counterparts. Firstly, smart thermostats can connect to a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer through an app. These apps have been developed to work in line with your heating system to create a schedule that can be personalised in every way possible. For example, if you walk the dog every Sunday and find one day it’s colder than expected, simply tell your app you want the heating to come on while you’re still out to make sure you come back to a cosy, warm home at the end of your stroll. These apps also have the ability to display your energy use in real time, so if you’re spending more than your preferable amount, you won’t have to wait until the bill comes through to make the changes necessary to ensure savings are made.
Getting to know you
Some smart thermostats have the potential to run completely independently. Google Nest, for example, is equipped with certain factors that allow it to learn all about your domestic behavior. It comes with a sensor that can detect when you’re home, when you wake up on a certain day of the week, and what temperature you prefer your house to be at different times of the year. The idea is that over time the device builds up enough data so that you never have to physically change your thermostat ever again. This thermostat does also come with the app and remote thermostat control as well, so whether you’re on the sofa and fancy upping the temperature, or if you’ve just landed in Spain and you’ve forgotten to turn off the heating, you can still do it from your smartphone.
Getting to know your home
Another thing that makes newer thermostats smarter is that the higher end models impressively retain information relating to individual rooms in the house. For example, smart thermostats are capable of learning how long each room takes to reach your desired temperature – so you can program it to make a specific area of the house an exact temperature at a given time. Your living room might have better insulation than your kitchen, for example, meaning it will heat up more quickly and efficiently. Smart thermostats have the ability to recognise this, and can change the time which the heating is activated accordingly. So if you want your living room to be 20 degrees at 8pm, and your kitchen to be 22 degrees at 7am when you wake up, the smart thermostat can do it all for you, and in the most efficient way possible.
How much could you save?
Despite all the flashy features that come with the installation of a smart thermostat, the bottom line is that it is an investment. They can cost from £199 to £300, and most homeowners will of course be looking for a return on this initial spend. British Gas have claimed that their ‘Hive’ smart thermostat is able to save ‘up to £150 per year’. Fellow smart meter ‘Netatmo’ has stated that users of their unit use 37% less energy on average, resulting in 37% less money spent on their final heating bill. This is based on a comparison with homes that are not very energy efficient, and therefore use energy somewhat wastefully, resulting in the statistics to appear as impressive as possible. If you are already very careful with your energy use or use a digital timer, the savings are likely to be much less, but nevertheless smart meters do have the potential to make savings in any scenario.
Although smart thermostats are a huge step forward in monitoring energy use, at the moment the savings for well insulated properties are not huge, however. If you are thinking of installing a smart thermostat in your home, the first step should be to assess what your home’s existing energy efficiency is like from the offset. If you have poor insulation and install a smart thermostat your energy use will still improve, but excess heat energy will still be escaping and wasted energy will still cost you. If you would like to speak with an insulation expert to see how your home’s insulation can be improved, contact us today by phone on 01656 818881 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.