When digital thermostats debuted in the 1980s, there were a lot of buttons and directions involved to program them to cool the house the way you wanted.
As a result, most people never bothered to try. (This was the era of the blinking VCR clock, after all.) Thirty years later, they still weren’t trying as only about 12 percent report ever programming their systems.
So, it’s understandable if you’ve been putting off a thermostat upgrade because a smart thermostat sounds a little intimidating. Fortunately, the wifi thermostat has evolved a lot in the past decade, becoming much easier to use and the hub of a smart home.
Adding one to your Lowcountry home allows you to take the most advantage of the efficiency of your HVAC system. Here are just a few of the benefits of a smart thermostat to consider if you plan to upgrade.
1. Convenience Features
Set-and-forget worked okay in the first programmable versions as long as your schedule was consistent time-wise. But as our lives have become less predictable, a smart thermostat has evolved to learn your preferences and set a flexible schedule for you.
It usually takes a week’s worth of usage data for a smart system to start programming itself around your habits. It learns your schedule as well as temperature preferences to determine when to run the system.
Remote sensors in different rooms allow you to balance hot and cold areas of the house. Because the thermostat connects to sensors around the house, it doesn’t make temp decisions solely based on the air in the vicinity of the control. Some sensors can even be set to tell if someone’s in the room or if it can go ahead and turn the air off in that room.
You can also take advantage of geofencing, which is when the app on your phone lets the system know you’re on your way home. The smart thermostat can be set to wait to adjust temperatures until it gets that notification to minimize the amount of time it runs the heat or AC.
We love the Trane ComfortLink II as a great example of how a smart thermostat can accomplish all this. The ComfortLink can detect temperature and humidity and adjust the compressor and fan speeds in real-time. You stay comfortable without having to get involved.
Given time, your thermostat will be programming itself and you can go back to forgetting about it.
2. Remote Control
By definition, programmable thermostats are smart, but to get the most out of them, you need to make sure you get one that’s WiFi-enabled. That’s the difference between a smart vs WiFi thermostat, although you’ll see the terms used interchangeably.
Smart means the thermostat can learn over time to adjust to your habits, while WiFi has the additional benefit of allowing you to connect remotely to control it through an app. This remote control is one of the biggest benefits of a smart home.
As your thermostat learns your patterns, it might know that you always come home late on Tuesdays. If your regular schedule changes and you’ll be home earlier, you can use the app to change the temperature manually so the house is comfortable by the time you arrive.
Smart thermostats increasingly come with direct connections to a smart home hub like Alexa or Google Assistant. This allows you to request temperature changes with verbal commands. You can have the system warm-up your studio space so it’s cozy when you’re ready to work.
Our example Trane ComfortLink II can even serve as your smart home hub through the built-in Nexia Bridge. You can use it to remotely monitor and control the temperature on a zone-by-zone basis with your phone, tablet, or computer.
With a WiFi link as part of your system, you can control it from anywhere in the world as long as you have an internet connection.
3. Money-Saving Insights
We all love saving money, and it tends to be a big factor in why our clients upgrade their HVAC to more efficient systems. After all, the average home spends half of its energy bills just on heating and cooling. Adding in a smart thermostat improves your ability to heat and cool efficiently.
That’s where the smart part comes into play because saving money and using less energy is all about figuring out when to make adjustments. And with sensors and zones, the system can even decide where makes the most sense.
Most smart thermostats can log equipment use and temperature data to let you track and manage energy usage. Some can be set to send you reminders for service or air filter changes.
All of these are great for helping you estimate future energy costs and see how efficiently your equipment is operating. This means you’ll also see if it suddenly stops being so efficient.
The Trane ComfortLink II provides diagnostic data through the Nexia Diagnostics system and dashboard. Not only will it highlight any issues, but it can also alert us here at Carolina Climate Control so we can schedule a visit to check on it before anything breaks, and you’re left sweating.
Get a Smart Thermostat Upgrade
Today’s smart thermostat learns your preferences and anticipates your needs while managing your HVAC to deliver the most energy efficiency. It handles everything for you for maximum convenience while still allowing you complete control no matter where you are.
If you’d like to upgrade your thermostat in 2021, give us a call to talk about the Trane ComfortLink or other smart thermostat. Our Charleston customers find it a great way to optimize the performance of their systems and one of the best smart home devices to invest in.