Do Smart Thermostats Save Money?

Man is Adjusting a temperature using a tablet with smart home app

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If you have been considering installing a smart thermostat in your home or office but are unsure whether you should make the change or not, there are several things you should consider. This smart technology offers great features that can make your home heating and cooling simpler and more efficient, and it can help you save energy, which means you can save money too.

In fact, some homes can save as much as $200 each year when using a smart thermostat instead of a programmable one, and even more than this when comparing it to a manual thermostat. And it is very quick and easy to use a smart thermostat because it does all the thinking!

Below, we are going to take a look at what a smart thermostat is, how it works, and how it can save you money every year. So without further ado, let’s get right to it.

What Exactly is a Smart Thermostat?

Before we jump into how smart thermostats can save you money, let’s have a look at what these devices are and what they do.

Most of us are aware of what a thermostat is, but when we think of them, often we are thinking of old, non-programmable manual thermostats. In fact, many of us still have those in our homes and offices to control heating and cooling.

Once you have set it up, a smart thermostat allows you to select specific heating and cooling schedules so that the temperature is adjusted based on your preferences and lifestyle habits. For example, you can set the heating to switch off when you are at work and switch back on 30 minutes before you get back home.

This is the case for both programmable and smart thermostats. The difference comes in the control you have over a smart system. If you are running late at work, or will be home earlier than expected, you can change the settings on your thermostat from your phone, tablet, or computer as the thermostat connects to your home Wi-Fi.

How Do Smart Thermostats Save Money

So let’s get to the part of the article you are here for – how your smart thermostat can put money back in your pocket.

The Thermostat Learns Your Behaviors

A smart thermostat says it all in the name – it is smart. And one of the main reasons they are so smart is that they learn your lifestyle habits and behaviors. You start by programming your desired settings and temperatures.

Over time, the thermostat observes your habits and learns when you are home and when you are at work, and adjusts the temperatures based on the time of day. The system can also automatically adjust the temperature settings to get your home to the ideal temperature for when you arrive home.

What this means is that you don’t pay for heating or cooling while you are out of the house. But you get the upside that your home temperature will be at the desired comfort level by the time you get back home.

It Monitors Your Usage

The two-way communication between the app and your smart thermostat means you can always monitor your energy usage, collect data, and check in on it 24/7. The remote interface shows the energy used within a month and can also estimate the cost.

From the app, you can also make adjustments manually or you can allow the system to make the changes based on your habits. The key is in the data. The more information you have, the simpler it is for you to change the temperature and monitor how it impacts your energy bill.

It Works Hard When You’re Not Home

Most smart systems switch to an energy-saving setting when you are out, which means you will automatically save energy when you are away. The smart unit does this by using sensors so it knows when someone is in the house or when there is no movement.

Some units will even have a geo-tracking feature that lets the system know when your phone is out of the house, telling the system to initiate energy-saving mode. If you are out for longer (e.g. a weekend away or a vacation overseas), you can switch the system off, and then use the app to turn it back on when you are on your way back home. You can also use the technology to turn on the system if the temperatures get too low or high to prevent issues like frozen pipes.

How To Save Even More Money

The amount you can save will depend on your specific preferences and situation. It will also differ from one system to another, as well as based on region climate, energy rates, and your preferences.

It is tough to give an accurate estimate for savings for each homeowner, but there are some cases that can help you save more. Here are a few additional scenarios to consider when saving more money.

  • Homes that have higher energy costs, or those that experience extremes in cold or hot weather will see the biggest savings percentage using a smart thermostat.
  • Houses with a zoned smart thermostat system have increased control over temperatures in each room, showing you where you spend the most in energy.
  • If you have a vacation or weekend home, installing a smart system can save you hundreds of dollars because you can switch it to energy-saving mode when no one is there.
  • You can save more money by lowering the temperature in your home in winter or increasing the temperature during summer when you are out of the house.
Young woman regulating heating temperature with a modern wireless thermostat

How Much Money Can a Smart Thermostat Save?

This is a hard one, and as we mentioned earlier, it depends on many factors. So let’s begin by looking at a few basics.

Home heating accounts for a whopping 41% – 63% of your energy bill. The average smart thermostat can save around 12% – 20%, with models like Ecobee estimating savings up to 23%.

It’s vital to keep in mind that smart thermostats can only save as much as you allow them to save. It is a game of small wins that add up to fairly substantial savings on your bill. For each 1.8° F that you lower your temperature over 8 hours, you save 2% on your bill. While this doesn’t seem like much, let’s break this down:

We will assume you are out of your home for around 8 – 9 hours each day, and that you sleep 7 – 8 hours. Heating each room in your home takes time, which we will factor in below.

If you lower the temperature by 14.5° F when you are out of the house, and by 7.2° F at night when you are sleeping, you can save around 18% on your heating costs.

Final Thoughts

It is fair to say that you can definitely get the same benefits and results using a programmable thermostat, but it will take a lot more thought and effort. You will need to be very diligent about how you adjust the thermostat, schedule, and settings. This is why it is simpler to use a smart thermostat. It is easier on your planning and your wallet.

Don’t waste any more money heating or cooling your home when it stands empty during the day or over weekends. By using a smart thermostat, you will always have complete control over your home’s HVAC needs.

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

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