Energy Savings, Convenience: What You Need to Know About Smart Thermostats
Make Your Home Smarter with Programmable Thermostats, Outdoor Reset Controls
New technology is changing the way we heat and cool our homes. Next-generation smart thermostats now enable you to set your heating and cooling on autopilot, or adjust settings from your computer or smartphone – and ultimately save money in the process.
Options today range from basic programmable thermostats to digital whole-home systems capable of monitoring humidity, indoor air quality and more. There are even systems that are designed to learn your behaviors and then do the programming for you, and systems equipped to provide information about your energy consumption in real time.
Top Benefits of Energy-Efficient Thermostats
The EPA’s Energy Star program reports that homes with programmable or smart thermostats can save up to $180 per year on heating and cooling. That’s because it is easier than ever to program your system to shut off or work less hard while you’re asleep or at work.
The “set it and forget” convenience of smart thermostats frees you from the need to remember to constantly adjust your heat or AC. You’ll never need to worry that you’re wasting money because your system is unnecessarily blasting out hot or cool air all day.
Nowadays the smartest of these smart controls are capable of responding to indoor humidity levels and connecting to indoor air quality devices such as carbon monoxide detectors and energy recovery ventilators, mechanical ventilation systems that remove stale or polluted air from homes and replace it with fresh outdoor air. Some of the most sophisticated devices are able to provide a complete profile of your home atmosphere and make recommendations for optimal health and comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there any rebates available for smart thermostats?
A: Absolutely. State and federal governments offer incentives for people to use this energy-saving technology. Your HVAC contractor can help you identify rebates you may be eligible for and even get you started in the application process.
Q: What if you are not good at programming things, how hard or easy is it?
A: Programming your wall-mounted thermostat using the buttons on the device is easier than ever. And, as you might expect, the apps that enable you to control your system from your smartphone tend to be even more user friendly.
Q: I’ve heard about the Nest smart thermostat and am curious to learn more. Does Heritage offer this system?
A: Yes, Heritage is an authorized Nest dealer and we’d love to talk with you about this exciting new technology. We also work very closely with Honeywell, which manufactures an impressive range of smart thermostat products and systems that are ideal for any home.
Q: What are outdoor reset controls and how do they help?
A: Outdoor reset controls automatically adjust your home’s boiler temperature based on the outdoor temperature, the idea being that heating your home to 70 degrees on a 50-degree day requires less energy than heating your home to 70 on a 10-degree day. An outdoor reset control saves energy by sensing the outdoor air temperature and then regulating the amount of heat your boiler makes based on actual demand rather than full capacity.
Q: What are the most efficient thermostat settings for heating and air conditioning?
A: In the summer, the ideal is the highest temperature at which you feel comfortable. For many people this ranges from about 75 to 78 degrees, according to the Department of Energy. In the winter, the DOE suggests, you can save energy by setting the thermostat to 68 while you’re awake and lower while you’re asleep or away from home.