Do smart thermostats save money?
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A smart thermostat is a programmable digital thermostat that connects to a home’s Wi-Fi or Z-Wave, a wireless network used by some smart homes, to provide automation features that can help homeowners save energy. money on their energy bills.
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For example, some smart thermostats can sense when a home is unoccupied and adjust the temperature accordingly or use the owner’s phone’s GPS to know when to adjust the temperature to a more comfortable setting before arriving home. Some send the homeowner a monthly energy usage report so they can make adjustments to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills.
These extras come at a cost. Whether basic or sophisticated, smart thermostats generally cost more than analog or digital thermostats. So, are they worth the installation cost and how much can they save?
Do smart thermostats save money?
According to Consumer Reports, yes – a smart thermostat is a worthwhile investment that can help control energy costs. They can automatically make energy-efficient temperature adjustments throughout the day, saving money over time. Some have advanced features, such as room temperature sensors that can help better balance the temperature throughout your home. But not everyone will save.
Anyone with already low energy costs may not save much more with a smart thermostat. Either the house doesn’t require much heating or cooling, or the HVAC system is already operating at nearly optimal energy efficiency. Homes with air conditioning systems other than central air conditioning or a furnace may not save much because smart thermostats do not work well with these alternative systems. Plus, some people can save enough money with a programmable digital thermostat, making the higher cost of a smart thermostat unnecessary.
How much money do smart thermostats save?
Reported savings from smart thermostats vary, but here are savings statistics from three different sources:
- According to ENERGY STAR, “homes with high heating and cooling bills, as well as homes that are unoccupied for much of the day, can save about $100 per year with an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat.”
- A study by ecobee, a manufacturer of smart thermostats, found that their smart thermostat users in North America save up to 26% on energy costs.
- Another independent study found that Nest thermostats save users an average of 15% on cooling and 10-12% on heating.
What are the pros and cons of smart thermostats?
To better determine whether a smart thermostat is a worthwhile investment, consumers should consider the following pros and cons:
- Smart thermostats are programmable, so energy isn’t wasted when someone forgets to set the thermostat.
- Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely, usually through an app on a mobile device.
- A smart thermostat can send a reminder when it’s time to change the filter or the HVAC system needs maintenance.
- Some smart thermostats have features that can help a homeowner determine the optimal temperature settings for energy efficiency and comfort at different times of the day and night.
- Some older homes may not have the necessary wiring to accommodate a smart thermostat.
- Households that are always occupied, whether by people or pets, will not benefit from certain features of the smart thermostat, such as adjusting the temperature when the house is unoccupied.
- A smart thermostat could potentially be hacked, and the thermostat settings could reveal to a hacker when no one is usually home.
- Smart thermostats are more expensive than other types of thermostats.
Will a digital thermostat save on energy bills?
A properly programmed digital thermostat can help save on energy bills because it eliminates the need for manual adjustments to keep the home at an energy-efficient temperature. Homeowners can often get the same savings with a programmable digital thermostat, but at a lower cost. Those who own an analog thermostat and don’t want or need access to thermostat settings with an app or the added features of a smart thermostat may consider installing a digital thermostat.
Are smart thermostats worth it?
Whether or not a smart thermostat is worth it depends on the home and the owner. According to HomeAdvisor, the average smart thermostat costs anywhere from $100 to over $500, with some systems exceeding $1,000. A programmable digital thermostat typically costs between $20 and $150.
Most people are too busy to manually adjust a thermostat throughout the day to improve energy efficiency. A digital option, programmed to the parameters for optimum energy efficiency, can be a money saver. For many people, a digital programmable thermostat can save as much money as a smart thermostat. But those with out-of-control energy bills or who frequently need to adjust temperature settings remotely might find a smart thermostat worthwhile.
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