What You Absolutely Need to Know About Smart Thermostats!

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Communicating Thermostats

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), heating and cooling your home accounts for nearly half of the average home’s utility bills. So, having a thermostat that can program itself, then pay for itself by reducing energy costs, is probably the best reason to consider a smart Wi-Fi thermostat.

One thing to know that is crucially important to the continued safe and efficient operations of your HVAC systems is that one Wi-Fi smart stat doesn’t fit all! What does this mean? Nest, ecobee and Honeywell all offer smart thermostats at the big box stores. What they don’t tell you is that these Wi-Fi stats don’t work on all systems. They don’t offer you the technical expertise to know which systems those are.

Communicating HVAC systems can ONLY use their brand of communicating thermostats. That means a Carrier Infinity system or Trane ComfortLink will not work with Nest or ecobee thermostats. More, it will compromise your valuable warranty to install one on one of these brand systems. The same is true of other brands using communicating systems: Lennox, American Standard, Bryant, and Rheem for examples. Communicating systems require their proprietary communicating thermostats. You’ve been warned!

Here’s the good news about Wi-Fi thermostats…when professionally selected and installed, a smart thermostat doesn’t just help ease your budget, it can provide more convenience, more comfort and more control. Consider these features of a smart Wi-Fi thermostat:

Geofencing for Reduced Energy Usage

This feature of smart thermostat uses a smart phone’s GPS chip to establish a perimeter around your home. When you leave, you presumably no longer need to heat and cool your home…or you can at least have the thermostat adjust the temperature so that it’s not running unnecessarily. When you return home and cross the perimeter again, your HVAC system will kick into action so your house is comfortable by the time you walk in the door.

Learns Your Schedule and Programs Itself

Programmable thermostats were the first to boast energy savings. But, do you know that only 18% of all programmable thermostats even get “programmed”? It true and it’s because programming a thermostat is no easy task. Most folks want to set and forget it. With smart thermostats, the most sophisticated feature has to be the self-programming and scheduling. By virtually understanding occupancy and routines, smart thermostats learn your patterns for energy usage can program themselves for your greatest energy savings. Many provide monthly reports to your email that tell you about your usage increases and/or decreases and make suggestions for improvement. Armed with that information, a homeowner has ability to reduce energy usage by as much as 30%.

Remote Control for ‘Away-from-Home’ Access

Wi-Fi features of the smart thermostats all include control from an App. This means you have complete access to the thermostat anywhere you have connectivity to your smart phone or tablet where the App is located. This permits control of your thermostat from afar: you can check in and adjust the temperature, turn the HVAC system off, reprogram it for a scheduled change and do anything you could do by being at the thermostat.

Additional Indoor Sensors for More ‘Whole House’ Comfort

Most smart thermostats now come with (or you can add on) indoor air sensors. Before, most old thermostats measured and controlled a home’s temperature in just that one spot–where the thermostat was located. Trouble is, that spot was usually in a hallway or somewhere else that you never spent any time in. Now, smart sensors allow you to set the temperature of the home from multiple rooms in your home, so you’ll always be comfortable where you are spending your time.

Smart Home System Integration

Every Wi-Fi thermostat comes with an App so you can control it with your smartphone or tablet, but the best models can also be integrated with other smart-home devices and broader smart-home systems. This can range from being able to adjust the temperature with a voice command via an Amazon Echo or Google Home digital assistant, to linking to your CO/smoke detector so that your HVAC system automatically turns off when fire is detected, preventing CO or smoke from being circulated throughout your home. Other options to consider include tie-ins with cameras and home security systems. The Wi-Fi thermostat becomes just one product within an entire eco-system of your smart home…all controlled from the same App.

Many of our higher efficiency replacement HVAC system come standard with a Wi-Fi thermostat. Or, if you want to replace your old one with a new smart model, give Alaskan Air Conditioning and Heating a call. We will help you make the right selection for your HVAC system.