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Whether in the depths of winter, the heat of summer, or the change of seasons, managing the thermostat can be a nuisance for homeowners, renters, and landlords/ladies alike! Is it better to keep it at one conservative temperature? Manually change the temperatures as you head out the door or come home from work? Attempt to pre-schedule temperatures for dav and night temperatures? If you have been struggling to control your energy costs without adding to your already-long daily to-do list, you may have considered a smart thermostat. But which are the best smart thermostats for energy savings in your household?
With new products coming to market every day, the question is getting increasingly difficult to answer. But never fear!
Our goal is to support you in that decision-making process. In this post, we lay out the seven best smart thermostats for energy savings heading into 2020. As a bonus, there are many unexpected ways to leverage your smart thermostat once you have it. We dive into those opportunities in the second half of this post so you can make the most of your investment.
7 Best Smart Thermostats For Energy Savings
Loaded with features, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control features Alexa support, a remote room sensor, and a touch display. You can can connect it to work with many other smart home devices—we love the connectivity! It is also very easy to install and operate.
In addition to having built-in Alexa voice technology, the Ecobee4 will connect to other smart home devices. Plus, like its compatriot with built-in voice control, it is easy to install and operate. It comes complete with a room sensor and offers many different wiring options.
When you hear the term ‘x generation’ it usually means a new and improved design. the latest Nest Learning Thermostat certainly meets this expectation. It features all the functionality of previous generations, and then some. On top of that, it comes with Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT support so you can easily connect many other smart home devices. It has a sleek design and installs easily. It doesn’t come with a room sensor, but it does have that functionality and sensors can be purchased separately.
This is a dual-band WiFi thermostat that employs long-range sensors to control the temperature in your home. It works with Alexa, Cortana and Google voice commands and is easy to install. Some downsides: there is no HomeKit support. It also surprisingly doesn’t work directly with other Honeywell product. And lastly, the IFTTT functionality is limited.
This smart thermostat made our “best of the best” ranking because of its versatility. The Lux GEO-WH Wi-Fi Thermostat provides many different scheduling options and is easy to install. It has a stylish look and supports geofencing. However, it doesn’t support IFTTT and doesn’t have remote room sensors.
This is a sharp-looking unit. The Lux Kono Smart Thermostat is HomeKit-enabled and provides a great deal of flexibility. It is easy to install and supports geofencing. However, as with the GEO-WH Wi-Fi Thermostat, it has no room sensors and lacks IFTTT support. It also can’t integrate with other smart devices (as other products on this list, like those of Next and Ecobee).
If you have a complex multi-stage HVAC system, steer clear of this one. Otherwise, the Nest Thermostat E can handle most any home set up. In fact, it contains features you would expect on a much more expensive model. As with the other models on this list, it is easy to install, boasts a stylish design, and works with other Nest and third-party smart home devices. It also supports Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.
Get Smart with your Smart Thermostat
So what exactly can you do with your smart thermostat other than control when your furnace or air conditioner goes on or off?
Well, they are called “smart” thermostats for a reason! The best smart thermostats empower you in many other ways to boost your energy efficiency and lower your utility bill through energy savings. In fact, Nest found a 10-12% savings on heating and 15% savings on cooling—about $131-$145—per year. Ecobee claims average savings of 23%.
But as with many types of technology, you have to understand its full potential and take advantage of that in order to truly realize savings. Here are some of the important features you should be aware of:
We all know you can manually program your HVAC system with your smart thermostat. But did you know that it can also learn your habits? If you choose to allow your smart thermostat to do this, it will optimize temperature settings around your preferences and schedule. And you will barely have to touch it! However, if you prefer to personally control this process in order to maintain a rigid schedule around when you use and don’t use energy, you can choose to do so as well.
Visiting family for the holidays? Fleeing the winter weather for a trip to the tropics? Remember when you had to remember to adjust your thermostat before you rushed out the door to the airport? Those days are gone! You can set your smart thermostat to automatically turn down your heat while you are away from home without having to worry about manually setting it. By using the Home/Away Assist or Auto-Away features, your smart thermostat will know when to adjust to “away” temperatures simply by monitoring a GPS signal from your smartphone.
HVAC Override Option
Your smart thermostat has a “Fan” option that permits you to override when your HVAC system’s fan kicks on or off. As an example, you can program the fan to run even if the heat or air conditioning isn’t. Because the fan can be an energy saving option versus air conditioning, we love that your smart thermostat can make this dissociation easy!
Are the in-law’s in town? Considering AirBNB but worried about associated utility costs? If you have someone in your household who likes to fiddle with the thermostat settings, you can lock others out with a PIN. You can set this manually or via the app where you manage the thermostat on your smartphone.
Air Filter Reminders
Heating and cooling can represent up to 50% of your utility bill. As we mentioned in a previous post, tending to your HVAC system’s maintenance can therefore provide valuable savings. You can set your smart thermostat to tell you when an air filter is dirty—aka compromised—and you need to replace it.
On top of all this functionality, you can pair your smart thermostat with your smart home hub, which will allow you to control not only your smart thermostat, but also all of your other smart appliances and devices. From one place—your smart phone!
With that in mind, if you are sifting through bills and thinking, “there must be a straight-forward, low-maintenance investment to make a dent in our energy consumption and monthly bills!” — there sure is! Smart thermostats could be the perfect option to jumpstart that process, so long as you’ve done your homework to identify the best one for you.
If you are looking at additional smart technology to improve your energy efficiency and reduce power consumption, stay tuned! There are more reviews of the best smart devices and smart appliances coming your way.