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What is a Smart Thermostat and What Can It Do for Me?

Nov 5, 2018 2:07:13 PM

There was a time when controlling your thermostat meant cranking a dial on the wall. Now, manual thermostats are becoming a thing of the past as smart thermostats not only move in, but take over. Set to become the way we all operate, there is a host of benefits that can save you money and improve your indoor home quality. But what is a smart thermostat? And what can it do for me? Learn more about what smart thermostats are, their benefits and how they’re quickly becoming the way forward for all of us.


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What is a Smart Thermostat?
Simply put, a smart thermostat is a thermostat that's connected to Wi-Fi and can be controlled remotely. However, it doesn't just give you the ability to control your home’s temperature, it could also help you to save money on your energy bills. And naturally, lower energy usage means a smaller impact on the environment as well.

Control, Wherever You Are
One of the key features of a smart thermostat is that, like almost everything these days, it connects to an app on your smartphone. This could be a huge benefit if the day takes an unexpected turn and you're going to be out later than you expected. Within seconds you can easily make any necessary adjustments right from your phone.

Traditional thermostats let you warm the house at a specific time, but without remote control, your night out might mean the house is warm 3 hours before you actually get home.

The smart thermostat allows you to adjust this wherever you are, meaning that energy is only used when you want it to be. Whatever comes up, you're in control. Less waste and less money down the drain.

'Learning' Smart Thermostats
Don't be creeped out by this - its not alive, and it's not watching your every move.

Learning thermostats can monitor a week's usage, and notes how and when you tweak the temperature. This means that in addition to allowing remote control of your heating and cooling systems, and energy usage monitoring, it also learns how you use these systems.

If you allow it, it begins to notice your behavior and the thermostat will use that information to automatically tweak itself to make the best use of energy when you actually need it. Rather than having to continuously monitor your thermostat, the system is already gathering information based off of your behaviors and will automatically make adjustments in the future.

Sync with Other Devices
Chances are, if you do choose to invest in a smart thermostat, it’s not the only piece of smart technology that you own. The latest and greatest smart thermostats will likely have the capability to connect with Google Home products as well as other popular gadgets such as Amazon Alexa and a myriad of smart appliances from ovens to refrigerators. This allows you to directly speak to your Google Home or Alexa device and make changes to your thermostat without lifting a finger.

How Will it Save Me Money?
One of the significant advantages of a smart thermostat is that in addition to allowing you full control over your heating and cooling systems, it also monitors your energy usage.

While it's great to understand how much you're using, that information alone will not actually lower your bills. Smart thermostats on the market today will give you suggestions that can help you save big time on energy usage. Small adjustments here and there that are barely noticeable can have a significant impact on your bills.

For example, a reduction of just 1-degree Celcius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) through the night could result in savings of about 2% on your energy bills [source: Global News]. Nest themselves estimate that an average home can save between $131 and $145 a year using their smart thermostat technology [source: Nest].

If you view these types of thermostats as a long-term investment, you can take comfort in knowing you're doing your part for the planet as well.

The Bottom Line: What is a Smart Thermostat?
The answer to 'what is a smart thermostat?' could be summed up as - something you can't afford NOT to have. Amid rising energy prices and the growing desire to help our environment and wallets, this technology is a no-brainer. Installing a smart thermostat allows you to make real-time adjustments to your home even when you’re not there and is compatible with the latest technologies in today’s marketplace and could help you save money. We all want to keep our electricity costs down, but you've actually got a lot more control over your electricity supply and its cost than you may realize.

To see how you can take further control of your electricity cost, check out our list of appliances you should pull the plug on to save energy and money.

Mollie Dean

Written by Mollie Dean

Mollie joined the APG&E team in January 2018. She is an experienced digital sales and marketing analyst with a history of working in retail electricity and natural gas.