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What are smart thermostats?

A high-tech trend in home heating, smart thermostats give homeowners a way to control temperatures remotely and save energy. Unlike the days of manually adjusting your heating controls for each area of your home, smart thermostats can heat each part of your home remotely. With wireless connectivity, this type of unit keeps track of your energy use for improved efficiency and even the ability to anticipate your household’s heating needs in advance.

What is a smart thermostat?

Smart thermostats allow you to control your home’s temperature remotely with a desktop, tablet or smartphone app. While a traditional thermostat offers a digital control panel or dial, smart models are capable of providing a more personalised and efficient home heating service. They consist of three main components, linking your boiler with the thermostat and the app which controls it.

Learning thermostats up the game even further by adjusting the temperature automatically according to your daily routine and past behaviour. This ensures that when you arrive home from work, your home will already be at the perfect temperature.

How they work

Efficiency is the driving factor behind the smart thermostat. Heating typically makes up the highest percentage of a household’s energy bill, particularly when the temperature drops during the winter. Smart controls connect your heating system to the internet with a Wi-Fi connection. With the swipe of a smartphone, you can adjust heating at a distance. As with a classic thermostat, smart models can be programmed to go on or off at certain times or automatically turn on when the temperature drops to a certain level.

Rather than hitting the buttons of a control panel, you use a smartphone or desktop app to keep track of heating. Additionally, there are models out there which can program themselves according to your past use or GPS location. Features vary according to the system you choose, but the aspect they all have in common is their internet connectivity. With greater control over your heating usage, you can save energy and money at the same time.

The benefits of smart thermostats

In addition to saving money and improving energy efficiency, there are a few benefits to the smart thermostat to consider. They offer greater flexibility to those who may not have a set schedule. You can program a traditional thermostat to heat the home at a certain time of day, but if you end up staying late at work or go off on a last-minute holiday this may end up wasting energy. There’s no need to heat an empty home, and with an app-controlled smart system, you can adjust your heating from a distance. Additional benefits of a thermostat app include:

  • The ability to break down use into separate heat zones to save energy
  • Monitor your energy use more accurately
  • Provide regular energy reports
  • Use your smartphone’s GPS or interior motion sensors to detect when you’re at home
  • Avoid frozen pipes by automatically adjusting to sudden changes in weather

Types of smart thermostat

As smart home technology grows, the smart thermostat has become a standard feature in many households. There’s now an array of options on the market to choose from, including both basic and learning thermostats. We offer the following smart thermostats:

  • Worcester Wave
  • Vaillant vSmart
  • Google Nest®
  • Hive

The Hive thermostat encourages input from the user, offering a central dashboard from which you can manage your household temperature. You can change your home’s temperature whenever you wish, or set up specialised heating schedules. The device can automatically turn on the heat when the temperature plummets to prevent freezing pipes and provides regular reports about your energy usage.

The Google Nest® thermostat is another popular choice, designed by the architects of the iPod. This is a good example of a learning thermostat, adjusting the temperature according to user behaviour. The Nest® thermostat monitors your habits over time, such as when you leave and return to the house, in order to create a more personalised schedule. This takes all the guesswork out of adjusting heating, leaving it in the hands of the device. A movement detector delivers data to the device to indicate when the home is empty, and Nest® is compatible with most smart devices.

Saving money with a connected thermostat

There are many convenient features offered by the remote heating control of smart thermostats, but can they really help you save money? After the initial investment, this type of device can save money on heating bills over time. You don’t have to waste money on heating your home when you’re not there, and you can turn off the heating remotely if you’ve gone out for the evening and forgotten to switch it off before you departed. Learning thermostats track your moves to do this on your behalf. Some will also turn the heating down one or two degrees, potentially saving money while still keeping the home comfortable. If you’re concerned about wasting money on energy use when you’re not present, a smart thermostat could be the best solution.

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