New technology means increased capabilities within your home. Looking to use energy smarter? Hoping for a lower power bill? Want to make your life more efficient? A smart thermostat is a great way to do all three.
Smart thermostats are exactly what they sound like. They replace traditional thermostats and include technologically advanced features built around increasing accessibility and energy efficiency.
We'll walk you through all of these features and explain what they do, how they work and how that changes your home’s heating and cooling operations.
Before we start, we want to introduce you to the main industry leaders, Ecobee Smart Thermostat and Nest Learning Thermostat. Both are well-known and very reliable and as we go through each feature below, we’ll incorporate them into the discussion so you can begin to get familiar with both. So let’s get started!
Welcome to Team Enoch’s all-inclusive Smart Thermostat breakdown.
The smart learning feature all smart thermostats have is the primary upgrade from traditional thermostats.
Smart thermostats are devices that connect to your home’s wifi to automatically adjust the temperature settings in your home. Commonly known as “learning thermostats” they adjust your heating and cooling system to reach certain temperatures at certain times.
For example, if you sleep with your home cooler but like it to be warmer in the morning, a smart thermostat will automatically activate your HVAC so your home is at your desired temperature by a certain time. And if you’re usually gone during the day, the thermostat will adjust so you’re not using energy to heat your home when you’re not there.
Additionally, the smart thermostat will track your energy usage and let you know how much you’re using as well as how energy-efficient your HVAC system currently is.
Ecobee thermostats will record analyze your home’s HVAC data from the main system and any remote sensors over an 18-month period. Known as your “Home IQ,” you can access the complete data online. This helps you monitor weather influences, total usage, and how well your home's efficiency stacks up against other local users.
Nest's analysis isn't as deep. Nest will provide a monthly report that summarizes month-by-month energy usage, but it only records 10 days of data at a time. Nonetheless, having the data can help you spot any inconsistencies. It also provides a record so you can spot the energy changes as soon as you install the smart thermostat and as it continues to learn based on your usage habits.
When you first install the thermostat, you’ll need to manually set it a few times so Ecobee or Nest can pick up on the changes. Eventually, the thermostat will be able to anticipate your needs and adjust to match that.
The primary advantages to this are
But how does the smart thermostat know if you’re at home? There are a few different ways, all of them a little different.
The first is a pre-set time clock, where the temperature changes based on time. For example, between the hours of 9-5, your smart thermostat keeps the house at a lower temperature. In this example, the time is based on the assumption that between those hours, everyone in the home will be gone, at either school or work.
However, this is completely customizable. If you know you’re going to be gone during certain hours of the day, this is a great way to keep your temperature consistent.
The second method is called Geofencing. Geofencing is the term used when you allow Ecobee or Nest to create a digital distance-based perimeter. This perimeter then connects to your phone’s GPS to adjust your home’s temperature based on your physical proximity to the home.
The advantage of this feature comes when you have changes in your routine. Going on vacation? Have someone sick at home for the day? Work hours changing week-by-week? Geofencing means that the temperature in your home is strictly based on when you’re actually there.
It’s worth mentioning that while Ecobee and Nest both support this feature, only Nest allows you to connect more than one phone to the geofencing system.
The third method is a remote sensor that works in a few different ways. The first application of the remote sensor is to adjust the temperature based on your home’s layout and physical environment.
For example, do you have large living room windows that let in lots of light and heat from the sun? What about a basement that gets super cold? Putting a remote sensor in these areas will send signals to the primary system to adjust the temperature output based on the data from the sensor.
And while both Nest and Ecobee offer remote sensors, there is one notable difference between the two: the Ecobee sensor also captures motion. This means if you don’t want to connect your phone’s GPS to your smart thermostat but you still want variable temperature, this sensor will activate when someone passes in front of it. It will know when you’re in the room, and adjust the temperature accordingly. This sensor is also included with the price of purchase.
On the other hand, Nest’s system is not motion activated and the sensor is an optional additional feature, not an automatically included one.
All these different features are customizable and optional, and you can disable any of the smart learning features at any time.
And while the learning feature is the primary advantage of having smart thermostats, it’s not the only upside to upgrading your thermostat.
Instead of having to manually control your thermostat, both Ecobee and Nest have two other options.
This app connects to the thermostat and allows you to adjust it from anywhere, even if you’re not at home. Not only does this mean you can monitor your energy usage from afar, but it also allows you to adjust it.
Going on vacation? You don’t have to worry about forgetting to set the temperature lower when you leave because you can now adjust it from the airport. As long as your thermostat is connected to wifi, it will receive whatever controls you input. Ecobee and Nest each have their own app, available on both iOS and Android.
Even if you don’t use the app, the Ecobee smart thermostat also has a touch-screen interface, which allows for easier navigation in person.
Both Ecobee and Nest have a voice control feature that is connected to the major home assistants.
For Ecobee, that’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.
For Nest, it’s just Alexa and Google.
This allows for full home integration, where all the technology in your home works together and allows you to take control fully.
There are a few factors that you should consider. First, which features do you think you’ll be using most often? Second, price. The price of a smart thermostat fluctuates and depends on where you are, so you should reach out to a local provider when you’re ready to start the installation process.
Ready to take the next step? Reach out to us and we can help you get started! You choose the brand and we’ll install it for you. Get a quote here!
Still have some more questions? Reach out anyway! Our technicians are ready to answer any questions you may have and would love to help you figure things out.
Until next time,