Smart House London

As utility bills keep going up, lots of people are turning to smart thermostats to help lower their costs. These aren’t just fancier looking than regular thermostats; they come packed with cool features that make it easier to control when your heating and cooling systems turn on and off, which can save you a significant amount of money. So, what’s a smart thermostat exactly, and why should you think about getting one for your house? Let’s take a closer look at what these smart devices can do and how they’re better than the rest.

What is a smart thermostat?

For starters, a thermostat is a skillful little gadget filled with sensors that help keep temperatures in check. Chances are, you’ve got one at home or at your workplace controlling your heating or cooling system. These handy devices aren’t just for buildings; they’re also put into cars and vending machines to stop them from getting too hot.

So, smart thermostats are essentially a smarter version of your thermostat. One major difference is the fact that the smart thermostat can connect to an internet protocal (IP) network. With this connection, you can tell your thermostat what to do from anywhere, using your phone or computer. Want to turn off the heat while you’re at work? No problem. Or maybe crank up the air conditioning before you get home? It’s easy. And to make things even better, these smart devices perfectly integrate with voice assistants like Alexa or Siri, meaning you can control them through voice commands.

In addition, some smart thermostats come with artificial intelligence. This means they can actually learn from your routines. So, if you regularly walk in the door at 6 PM, your smart thermostat can start adjusting the temperature just the way you like it before you even get home. So, they learn and adapt to make your life more comfortable without you having to lift a finger – hence the popularity and name ‘smart thermostat.’

How do smart thermostats work

Let’s start by stating that smart thermostats essentially connect your home’s heating and cooling system, or HVAC, to the internet. This gives you the ability to adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere using your mobile gadgets.

Here’s how they work: These clever devices check the temperature at home and signal to your HVAC system to heat or cool your place as you’ve told it to, ahead of time. If it gets too hot, the thermostat tells your system to chill out. If it’s getting chilly, it’ll crank the heat up to keep things cozy just the way you like.

And even when you leave the house, you’re not stuck with whatever you set before you left. You can change things up from your phone. You can tweak the temperature, set up how humid you want your place to be, plan out your heating or cooling schedule, check out how much energy you’ve been using, and tons more. Whenever you change a setting on your phone’s app, it sends this info over Wi-Fi to your thermostat, which then signals your HVAC system to act accordingly.

Like we’ve mentioned above, there are more advanced smart thermostats that learn from you. They notice when you’re usually home and what temperatures you prefer throughout the day. With this info, they create a custom heating and cooling plan that fits your life like a glove.

These gadgets are pretty high-tech. They’ve got a beefy processor that handles all the commands you and the thermostat itself send out, a memory board to remember all the important stuff, and an antenna for communication without wires. Plus, many have a backup lithium-ion battery so even if the power goes out, you won’t be left in the cold (or the heat).

Top features of smart thermostats

Here are some of the top features to expect from your new thermostat:

Geofencing – Most smart thermostats come with this cool feature called geofencing. But to use this feature, you have to get the thermostat app for your phone or tablet through which you can activate the feature. This app essentially sets up a kind of invisible line around your house, and when you cross that line, it signals to your thermostat to either turn on or off, just like you set it to. It’s handy when you’re going to work or on vacation.

Receive Alert – If you’re away on vacation and something weird happens at home, such as if it suddenly gets really cold and your pipes might freeze. Well, with a smart thermostat, it can send you a message about it so you can get someone to fix it before it becomes a big headache.

Color Touch Screen – As you know, smart thermostats are all about home automation, and so they got lots of cool features to help run your home smoothly. Of course, you would want to see all these features clearly, right? So, many thermostats come with a big colorful screen, like the one on your phone, to make it easily readable and programmable. And since we are so used to touch-screen technology, operating these screens won’t be a hurdle.

Proximity Sensor – Even with a big colorful screen, you don’t need that bright screen lighting up all the time, right? That’s why smart thermostats feature a proximity sensor to take care of that. Basically, it dims the screen when you’re not nearby and brightens up when you get close, so you don’t have to fumble around in the dark looking for the thermostat.

Room Sensors – Thermostats usually only know the temperature right around them, which might leave some parts of your house feeling too hot or too cold. So, many smart thermostats feature room sensors to add around the house to monitor the temperature in different areas of the home. They signal to the thermostat what’s going on in different rooms, so it can keep things comfy everywhere.

Energy Tracking and Reports – Saving money is always good, right? Well, some smart thermostats can help with that by keeping an eye on where you’re using the most energy and when. It sends you reports so you can adjust things and save some cash.

Compatible With HVAC Accessories – Now, if you want your thermostat to be even more awesome, you can get one with the ability to control other stuff in your house too, like your humidifier or air cleaner. These ones are pretty advanced and very efficient.

The best smart thermostats to consider

Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd gen)

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat (3rd generation) is a fancy thermostat that’s really smart. It’s sleek and simple, fitting well with modern homes. You can set it up yourself, but it’s better if a professional does it.

This thermostat learns your routine and preferences, so you don’t have to program it manually. You can tell it to change the temperature with your voice if you’ve got a smart home hub, or you can do it through the Nest app on your phone. So you can easily control it remotely or via its super-sensitive controls on the thermostat itself.

It’s clever too. It checks the weather and adjusts the temperature based on what’s going on outside, while still keeping you comfortable. Plus, Nest helps you save energy by being smart about when to heat or cool your home.

We like it because it’s easy to use once it’s all set up, and you can see the display clearly from anywhere in the room. It even gives you tips on how to use less energy, which is pretty neat.

Amazon smart thermostat

When it comes to smart thermostats, the Amazon Smart Thermostat really is a fantastic gadget. Here is why. First off, it’s one of the most budget-friendly models in the market today. Plus, it syncs up smoothly with the Alexa app and responds to voice commands through any Alexa-enabled smart speaker or display. No need to worry about enabling an Alexa skill because, the device comes straight from the Amazon family.

Now, this thermostat is Energy Star-certified. Translation? It’s like your wallet, saving you around 40 pounds ($50) on your energy bill every year. And aesthetically, it features a sleek, modern design with an optional wall plate for those touch-ups around the house. The touchscreen interface keeps things simple yet effective, letting you tweak the temperature and switch between heating, cooling, and other basic settings hassle-free.

However, if you’re team Google Assistant or Apple HomeKit, you are not in luck since this thermostat isn’t compatible with them. Also, it doesn’t have a remote temperature sensor accessory we mentioned earlier. Furthermore, you will have to get a C-wire or a C-adapter for it to work. However, what truly seals the deal for many people is its amazing value, making it an overall solid device.

Ecobee smart thermostat premium

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium is the other gadget we would highly recommend and it’s for a couple of reasons. First off, it comes with extra temperature sensors which you can put in different rooms of your house, like your bedrooms, guest rooms, or living room. These sensors help the thermostat figure out the right temperature for you in all rooms, especially since some rooms are usually warmer or cooler than others.

When you buy the Ecobee Thermostat, you will find that there are different packages, but we always recommend that you choose the package that offers more sensors. Ecobee says that using these sensors with the thermostat can save you up to 26% on your heating and cooling bills each year. Plus, you can even bundle it with an Ecobee video doorbell or indoor security camera, all of which you can control using the same Ecobee app on your phone. For home integrations, this thermostat is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, SmartThings, Google Assistants, IFTT, and Android.

The other thing about this smart thermostat is that it can keep an eye on the air quality in your home and remind you when it’s time to change the air filter in your furnace. It can also adjust the temperature based on how humid it is. And if you’re willing to pay extra, you can program the thermostat to automatically turn off if a window or door is left open, with some extra sensors.

So why did we pick this thermostat? Well, two things. One, it can easily be integrated with other smart gadgets from Ecobee, like their indoor cameras, video doorbells, and even smart smoke detectors. Two, it comes with extra room temperature sensors, which makes it the ideal choice for those with big homes and more rooms to cover.

Honeywell Home T9

The other smart thermostat that helps you control your home’s temperature easily has to be the Honeywell Home T9. This device comes with a graphical touchscreen display that makes it easy to set up, together with a built-in backlight for when it is dark. It also comes with one room sensor, but you can always buy more if you need them.

While you can make a schedule for the thermostat yourself, the Honeywell thermostat is smart enough to figure out your home temperature on its own based on your lifestyle and preferences. It can learn when you’re home or away and adjust the temperature to save energy and keep you comfy. Please also note that it’s compatible with the three voice assistants (Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant), and it uses the Resideo mobile app.

The room sensors can send temperature information to the thermostat from 200ft away, making sure the rooms you use most stay just how you like them. They can also sense humidity and adjust the temperature accordingly.

The thermostat doesn’t need to be plugged in. Instead, it uses two AAA batteries. And with regards to its WiFi connectivity, it supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

What to consider when buying a smart thermostat

So, what do you need to consider when choosing the right smart thermostat for your home? Here are a few things to take into account:

Compatibility with the HVAC system – When you’re looking to buy a smart thermostat, it’s crucial to make sure it’ll work with your HVAC system. Not all smart thermostats are compatible with every type of heating and cooling setup, so it’s crucial to check this out before you buy. You can get this information from the manufacturer’s website or you can ask a professional online.

The Need for a C-Wire – Many smart thermostats need something called a C-wire (or common wire) to function. So, if your HVAC system doesn’t have a C-wire, you’ve got two options. You can pick a smart thermostat that doesn’t need one and uses a different wire for power, like an R wire. But there are some smart thermostats even come with a special adapter that lets you add a C-wire. Or, you can call in an experienced technician to install the wire for you.

Ease of installation – You also need to consider how easy it is to install the new thermostat. Setting up most smart thermostats is pretty simple, and you can often do it yourself. The wires are usually color-coded, which makes things easier. Plus, the thermostats themselves have labels to show you where each wire should go. You can also snap some photos of your current thermostat’s wires to help you match them up with the new one.

If you need guidance, the manual or online tutorials can walk you through the steps. And if your old thermostat didn’t have a C-wire, you can use the adapter that comes with the new one or ask a technician for a hand. Once your smart thermostat is in place, grab its app for your phone and link it to your home’s Wi-Fi. If you know a bit about networks, you can finish the whole setup in just a few minutes!

Quick Tip: The best spot for your thermostat is in the middle of your home, on a wall away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Checking smartphone compatibility – Before you buy, make sure the smart thermostat’s app works with your phone’s operating system (OS). Most smart thermostats have apps for Android and iOS devices. But if your phone has a different OS, reach out to the manufacturer to see if it’ll still work. And don’t forget to check if the app costs money or if you can access everything for free.

Home integration – when you’re hunting for a smart thermostat, keep an eye out for compatibility with other systems like Google Home, SmartThings, IFTTT, or Siri. If you’re all about hands-free living and want everything to work smoothly together, go for the model that works with your preferred smart home setup and supports its voice assistant. That way, you can control everything with your voice.

How do I install a smart thermostat?

  1. Firstly, make sure to switch off the circuit breaker to ensure safety.
  2. Next, remove the faceplate of your old thermostat.
  3. Take out your phone and snap some pictures of the wiring setup inside the old thermostat. It’s important to check if the wires are connected correctly according to their labels. For example, a green-colored wire should have a label “G”.
  4. Unscrew the backplate of the old thermostat and install the new thermostat plate in its place.
  5. Now, it’s time to connect the wires to their corresponding labels on the new thermostat. If the wires aren’t labeled, refer back to the photos you took earlier to match the color of each wire to its proper tab.
  6. Once all the wires are connected, attach the faceplate of the smart thermostat.
  7. Turn on the thermostat and follow the instructions displayed on the screen for setup. Remember also to download the corresponding mobile app for easier control, remotely.
  8. Once the setup is complete, you’re all set to enjoy automated climate control!

Common issues with Smart Thermostats and how to troubleshoot them

Connectivity issues

If you are experiencing problems connecting your smart thermostat, here are your options:

Check Wi-Fi Connection – Take your phone or laptop and try connecting to the internet. If you can’t, it’s likely a Wi-Fi issue. Contact your internet service provider (ISP) to see if there’s a problem with the service in your area.

Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength – Assess the Wi-Fi signal strength near your thermostat. Weak signals could cause connection problems. You can usually find this information in the thermostat’s settings. If needed, consult your manufacturer’s support page for detailed steps.

Verify Password – If your Wi-Fi is working fine, ensure you’ve entered the correct password on your smart thermostat. If you’re still using the default password, check the bottom of your router for it. Once you’ve got it, follow the instructions on the manufacturer’s website to re-enter the password on the thermostat. And while at it, consider changing your default password for better security.

Restart Devices – Try restarting both your smart thermostat and router. This action refreshes the settings and can fix internet connection issues. To restart your router, unplug it for 30 seconds and then plug it back in. Your network will briefly disappear and then reappear. If your router doesn’t reconnect, contact your ISP. For instructions on restarting your smart thermostat, refer to your manufacturer’s website.

Temperature issues

If the smart thermostat starts delivering wonky temperatures, here are a few things you can try:

Placement Matters – Ensure your thermostat isn’t near heat sources or direct sunlight, as this can affect its temperature readings. Optimal placement is on an interior wall in a frequently used room like the living room. Avoid placing it near doors, windows, bathrooms, or kitchens where temperature fluctuations are common.

Verify Accuracy – Double-check your thermostat’s readings by comparing them with another thermometer. Place the thermometer next to your thermostat for at least 15 minutes. If there’s a significant difference in readings, your thermostat may need calibration. Consult your device manual for calibration instructions or seek assistance from a professional installer for smart home devices.

Control issues

If the thermostat’s controls aren’t working, here are some things you can try:

Check Power and Connections – Ensure your thermostat has power and is properly connected. Dead batteries, blown fuses, or tripped circuit breakers can all cause your thermostat to stop working. If you see a blank screen, it’s likely a power issue. Make sure the power to your HVAC system is on at the circuit breaker, system switch, or fuse box. If it keeps tripping, turn off your thermostat and HVAC system, and seek assistance from a professional.

Restart or Factory Reset – Sometimes, restarting your smart thermostat can fix issues like freezing or connectivity problems, similar to restarting your phone or laptop. Factory resetting your device erases some or all of its data, returning it to factory settings. You can find step-by-step instructions on your manufacturer’s website.

Software Updates – Ensure both your thermostat and its companion app are up to date. Check for any available updates on the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or wherever you downloaded your app. With a working Wi-Fi connection, your smart thermostat should automatically install updates.

Short cycling issues

Short cycling occurs when your heating or cooling system turns on and off frequently, causing temperature fluctuations. Several factors contribute to this, including incorrect settings, faulty sensors, or an improperly sized thermostat for your home.

To prevent short cycling, ensure your thermostat is the right size for your home, is compatible with your HVAC system, and placed in an optimal location—away from drafts or direct sunlight.

Additionally, check the battery level as low batteries can disrupt signals to your HVAC system, leading to short cycling. Regularly clean your smart thermostat from dust and debris to avoid potential triggers for short cycles.

Remote issues

Check if the companion app of your thermostat has the right permissions for remote control. If not, you might need to tweak some settings there. If that doesn’t do the trick, give your app a restart and try logging in again. Usually, these steps should sort things out for you.

Final thought

Smart thermostats act as the brain of your home heating and cooling system. They let you tweak the temperature from your phone or voice assistants. They work by optimizing the temperature in your home based on what you like, where you are, and your schedule.

These thermostats are not just about comfort – they actually help you save some money over time. So, if you’re keen on making your home smarter and more efficient, getting a smart thermostat is definitely a move worth considering.

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