Smart Thermostats

Smart Thermostats

Posted on 17. Jul, 2012 by in Technology

Right now, a large swath of the country is engulfed in a heat wave. You can bet that no one is overly concerned about conserving energy: they just want to stay cool. This same heat wave is causing millions of people to run their air conditioners 24-7, resulting in a large increase in energy consumption, and increasing the risk of brown-outs across the country. Even worse, the majority of those running their cooling systems full-blast are at work during the day, with their absence requiring them to run the system while they’re not at home, or face the prospect of returning home to uncomfortable indoor temperatures.

We’ve all tried conserving energy by turning our thermostats up (or down) depending on the season, only to return to a sweltering or freezing home, where we then use more energy trying to make the temperature comfortable. If only there was a way for a thermostat to self-adjust, cooling more when the temperature goes up, less when it’s cloudy or cooler outside. If only there was a cooling (and heating) system that could be programmed to reflect the habits of the apartment dweller, that could be set cooler or warmer, as needed, without the need to run the air conditioner or heater all day long. Enter ‘Smart’ thermostats.

They’re smart because they can be programmed at the user’s convenience, reflecting the tenant’s absence and scheduled return. Simply set the temperature that is desired, then program the unit to raise or lower the temperature upon return, thus saving energy, while always returning to a comfortable home. And users won’t have to worry if they forget to set the thermostat before leaving home. Smart thermostats also allow users to control home temperatures remotely, using a smart phone or computer. Some thermostats take this premise even further, offering features such as detection sensors that monitor and remember daily habits while tracking actual energy usage. This tracking allows the thermostat to then ‘program’ itself based on the habits of the apartment dweller.

While learning thermostats work best for those with a fairly consistent schedule, all models will allow users to customize the thermostat to reflect their needs, or change it remotely when necessary. Prices for programmable thermostats range from $100 for a basic model to over $500 for a fully programmable, learning thermostat.  No matter what the preference, these thermostats can provide programmed comfort while saving money on utility bills.

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