Last year 18 percent of houses had smart technology in them. Realtrends.com speculates that will grow to near 30 percent by the end of 2016. According to Realtrends.com, “Research shows that the demand for smart homes is growing, and some 33 percent of agents say homes with smart technology sell faster than those without.” A smart thermostat is just a starting point, but one that can save you money and can be super convenient.
Many people may already have programmable stats but they are often difficult to set and are not necessarily efficient. Often you set them up and they run whether you are home or not. The newer smart thermostats will adjust the temperature when they sense you are present and they can “learn” your habits. For example: if you tend to turn your room temperature down while before going to bed, it will learn the time and temperature that it should make these adjustments. These smart thermostats will also kick into standby mode when they sense you are away and optimize themselves to know how long it takes your particular system to reach temperature.
The folks at Nest researched consumers energy bills in two independent studies before and after installing the new smart Thermostat and their research showed that homeowners saved on average 10-12% on heating and 15% on cooling after the install. Ecobee claims their US customers saved an average 23% based on an analysis conducted in October of 2013. Obviously the more even the outdoor climate is, the less the savings will be and if you were already inclined to make adjustments to your thermostat at regular intervals, then you may not see a significant difference. But if you are a “set it and forget it” type of person, and you live in a climate of temperature fluctuations (New England for example) you will see the change on your next few energy bills. With the cost being about the same for the top three (Nest, Honeywell Lyric, Ecobee3) you should be able to recoup the cost of the device in a year or two.
Bottom line: it depends on the type of climate you live in.
For me, it is not just about saving money. I like the features and convenience of the device and the idea that with more smart home features, these devices can be linked to one another.Already the Lyric and Ecobee3 have geo tracking capabilities so that if it senses you are on your way home from work, it can start warming(or cooling) your home so it will be at your desired temp when you arrive. How cool is that?
If you prefer to have more control over your thermostat or for those stats that do not have a geo tracking boundary set up, you can set it from your phone or computer while you are away which is especially helpful as you can turn on the heat when you are an hour from home so you don’t come home to a cold house. The latest news is that you can now control some of these stats from Amazon Echo. Alexa…it feels chilly in the living room, can you turn up the heat to 72?
We are mainly talking about the top 3 most popular brands and with price being the same it will mainly come down to personal taste and your current heating cooling/system. Both the Nest and Lyric may require a C wire to keep a constant charge on the battery. They claim they don’t but without the C wire the Nest must pull charge from your current heating or cooling system wires which only works when the system is running (which in our mind is not ideal) and the Lyric uses a lithium battery which needs to be replaced every few months (also not a great choice.) If you know you have a “C” wire then you don’t have to worry, but many older homes do not and this should be a consideration as it could add a huge chunk to the installation cost. For this reason, we chose The Ecobee3 which does not require a C wire and comes with an adapter power extender kit and can easily be installed by the homeowner by following videos on YouTube or read more about that here on ecobee’s site. We also love the touchpad feature of the Ecobee3 and it tends to allow for more control over cycle times and swing ranges than the other two units. It “wakes up” as you walk by to show you the current indoor temp, shows the current outdoor temperature at the bottom of the screen and with the included sensor and the ability to add other room sensors, we feel the overall temperature is better maintained.