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The Good and Bad of Smart Home Thermostats

You’ve more than likely heard of “Smart Home Thermostats” by now – referring to thermostats that can automatically adjust your home’s climate based on recognizing your preferences. In addition, these thermostats are Wi-Fi connected and capable of being adjusted through any Internet-connected device. But are they completely necessary? What are the bad sides of having a smart home thermostat? We’ll take a look here:

Learning Thermostat vs. Wi-Fi Connected
A learning thermostat, like the Nest, is one that recognizes patterns in your usage and then will automatically adjust your home’s climate based on these patterns. A Wi-Fi connected thermostat is simply one that you can adjust from any Internet connected device – like your iPhone, Android, iPad or other tablet. But it doesn’t learn your behavior – it’s manually controlled but from any device anywhere in the world. In general, when you hear the term “Smart Home Thermostat” it refers to both of these types of thermostats.

Some may think that there are monthly, recurring fees for having a smart home thermostat. This is definitely not the case. You buy a thermostat and you’ve paid for it – there are no monthly fees associated. However, Wi-Fi connected thermostats will definitely be more expensive than the standard programmable, non-Internet connected thermostat. Sometimes $100-$200 more depending on what you purchase.

This is where a smart home thermostat rises to the top. Either a learning thermostat or just a Wi-Fi connected thermostat is far more accessible than the older standard programmable thermostats – especially for those that have trouble getting around the house. A home’s temperature can be adjusted from bed, from the bathroom, from Aunt Patty’s down the street – anywhere they have their phone or their tablet.

Energy Savings
The Learning Thermostat, like the Nest, is definitely the leader in energy savings. It partners with energy companies and works to ensure you’re not using energy during peak-cost hours helping reduce your energy bill even further. However, the partner programs are limited and not available in all states – and not yet in Virginia. A simple Wi-Fi connected thermostat doesn’t have this capability at all.

Overall, the learning thermostats are the most expensive however not all features are available to Virginians so the less-expensive Wi-Fi connected / programmable thermostat might be the best bet for your dollar.

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