How to Renovate Your Heating System… with a Smart Thermostat

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Smart thermostats save you time and money by heating your home more intelligently than traditional thermostats.

Research suggests that up to 24% of our heating bill is wasted on an empty house or unused hot water. With heating bills forecast to rise yet again, investing in a smart thermostat is an excellent way to keep costs down this winter.

Where a simple thermostat uses a timer to adjust the temperature of our home, smart thermostats can connect to the internet in order to gather more sophisticated data. They use this data to predict and even learn about the heating needs of your your home and adjust the temperature accordingly.

Smart thermostats can also connect to your personal devices, including your phone, tablet or laptop. This means that in many cases you can control your heating remotely with an app. So whether you’re under the duvet on a chilly Sunday morning, or at the office with the heating on high, a smart thermostat is the convenient solution.

Getting information about energy usage in real-time is another advantage of a smart thermostat. This enables you to see more clearly the cost of heating and hot water. Having access to the prices can help us be more mindful of how much we spend, and can guide us towards saving too. There are a lot of smart thermostats on the market right now, so we’ve done a quick rundown of three of the more popular brands.

The Nest Learning Thermostat

Google bought Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, which tells you something about the caliber of their products. The ultra-stylish aesthetics are certainly eye-catching, though at almost £250 it is one of the more expensive options on the market. The device’s main selling point is the claim that it can ‘learn.’ If you turn the heating every time you wake up in the morning, then off every time you leave for work, Nest can pick up on this pattern and will automate it for you.

The in-built motion sensor detects occupancy and prevents it from heating an empty house. It uses wifi connection to receive weather reports for your local area, which changes its behaviour. For instance, it might work out that you are likely to be outside more often when the sun is shining, and heat your home less often in those conditions. The accompanying app keeps you informed of all the savings that you make when you turn down the heat.

Hive, from British Gas

Hive is closer to a traditional thermostat in appearance, but wifi connection makes it a whole lot smarter. Hive has a companion app, so you can remotely control your heating and hot water system from anywhere. You can also set schedules for your heating and hot water, which many claim are giving great savings. At close to £150, including installation, it seems likely that you’ll save enough to cover initial costs on this device within just a few months.

 

tado°

Another autonomous smart thermostat, tado° comes with an attractive deal from the manufacturer. You can rent tado° for £6.99 a month and cancel at any time with no subscription fees. If you don’t save £100 on heating in your first year, then tado° will refund you £83.88 in rental fees – which is the cost of running the smart thermostat for the entire year!

tado° can also detect occupancy and turn the heating off or on accordingly. Instead of using a motion sensor though, tado° works through an app on your smartphone. It uses the app to track your location and knows when you have returned home and need the heating turned on.

Like Nest, tado° claims to be able to learn from your normal movement pattern and heat your home accordingly. It also monitors local weather and takes the outside temperature into account when deciding on your heating needs. Like all smart thermostats, tado° allows you to manually adjust the heating on your phone or tablet too.

 

The thermostat’s digital reimagining is an important first step..

With Nest selling 100,000 thermostats each month, there’s no question that for the majority of homeowners the humble thermostat will be the first appliance to get a smart upgrade. But once people start to see the potential of this technology and experience the benefits of home automation firsthand, other appliances will surely follow. Electric heaters, air conditioners, lighting systems, entertainment and security can all benefit enormously from the smart touch – the humble thermostat is just the beginning.

 

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About Author

Malcolm Stewart is owner and founder of Kensington AV, an award winning home automation specialist. As well as his passion for smart homes, Malcolm has a keen interest in lighting design, architectural lighting, lighting control, home cinema and multi room music. Having spent over 20 years working with AV in residential property, Malcolm has an excellent understanding of the field and can bring a huge amount of practical know-how and technical experience to any residential project.

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