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Should I Buy a Wifi Thermostat?


Without a thermostat, your HVAC system might as well be useless. Thermostats are small devices that are tasked with turning your HVAC system on and off at the appropriate time.

In fact, modern thermostats don’t even have a switch or button other than the ones located on thermostats, making them your lone source of control over your heating and cooling. While thermostats remained largely the same for years, today’s smart thermostats add a number of new features and capabilities that older thermostats could have never hoped to achieve.

What is a Programmable Thermostat?

Programmable thermostats — also known as smart thermostats or wifi thermostats — allow you to not only control the temperature in your home at will, but they allow you to set your desired settings for heat and cooling throughout the day. A programmable thermostat gives you better control while enabling you to create regular settings you can put into place without having to worry about making constant adjustments.

Benefits of Smart Thermostats

Here are ten reasons the added capabilities and features of a smart thermostat are so important to your modern, day-to-day life:

1. Easy Access from Anywhere

The widespread adoption of the smartphone has completely changed the way we access information and perform simple day-to-day tasks. Today’s smart thermostats have capitalized on the smartphone revolution by allowing you to take control of your HVAC system from anywhere. Whether you’re at the office, out shopping, simply away from the thermostat elsewhere in your home, or on vacation halfway around the world, you can control your HVAC system thanks to wifi integration found in most smart thermostats.

No more worrying about forgetting to shut off the air before you leave for work or wishing you could turn the heat on ahead of time, so you arrive back to a comfortable home — smart thermostats allow you to do all of this with the swipe of your finger or tap of a button. You’ll never have to get up from your seat again in order to make your home more comfortable.

2. Provides a Full Energy Readout

Many modern smart thermostats are particularly energy-sensitive and keep a careful record of how much energy you are using to heat or cool your home. As they gather this data, they place it into an easily-readable format that can usually be accessed online or through your smartphone. Are you using way too much energy on a particular day? Are there any patterns to your energy consumption based on things like time of year or weather? This system can help you better understand how you run your HVAC system, where you can make improvements, and what you can do to cut back on energy consumption and save money. Some of these systems can even predict your energy bill and tell you exactly how much you’ll pay based on a change in your temperature or operating conditions.

3. Tells You When Something Is Wrong

Modern smart thermostats can tell you when something is wrong with your heating and cooling system. Isn’t that incredible? The sophisticated sensors in these systems, along with their advanced behavioral algorithms, can pick up on subtle changes to how your HVAC system is working in order to tell you that something might be wrong. This allows you to have the problem properly addressed as soon as possible, and that could save you hundreds by avoiding the need for a costly, unexpected emergency repair.

Some of these thermostats can even be set up to automatically call for help whenever something major happens. By programming in the contact information of a participating HVAC system contractor, your thermostat can send diagnostic information directly to your technicians, allowing them to see what’s wrong and prepare for your fix right away. This allows them to call you, set up your appointment, and get you the fix you need as fast as possible.

Some smart thermostats can also send you reminder notifications to check and change your air filter. Changing your air filter is an important maintenance task that most people don’t do nearly often enough, and that leads to wasted energy and poor air quality. These handy reminders can help you breathe easier and save money by changing your filter frequently.

4. Make Decisions & Adjust Themselves

Finally, some thermostats also have the ability to learn from you and eventually make decisions or adjustments themselves. For example, the Nest® thermostat keeps track of a number of different factors, including the outdoor temperature, indoor air temperature, time of day, and the temperature you set your thermostat, just to name a few of the variables. It then processes these variables over the course of a short period of time in order to start “learning” your climate preferences. At this point, it can start making self-adjustment decisions in order to help you save money on your heating and cooling costs while remaining perfectly comfortable. You may never have to touch your thermostat again!

5. Maintenance Reminders

There are several aspects of your HVAC unit that require regular maintenance, like the air filters. But how often do you forget that your air filters need to be changed? With a wifi thermostat, you won’t need to worry about forgetting; your thermostat will send you regular reminders so that none of your maintenance falls through the cracks.

6. Learning

Many smart thermostats and some wifi thermostats have learning features built into them. This means that they begin to learn your schedule in terms of what time you leave for work every day and what time you come back home so that you don’t have to worry about adjusting your thermostat every time you enter or exit your house.

7. Improved Efficiency

By keeping up with your maintenance and only running your AC unit when it is actually needed, your air conditioning unit will begin to operate much more efficiently.

8. Lower Energy Costs

Everything that we have discussed above, the convenience of wifi thermostats, and the better efficiency all lead to lowered energy costs and HVAC costs in general. With the maintenance reminders, you are less likely to forget seasonal maintenance, which means your HVAC unit will be getting the service it needs and is less likely to break down prematurely.

Additionally, better efficiency equals less energy used and, therefore, lower energy costs. Better efficiency also means that your HVAC unit will be under less stress and will require fewer repairs, which will also save you a great deal of money.

9. Customized Consistency

Your schedule may vary dramatically from day to day, or you may have a consistent schedule throughout the entire week. Programmable thermostats are available in different schedule configurations to address your comfort needs. The most common models available include:

  • 5-2 programming – Select a unit with independent weekday and weekend programming options.
  • 5-1-1 programming – Select a unit that addresses different Saturday and Sunday programming needs.
  • Full week programming – Select a unit that allows you to use the same settings every day, excellent if your schedule doesn’t vary greatly.
  • 7-day programming – Select a unit that allows you to customize programming for each day independently of the others, ideal if your schedule varies dramatically.

10. Cost Control

The energy-efficient technology of a programmable unit can help you to keep your home comfort costs down. It is important to understand how adjustments affect your energy usage so that you program your unit appropriately. Making a change of just one degree can result in up to approximately three percent of savings in energy usage when that change is stable for at least eight hours.

Energy experts recommend beginning each day at a comfortable set point with increases and decreases based on your household activities. A sample adjustment schedule from ENERGY STAR is as follows:

  • 6 a.m. waking set point – ENERGY STAR uses 78 and 70, respectively, as cooling and heating setpoints.
  • 8 a.m. daytime changes – Increase cooling settings or decrease heating settings.
  • 6 p.m. evening settings – Revert to waking set point.
  • 10 p.m. nighttime settings – Increase cooling settings or decrease heating settings.

Learn more about the benefits of a wifi thermostat by contacting us today! At A-TEMP Heating, Cooling & Electrical, we understand the need for home comfort at the best price possible. Call us at (503) 694-3396 or visit our website for more information on the services we provide.