Wi-Fi thermostats can give you greater control over your HVAC system. These devices not only offer the potential to save you money on monthly energy bills, but they also keep your living space more comfortable without much fuss. Of course, Wi-Fi thermostats aren’t suitable for every household. Consider whether the features, system requirements, and potential savings are right for you and your household.
Features of a Smart Thermostat
Wi-Fi thermostats, or a smart thermostat, allow you to change the settings from anywhere in your house via remote control. Even when you’re outside of your living space, you can use an app on your cell phone or laptop to adjust the temperature. This is especially useful if you can’t remember if you left the AC or furnace on while away on lengthy trips.
Using outdoor sensors, Wi-Fi thermostats can also provide an accurate reading of the temperature and humidity outdoors. In some cases, these sensors can also be placed in different rooms to give you a temperature reading of any space in your house. By using sensors in different rooms, thermostat location is not an issue like most thermostats.
Wi-Fi thermometers can give you detailed reports about your energy usage. You can find information about the system runtimes as well as how much you're reducing your energy costs. This helps you further reduce usage by adjusting your system as necessary.
Some models also keep you updated on the status of your HVAC system. They can warn you when it’s time for a tune-up, helping you keep the system working at peak performance. Nexia is a Trane Thermostat that connects not only your HVAC system, but can also connect to your lights, door locks, security cameras and even your garage door. You can decide how much you want to connect and you can add on at any time.
Before you can reap the benefits of a Wi-Fi thermostat, you first need to find one that’s compatible with your system. Consider questions such as the following before choosing a thermostat:
How many stages does your system have? A two-stage furnace will have w1 and w2 terminals, while multiple stages of cooling will have y1 and y2 terminals. Thermostats often come labeled with the necessary system stage requirements.
What is the voltage of your system? While 24V is common, yours might differ or have additional requirements. For example, some electric heaters need a line-voltage thermostat, rather than the low-voltage type. Line-voltage units tend to have thicker wires than low-voltage units. When in doubt, you can use a voltmeter.
For additional compatibility issues, consult the thermostat manufacturer’s official website. Many of them include a tool to ensure your system meets the requirements.
Different manufacturers boast different potential savings with their Wi-Fi thermostats.
For example, while Nest Learning Thermostat claims to save customers 10-12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling, ecobee suggests it can save users 23% on both heating and cooling. Actual savings will vary based on how you end up using your device, as well as other factors such as your local climate.
Look for calculators on the manufacturer’s site to get a general estimate of your expected savings before you install a thermostat. Note that these thermostats can be more expensive than more traditional models, but the upfront cost could be worth the eventual energy savings after you.