As the saying goes, old habits die hard. There are many homeowners out there who have been living in the same home for ten, twenty or thirty years — in some cases a lot longer than that. As the seasons come and go, people often continue about their daily routines without really questioning how their home is operating, or whether there are any ways to cut costs and run a more efficient home.
This is obviously important because of the environment. It’s no secret that saving resources, using less, and making our lifestyles more efficient is a necessary thing going forward.
But making your home more efficient is also important for a reason that’s more direct and immediate for families and homeowners today: Saving money. Everyone is interested in scaling back costs, especially if it can be done in a way that doesn’t negatively affect the lifestyle you’re able to life.
Out of all the home automation devices and “smart home” gadgets out there — not to mention all of the various other technological advances homeowners can take advantage of these days — smart thermostats are the single most accessible and easy way to make the home more efficient and ultimately net yourself some noticeable savings.
How is this accomplished? Wouldn’t you also need a new, high-efficiency furnace and better insulation in order to really reap the benefits of a smart thermostat?
Not exactly. It’s true that upgrading your furnace and installation will almost invariably have a positive effect on the efficiency of your HVAC system, but this represents a very big investment, and many homeowners simply can’t make it work in the immediate future.
A smart thermostat, however, is a very small investment. Not only that, it can work with your existing furnace and doesn’t require other upgrades to your home. But can it lead to energy savings all on its own?
The answer is yes. By preventing unnecessary heating, and by “learning” your heating patterns and interacting with your preferences, smart thermostats are able to help owners get a much clearer view of the energy they’re using. They can be programmed to more or less work on their own, using their internal algorithms to make the use of your heating system more efficient. They can also be programmed to work in very specific ways as directed by the user.
At the same time, these devices allow far greater control over the heating situation throughout the winter. One of the biggest benefits of a smart thermostat is how easy it is to manipulate your indoor climate from anywhere in the world. When you’re at the office and the house is empty, you can turn your heating down a few degrees using your smart phone or tablet. If you leave on vacation, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the heat down. And when you’re on your way home, it couldn’t be easier to crank the heat up again.
It’s worth mentioning that turning your heat drastically down will force the system work harder in order to warm the place up again — this often defeats the purpose of energy savings. But smart thermostats have their own kind of intelligence, and the best ones on the market (when properly installed) will work with you to achieve optimal heating efficiency throughout the winter.