Are smart thermostats worth the investment?
Smart thermostats connect your heating system to the internet, allowing you to adjust things remotely by phone, tablet or other devices. Their basic function is the same as a traditional thermostat – you can programme a schedule to suit your needs and set up a plan for when your heating comes on and turns off, plus the temperature setting – but it’s much easier to manage it all with a smart thermostat.
The real difference is the extensive additional functionality smart thermostats offer. They learn how your home heats up, the temperatures you prefer, and can detect open windows or unexpected draughts. Some even keep track of when you leave home or if you’re on your way back so they can adjust your heating accordingly.
Features vary; however, below is a brief explanation of the common ones:
Allows you to add more thermostats so you can independently control the heating in different areas of your home.
- Open window detection
Senses a sudden drop in temperature or humidity when a window is opened and can notify you or turn off the heating.
- Hot water control
Gives you greater control over your hot water but only works with certain water tanks.
Enables your smart thermostat to communicate with your smartphone when you enter or leave your home and automatically turn itself on or off.
- Temperature notification
Lets you know if the temperature inside your home gets too high or low, preventing you from wasting energy or returning to a freezing house.
- Weather forecast
Takes current and forecast temperatures into account to heat your home to your desired temperature.
- Frost protection
Stops your pipes from freezing by firing up the heating if the outside temperature drops below a specific limit.
- Holiday mode
Automatically sets your heating to a low temperature or switches it off when you’re away. You can then advise when you’re back and what temperature it should return to.
Smart thermostats typically work with most boilers, including standard gas, oil and electric. As long as a regular thermostat or programmer can control the system, it should be OK. Most smart thermostats also work with home tech such as Amazon Echo or Google Home. Once connected, you’ll be able to ask Alexa or Google to increase or decrease the heating or set it at a certain temperature. And there’s no need to worry if your internet connection goes down temporarily; your heating will stay on and continue to run the schedule you’ve set it to. You may not be able to update it via your app or online until things are back up and running, but you’ll still be able to use the manual controls on the thermostat itself if needed.
Smart thermostats cost anywhere between £150 and £280, depending on make and model, plus installation. There’s no guarantee you’ll save money, though it really depends on your habits. If you leave the house and return home at roughly the same times every day, a traditional thermostat would probably be sufficient, as they can be programmed to come on at set times. Similarly, if you work from home, you should be able to manage your heating manually. But if you don’t have a set routine or you’re keen to get a better handle on your heating bills, a smart thermostat could be a great option for you and help you make sizable savings. And in contrast to smart meters, it doesn’t matter to smart thermostats which energy supplier you use so that you can switch as and when you find a better deal.
The major smart thermostat providers are listed below, with some further info about the features they offer:
- Multizone, hot water control, geolocation, temperature notifications, weather forecasts, frost protection and holiday mode.
- Offers historical information on temperatures inside and outside your home.
- True wireless connectivity through a battery-operated remote thermostat
- Learns your habits, multizone, hot water control, geolocation, frost protection and holiday mode.
- Helps you save by displaying a green leaf symbol when you adjust your thermostat to a more efficient temperature.
- Multizone, hot water control, geolocation, open window detection, weather forecasts, frost protection and holiday mode.
- Estimates the savings you’re making by installing a smart thermostat based on the number of hours you’d be heating your home without it.
There are plenty of other excellent alternatives to look out for too, such as Honeywell, Netatmo, Genius and Geo Cosy.
So what’s the best smart thermostat?
MHL recommend the Hive thermostat above all others, this is due to its simplicity, stylish looks, UK design, and real wireless credentials (battery operated).
MHL are smart thermostat specialists, we can advise on the best smart thermostat to meet your needs.
To discuss your available options and get a quote, call the team on 0800 061 4567 firstname.lastname@example.org