Smart thermostats are devices that allow you to control your heating in your home remotely from your phone, tablet, computer at work, or anywhere where you can log in and have an internet connection. They are sold to customers as a way of cutting energy bills as you have more control and information, but do they really make a difference?
There are many different smart thermostats available but they all work the same. You install them in your home yourself or you can get a professional to do it, and connect it to your boiler using Wifi. You then need to ensure that you always have an internet connection at home at least and download the corresponding app to your devices. Once this is done you can turn your heating up, down, on or off from your fingertips.
Yes, but. There is always a but because it totally depends on how you use the smart thermostat yourself and your lifestyle.
If your initial thought is "great, I can turn my heating on an hour earlier before I get home to warm my house up when it's cold" then you are probably going to increase your energy usage.
If not and you are forgetful and wish you had turned your boiler off before you left the house, then they are definitely going to save you money!
If you are a bit of a control freak or a stereotypical dad who has teenage kids at home switching on the heating in the middle of summer, then a smart thermostat lets you know when this is happening, and you can shut it down from the office. In all seriousness though, it would save quite a bit of energy.
.Smart thermostats vary in price depending on the make but cost between £94 and £250. This is just for the thermostat itself and doesn't include installation costs. You can install smart thermostats yourself, but if you're not too confident you can pay to have them professionally fitted at an extra cost.
What you can do with your smart thermostat will depend on which one you buy. They all have the obvious same features such as controlling how warm your home is etc. Some have features such as specific room control if you have smart TRV valves, hot water control if your boiler allows it, holiday modes & some can even track when you enter and leave your home. Boilers such as the Worcester 4000 new boiler replacement from Worcester Bosch are designed to be used with smart thermostats.
It can be great if you like to turn your heating on and off as you please, especially if you know you're leaving early one day and coming home later. This means there is no wasted heat during the periods of an empty house. By doing this you could offset the initial cost of the smart meter in the first 12 months of use.
There will probably not be much savings made if any of you have regular heating on at set times. Therefore the smart thermostat is more of a luxury than helping cut costs.
For example, if you leave the house every day at 8 and arrive home at 5.30 you can just use the standard controls and save the expense of a smart thermostat. There will be no reason for you to heat your home up to any later or earlier where potential savings could be made.
Essentially smart thermostats are a way of saving money on your energy bills but only if used properly and in a way where your heating is switched off more than it would be with a normal thermostat. If you have family or kids at home potentially switching the heating on unnecessarily then this could be a great way to keep a bit more control over your energy bills.
If you are concerned about your energy bills, it could be that you need a new boiler. Companies such as Boiler Central offer smart thermostats with new boilers which help to reduce the impact of boilers on the environment.