What is a Smart Thermostat

What is a Smart Thermostat?

If you’re looking for a simple way to reduce energy costs, here are some reasons to consider adding a smart thermostat to your home.

What is a smart thermostat?

Smart home thermostat technology with hand

Let’s start with what it is. A smart thermostat is a Wi-Fi enabled device that can be programmed to adjust your home’s temperature settings, run specialized programs, and even sense movement to maximize the energy efficiency in your home. All of this can be done on the smart thermostat or with a basic internet connection using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or other device with an internet connection. The smart thermostat will have an app to connect to using your Wi-Fi enabled device. Using this app, you will be able to program your thermostat, access energy usage reports and make changes to maximize your energy savings.

Energy Savings

Regular thermostats can be set to a specific temperature and hold it, however, if you leave for school or work and forget to adjust the temperature, it continues to run its regular programming. Leaving the air conditioner running or the heat warming throughout the day is a waste of electricity, but with a smart thermostat, you can easily adjust the settings even while away from home. To avoid any discomfort, the smart thermostat can be programmed to increase the heat before you return home, so you never notice the drop in temperature while you are out.

Lowering your home’s temperature even by a couple degrees during the winter months can save you money. On average, you can save as much as 10% a year by using a smart thermostat according to Energy.gov. The percentage of savings is greater for homes in milder climates than in more extreme climates.

Motion Sensors

Many smart thermostats have built in motion sensors to determine whether the home is occupied or not. With the use of motion sensors, the smart thermostat can learn your routines and adjust temperatures accordingly. For larger homes, additional motion sensors can be added to the home for accuracy on household occupancy in other parts of the home, other than at the location of the smart thermostat.

Easy Installation

If you are concerned about installing or programming a smart thermostat, this an area where the device stands out. As long as you have the correct wiring, it’s as simple as turning off the power and reconnecting the wiring from the old thermostat to the new thermostat, installing the new faceplate, restoring power and programming the new smart thermostat. Programming instructions for the smart thermostat will be included in the device but are relatively simple. If installing your new device is concerning to you, or if you determine the wiring won’t match up per the manufacturer’s instructions, don’t hesitate to call an electrician.


A basic model smart thermostat starts at around $50. The motion sensing technology and extra programming can increase this cost to several hundred dollars. This is a relatively small price to pay for making changes that will reduce your annual energy cost.

Special Considerations

The placement of a smart thermostat is quite important. It needs to be mounted in an area where it will not get inaccurate readings from heat sources such as direct sunlight, warmth from a clothes dryer or in a kitchen space. Furniture can block air movement and affect the temperature and motion readings as well.

Like any other technology, there is bound to be a downside. Because a smart thermostat is operated using Wi-Fi, your ability to use an app and make adjustments is interrupted with a power outage.

For questions about reducing energy in your home, contact us at Pilchuck Heating.

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