You’re coming home from a comfortable warm house. The fire shifts with you as you move from the kitchen to the living room in the evening for a night on the couch. A smart thermostat makes sure your heating suits your lifestyle. But in terms of cost and features, the systems may be very distinct.
Smart thermostat vs “dumb thermostat”
There are approximately three types: the manual thermostat that you manually turn on or off, the programmable thermostat that you set according to your lifestyle, and the intelligent thermostat that does the same thing, but automatically.
The Wi-Fi connection allows you to operate the device through your smartphone or geo-fencing, which allows your smart thermostat to know that when you are almost home, it can turn on.
The thing can be linked to some car models (Mercedes) or to certain smartwatches (Jawbone) by purebred technicians who register where you are and if you are already awake.
For example, you will soon be able to attach the Bosch EasyControl thermostat to Amazon Alexa, so you can ask Alexa to lower the temperature slightly between soup and chips.
The sensors also decide the space in which you are and, of course, you still receive a comprehensive monthly consumption report.
You can’t think of it like nuts or have it at home with a smart thermostat.
What do I need to install a smart thermostat?
Usually – but sadly not always – installing a smart thermostat itself is very simple: the installer installs the appliance, you download the software, and you’re off.
A smartphone can be used to run all devices.
Also, a modulating boiler is a justification to subject your option to an additional vital investigation (with more positions than just on / off) so you must then select a thermostat that can modulate such a boiler in a modulating way.
Best of all, check in advance if your smart thermostat or your heating system is compatible with it. Even if you have floor heating or a heat pump, there are smart thermostats that are acceptable.
If there is a constant temperature in your house, heat pumps reach the highest efficiency: there will therefore be little work for your smart thermostat.
How much does it cost for a smart thermostat?
In principle, since some energy suppliers sell it with (usually multi-year) contracts or while buying your heating installation, you can purchase a smart thermostat ‘for free’.
Depending on how many devices you need, it is best to count on a sum between EUR 150 and EUR 500 if you choose not to commit to a supplier.
Fortunately, you save up to hundreds of euros per year, according to the vendors, but it is worth remembering those strong claims.
You certainly won’t get such amazing savings unless you leave your thermostat unabashedly at 22 degrees day and night during the winter, even when you’re not at home.
On the contrary, your consumption could even increase.
Since someone who comes home today and chills the cold for half an hour before their house is warmed up can use only more with a smart thermostat before you return home, which preheats your house.
Kathleen, who has a gas condensing boiler with a smart thermostat, was put to the test by Ecobouwers and went to listen.
A smart thermostat: worth it or not?
In theory, much like a standard programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat doesn’t do anything more than boost and lower the temperature at specified times.
The distinction lies in automation and some other high-tech gadgets, maybe.
Therefore, someone who walks in and out at more or less precise times can buy a cheaper, programmable model just as well. If you lead an irregular life or you like comfort very much, then the gem is certainly worth it.
Our Tips for buying a smart thermostat
It is best to take into account a few considerations before buying a smart thermostat, such as the compatibility of your heating system, your mobile, your home’s degree of insulation, your lifestyle, the price of the technical tour de force, and your privacy.
1. Is a smart thermostat compatible with your heater?
Only in conjunction with a compatible central heating system does a smart thermostat function.
The box and your boiler must also be able to communicate through WiFi or via a protocol with each other.
New boilers are typically all fitted with the same OpenTherm protocol, but often there are some issues with older boilers and older smart thermostats.
Check in advance if it is possible to balance the two.
Besides, boilers are often modulated by a smart combined thermostat that can regulate modulation.
Modulating implies that not only does your boiler have an on or off mode, but it can also burn softer or harder to conserve energy.
You will lose this energy-saving advantage if you mount a modulating boiler to a thermostat that can only send an on or off signal.
For this, most new intelligent thermostats are fitted, but testing this never hurts.
Even if you have floor heating or a heat pump, not all smart thermostats are suitable.
A smart thermostat is of little use, especially for heat pump owners, as they achieve the best efficiency at a constant temperature.
2. Is your smart thermostat compatible with your phone?
For maximum user convenience, you can monitor a smart thermostat through your smartphone.
You may not be able to use any of the applications if you do not have a smartphone (or a Windows phone).
3. Is your house insulated well?
The more a house is heated, the less it can yield a smart thermostat.
You’ll never win back the purchase of a smart thermostat if you have a low energy bill anyway.
In homes with a high energy bill, a smart thermostat especially proves its worth.
4. Do you need it for real?
A simpler, programmable thermostat is in theory adequate if you leave and come home at more or less regular times.
If you purchase one with several technological gadgets, such as a thermostat that knows which room you are in and changes the temperature of all rooms accordingly, the smart thermostat is just helpful.
When you leave a room or your house, if you are very consistent in lowering your thermostat, then even a programmable model is not required.
5. Is the price warranted?
Sadly, just the sun rises for nothing at all.
If you are given a free smart thermostat by your energy provider, this normally comes with multi-year contracts.
You actually need to pay off the remaining value of your thermostat if you cancel your contract early.
Moreover, under a rental contract, several energy suppliers often sell a smart thermostat.
If you’re already economical for electricity anyway, you’re unlikely to get this monthly expense out of it.
If you purchase a smart thermostat yourself, depending on how high-tech the model needs to be, you can expect a sum between EUR 150 and EUR 500.
6. What is privacy dealt with by the supplier?
Data is obtained by digital devices, and data is important.
For instance, Google’s smart thermostat Nest is an example of ease of use, but you could wonder if Google still wants to know when you are at home, get up, go to sleep, etc., in addition to all the other data they have about you.