We’ve become used to technology becoming part of our daily lives, from ATM machines to Amazon.com letting us order just about anything with the click of a button, and even being able to get in touch through our cell phones or Blackberrys while we’re on vacation.
So, it should come as no surprise that our homes are becoming more and more integrated with the latest in technology. From a phone that can control your stereo to an oven that alerts you when a roast has reached its appropriate internal temperature, there have been some amazing advances in home automation.
In this guide, we’re going to look at how technology is revolutionizing the way in which we control our home heating. Whether you have designer or cheap radiators, or the top of the range boiler, smart technology can still improve your home’s heating efficiency and reduce your energy bills.
Smart thermostats connect to your heating system via the internet. This then lets you control the heating via your smart device. From changing the temperature to switching the heating off, it can all be done no matter where you are as long as you have internet access.
What’s the Difference Between a Standard Thermostat and a Smart Thermostat?
Well, with a standard thermostat you usually have an on and off switch. With a smart thermostat, there’s usually an app to control the heating from elsewhere in the world.
You can also receive alerts when your boiler is not working or if your home overheats. Some even work automatically, learning when you like the temperature set and changing it accordingly throughout the day and night for maximum efficiency and minimum energy bills.
Can smart thermostats save you money?
Some would say there’s no point in having a smart thermostat unless you have a system that uses them to take advantage of the “learning” function – this means they store data about your heating habits and learn when you’re away from home or at night, so your heating doesn’t come on unnecessarily.
The other benefit is that it can mean you don’t need as much heat as before because the system only turns on when it detects someone is in the room, which will save you money.
If, however, you have a very set routine, then you may find that you’re not going to get the real benefits of a smart thermostat. That means that it’s important to consider what the benefits might be for you, before spending your hard-earned cash.
The Functionality of Smart Systems
While each system offers a slightly different range of functionality, some of our favorite features include –
Geofencing is a common feature of smart thermostats. Where geofencing is in place the app knows when a mobile device leaves or enters a predefined area. This then means that your smart thermostat will know when you leave home or when you’re heading back. Then it can switch the heating on or off automatically.
Open Window Detection
If you have a lot of windows in your home, then this is a great feature for saving money. Open window detection can tell when one or more windows are open and then switch the heating off until they’re closed again. This stops that valuable heating from quite literally flying out of the window.
Some smart systems can learn your heating habits. So, after using the system for a couple of days, it will be able to predict what temperature you like a room to be and at what time. You’re not completely controlled by the smart system though as there will be a manual override for when the thermostat isn’t operating where you need it to be.
While the whole house might need to be set at a certain temperature, you can also have different settings for each room. This is great if you spend most of your time in one area and rarely use other rooms.
You can then save an absolute fortune on heating bills by using zoned heating instead of having the same temperature all over the property. Most smart thermostats also offer multi-room or multi-zone control, letting you heat different parts of your home independently.
You will need to also buy smart thermostatic radiator valves which then allow for the control of each radiator on an individual basis.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you live in a very cold area, then you will know that it can be a nightmare if your home freezes. Fortunately, there are smart solutions to this problem as well. All smart thermostats have a safety or holiday mode. This then heats the home only if the temperature drops below a predetermined level and this then stops the pipes from freezing in the winter.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
First off, you’ll need a boiler compatible with smart technology and an Internet router to connect to your heating system and app (it should be noted that not all boilers are compatible with smart thermostats, so do your homework first.
You’ll also need to plug the smart thermostat into an electric source, but once it’s plugged in, you can use it anywhere there’s internet access.
What Are My Options?
There are now many choices for smart thermostats on the market including Nest, Hive and Tado. Each of these is different but they all have the ability to control your heating from anywhere in the world via a smartphone app. They can also learn your habits and predict when you want heat so it comes on by itself without you even noticing.
How Do I Get a Smart Thermostat?
You can go online or visit a local dealer who specializes in home heating systems to find out which smart thermostats are compatible with your existing equipment. Just remember that not all systems support smart thermostats, so do some research first before you go out and purchase one for yourself.
Tech-savvy homeowners across the country are enjoying the benefits of smart technology and having a convenient way to control their heating systems from anywhere in the world via smartphone, tablet or laptop. If you’ve got any questions about smart thermostats, contact an expert at your local dealer who specializes in home heating today!