The pros and cons of a smart thermostat

November 3, 2015

A smart thermostat can help reduce energy consumption by controlling your home's temperature at any time. But these tools do have some drawbacks. These pros and cons will help you decide if this device is what you need.

The pros and cons of a smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are linked to a smartphone, but they can also be adjusted online or at the thermostat's control panel. This means that whether you're at work, on vacation or running errands, all you need is a smartphone to adjust the thermostat in your home.

The pros

  • Adjust the temperature in your home at any time — For example, if you have to work late, you can remotely access your thermostat and change the time when your house's temperature is set to rise.
  • Less effort on your part — Most smart thermostats learn from your behaviour. For example, if you always turn down the heat before sleeping, they'll recognize this habit and create a customized schedule for your house.
  • View your house’s energy consumption in real time — This can be incredibly useful if you're trying to budget for annual heating and cooling costs. For example, if you notice that you've already spent the equivalent of $120 heating your house during the first week of the month, you may grab a sweater rather than turning up the heat.
  • Conveniently heat a vacation home — For example, you can program a smart thermostat to heat your home before you arrive, and you won't have to worry about remembering to turn it down when you leave.

The cons

  • Cost — Smart thermostats can be at least four times the cost of conventional thermostats. This can exceed many family's budgets. Also, renters should be aware that it may take years to save enough energy to pay for the device.
  • Difficult to install — Smart thermostats may be tricky to set up without a technicians assistance, and there have been reports of technical problems with some models.
  • Complicated to use — Smart thermostats may prove difficult for young children and the elderly to control without assistance. They also require that you remember to use them: you won’t save any energy if you forget to turn down the heat when you and your family go out to dinner and a movie.

Purchasing a smart thermostat can help you become more energy conscious. If you tend to forget to turn down the heat when you leave the house, upgrading your thermostat could help you reduce your energy bills.
However, if you already have a programmable thermostat that you regularly adjust, a smart thermostat is probably not a necessary investment.

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