Heating and cooling our homes costs lots of money and for those trying to save money, traditional thermostats pose a problem. They can only be turned on when people are within arm’s length of it. So, if you’re not in the room to turn it off or turn it back on, you're stuck. Often this means heating a room for hours just so it is warm when you get home.
Smart thermostats find are purpose built to avoid this issue. First, easy to use home automation calendars can allow you to set a schedule for changing the desired temperature. Using weekly and one-off “events” we can tell the thermostat when it should maintain a comfortable temperature, and when it can cut energy usage. In addition, you can always change the setting when you want to or tell it to have the room warm up or cool down in advance of you using it. This enables you to use your home's HVAC systems as little as possible.
And there are still other ways to save energy with smart thermostats. You can have it turn off the heating or cooling whenever your phone leaves the house, or your alarm system is activated. Since most home security systems have sensors to track unexpected openings of windows, they can also prevent your heating and cooling from running when a window is open.
It’s not just about what thermostats you use but where you use them. Thermostats placed in the wrong place can be inaccurate and run less efficient schedules. All thermostats should be away from any heating or cooling source. This way its reading air is close to the room’s average temperature. If your AC blows air on a thermostat it will be cooler than the rest of the room, especially if the AC is just starting to cool the room off. In such a situation the thermostat might shut off prematurely and may confuse you into making the room too cold, since the set temperature appeared too warm. The same is true if it is near appliances which can make your thermostat heat up and make the reading inaccurate. Another way to improve the readings is to add sensors to monitor the temperature in places poorly monitored by the thermostat, something we at Mindhome believe should become a standard robotic smart home feature because of its importance for connected fire prevention.
For those with the opportunity to make big changes to their HVAC system, adding zones is an important way to save energy and increase comfort. A zone is an area of the house that has one control for the heat or AC. More zones mean more control. Having one zone per floor is important since hot air rises meaning each floor has different heating needs. Having multiple rooms on the same floor can also be an issue since the sun will shine through the windows at different times. More zones will allow the heat to adjust for sunlight in each part of your home. In addition, more zones allows you to reduce the number of rooms you heat to something closer to the minimum. Ideally each room would have its own thermostat so it can be controlled independently so you only heat the parts of your home you’re using. Adding zones is complicated though and requires installing at least one remote controlled valve or switch to control the amount of heat going into a room.