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How to train your thermostat to work for you

smart thermostatWi-Fi thermostats are an exciting evolution of heating and cooling control for your home or office. This state of the art technology builds upon the basic options of temperature control, scheduling and digital interfaces that existing programmable thermostats include, but with a much wider variety of added features.

The new features include increased savings through energy efficiency and feedback, remote access to programming and adjusting, geofencing, and alerts. Once your Smart Thermostat is synced up with your Wi-Fi router, you have remote access from using your phone, tablet or computer from across the room or the world! The future of heating and cooling comfort is now - no matter where you are, your Wi-Fi thermostat keeps you connected to your home’s environment with control right in the palm of your hand.

Check out what this exciting new technology offers as outlined on SmartHome.Com

Temperature Control

First and foremost, your thermostat should excel at controlling the temperature in your home.

  • Heating & Cooling Stages - Most homes only have a furnace and an AC unit. Some installations may have a more sophisticated setup that involves multiple heating or cooling stages based on the level of heat needed. Not all thermostats can control 2, 3 or more heating and cooling stages. Check your current thermostat and make sure you purchase one that is compatible with your heating and cooling system.
  • Temperature Swing - change in degrees that will turn the HVAC back on, the smaller the number, the more frequently it will come on, the larger the number, the more energy you will save.
  • Programmable Fan - if you use a whole house fan to cool your home this will be an important feature to consider.
  • Keypad Lock - a great feature if you want to prevent others from tampering with your settings.
  • Auto Changeover - allows the thermostat to automatically determine when to switch back and forth between heating and cooling.

Energy Management

If you're looking to decrease your carbon footprint - or simply your gas and electricity bills - some Wi-Fi thermostats are better than others. Various features help you conserve energy by only running your system when you are home or by learning your habits to automatically create a schedule.

  • Scheduling - classification of set points for 7 (same for each day), 5-2 (Monday-Friday & Saturday/Sunday), 5-1-1 (Monday-Friday & Saturday & Sunday), 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 (different each day).
  • Vacation Mode - the ability to quickly turn off all schedules when you are away from home or on vacation.
  • Automatic - if the thermostat learns and adapts to your use and automatically and turns on and off based on your use.
  • Feedback - ideal for monitoring energy usage and savings, some may even send you a text or email to let you know how you are doing.
  • Geofencing - will trigger your thermostat to turn your HVAC system on based on your GPS location (using your smartphone).
  • Target Temperature Time - a number of minutes of how long it will take your system to reach its target temperature.

Sensors

A thermostat in a dark and deserted hallway can only monitor the temperature in that hallway. Some Wi-Fi thermostats can use additional sensors spread throughout your home to more accurately heat or cool your home.â

  • Zones - relatively new to Wi-FI thermostat, temperature sensors can be placed throughout your home to determine if the system should be on or offive.
  • Weather - because a Wi-Fi thermostat is connected to the Internet, it can use local weather conditions to determine operation automatically.
  • Humidity - for those wanting to maintain a specific humidity, a built-in or communicating humidity sensor can be used determine if the system should be on or off.
  • Motion - limits the use of your HVAC system to periods when motion has been detected (ideally to detect when someone is home).
  • Status Indicators - a built-in diagnostic tool to let you know if your system is running efficiently; often a new filter can make a big difference.

Design, Aesthetics, and Support

The overall look and feel of the device, ease of use and on the device, and the remote control functionality from smartphone, tablet or PC should also weigh heavily. HVAC systems can be complex - even if their end goal is simple - so you should also consider the support that a manufacturer provides as well if your initial setup doesn't go exactly as planned.

  • Looks - this product will sit on a wall, likely in clear view - do you want it to blend in or stand out?
  • Installation - can you install it yourself or does the product recommend a professional HVAC technician perform the installation?
  • Integration - does the product have a standalone app, does it work with other devices, or is it a part of a total home automation system?
  • Local Control - can you control everything you want directly on the thermostat and how easy obvious are the controls?
  • Mobile Application - do you want to be able to program everything from your app, or simply turn it on or off?
  • Support - What is the warranty, are there any online forums, email support, phone support, live chat?