It is amazing how many people waste money by heating an empty home, or not optimising the energy usage in the best way.
With any appliance or device, the more control you have over them, the more money you can save on usage. The same applies to smart thermostats.
Smart Thermostats: What Are They?
They allow you to control your heating remotely, while you are on-the-go or from the comfort of the sofa. They connect to the WiFi in your home so you can turn it on/off and change the temperature with your compatible smartphone or computer.
The first thing to remember is that they are different to smart meters, which are available for free and allow you to see how much heating you are using and the cost, but not control it directly.
With smart thermometers, you don’t have to switch providers or get a specific model for a particular energy provider, so they are relatively easy to purchase and set it up.
How can a smart thermostat actually save money?
It is important to note that there aren’t technically any products on the market that can directly save you money, as the only things which can do this are changing your usage, optimising your insulation/doors/windows and switching provider to the best tariff.
However, a smart thermometer can give you more control over your heating, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying for. Some make changes automatically to provide you with the best outcome, and some give you the relevant data needed for you to take action yourself. This is essentially how they save you money.
- Remote Control –
You can set the heating to turn on when you’re coming home to save getting back to a cold house, either via the app or on a timer. This could prevent you having to keep the heating on low all day so it will heat the house quicker when the time comes.
Or, if you often get to work and realise you didn’t turn the heating off, simply log in to the app to save it being on all day. Working late but set the heat to come on at the usual 5.30pm automatically? You can easily delay it. Same if you fancy a lie-in one Saturday morning.
- Preciseness –
You can set a precise degree without any guesswork, unlike with many standard thermostats. Just lowering your heat by 1°C can actually save you money, yet you won’t even feel the difference (it could be as much as £100 per year).
- Suggestions and Energy Monitoring –
Some models can tell you when you’ve set an economical temperature; Nest uses a green leaf symbol when you’re at an energy-efficient setting, for example. Some also let you know if you are in peak time when national energy use (and cost) is high and offer suggestions on how to lower yours. You can also see how much you’re using, and work out why it may be so high.
- Even Heating –
Smart thermometers can help to heat your home evenly throughout, which may mean you can keep overall temperatures lower. There is no need to turn it up to boost one room. Likewise, there are models which allow you to control every room separately with the addition of thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) – no need to heat the whole house if you’re only using the living room one evening.
- Extra Features –
Some models may also have additional features, such as hot water control, holiday mode to protect the pipes when you’re not there, and ‘geofencing’ which tracks when you enter and leave home via your WiFi and location services (great if you’re very forgetful).
How much money can a smart thermostat save me?
The exact savings will differ from household to household, so this varies.
If you already limit your heating usage right back to basics or are barely ever at home, the difference may not be that visible for quite a while. But if you’re always misusing your heating, or have it on pretty much constantly throughout the day (whether you’re home or not), the savings could mean you recoup the cost of the thermostat within a year.
Each brand promises to save you slightly varying amounts, ranging from 10% with Nest to almost 40% with Honeywell. Hive says they can save you up to £150 per year. Tadoo says its smart thermostats will save customers 27% per year, which they say is £180 – but of course depends on how much your bills are in the first place.
Always shop around and see which is best for your needs and lifestyle, and remember these figures are based upon ideal conditions of use rather than real-world household examples.
How much does a smart thermostat cost?
The price of a smart thermostat generally sits at around £150-£300. Those at the higher end will commonly have more benefits, but it all depends on how you’ll be using it as to which is best for you – don’t be tempted to spend a lot of money on a ‘geofencing’ model if you don’t have a busy household or unpredictable schedule, for example.
Also, take into consideration fitting and installation costs. It is recommended that you get this all done professionally if you aren’t a dab hand at DIY. There may also be extra costs to make the most of any additional benefits, such as buying TVRs to control each room separately.
Is a Smart Thermostat for me?
Although the impact of a smart thermostat depends on your circumstances and heating habits, the freedom and control they offer is huge. So even if the money saved only happens to be minimal, they would make life easier.
If you are tempted, take a look at our reviews of the best smart heating available, including thermostats and TRVs, for every need and budget.