What are Smart Things?
SmartThings is a home automation system developed by Honeywell. It was launched in 2014 and it offers various features such as door locks, smoke detectors, security cameras, and much more. It’s main feature is its integration with other products like Nest or LIFX. It allows users to control these devices from their smartphone using voice commands. You can even use your phone as a remote sensor!
How do I choose the Best WiFi Thermostat?
There are many factors that go into choosing the best wifi thermostat. There are several factors to consider when selecting a wireless temperature monitoring device. These include: price, features, reliability, ease of installation and more. Here is how you can select the best wifi thermostat for your home:
Price – Most of the time there will be two major considerations when buying a new product; cost and quality. When looking at the top rated wifi thermostat, you’ll see that they’re all priced around $200-$300. That’s a pretty high price tag to pay for something so basic.
However, if you want a more advanced model with features like motion sensors and energy saving modes, then those prices drop considerably. If you don’t mind spending some extra money on your heating and cooling needs, then you may prefer one of the cheaper models.
Features – Each of the WiFi temperature monitoring devices have different features. Some have very basic functions, while others can do almost everything but cook you breakfast. Here are some features that you should look for in a model before purchasing:
You should also look at the size of each thermostat. Some of them are large and bulky, which may not be ideal if you have a small hallway or cramped area around your furnace.
Reliability – When looking at the best WiFi thermostat reviews, you’ll notice they all have similar ratings in this category. However, there are some minor differences. For example, one may have more or less positive reviews than another.
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a better or worse product (even though it may be). It just means that customers had more or less to say about it. You should always take such things into consideration when looking at the reviews of each product.
Ease of Installation – When looking at the top rated WiFi thermostats, you’ll notice that most of them are extremely easy to install. Each one comes with its own installation CD and instructions on how to set it up. Some are even designed for particular types of furnaces or boiler systems so you don’t have to worry about choosing the wrong one.
Installing these thermostats should only take around 30 minutes of your time.
Additional Features – Certain WiFi thermostats have additional features that allow them to do more than just control the temperature of your house. For example, some models can turn on and off lights when the sun is out or when a certain temperature is reached. They can also alert you when your child has opened a protected window or door.
These are nice additions to have if you want to give yourself that extra comfort.
Price – The most expensive WiFi thermostat costs around $450, while the cheapest one can be yours for around $120. The more expensive ones usually have more features and are sometimes easier to install, but this isn’t always the case. It just depends on which one you prefer.
If you want to save money, then you can purchase a cheaper model as long as it has all the functions you need.
The Important Functions of a WiFi Thermostat
There are several important functions to consider when looking at the best wifi thermostat. Each one of the models that you will look at in this buying guide have these functions, so you shouldn’t have to worry about that. These functions include alerts, data logging, remote access, web and phone control and more.
Alerts – One of the top features to have is an alert system. These WiFi thermostats can send you an alert on your phone, tablet or computer whenever a certain event happens. For example, you can set it so that it notifies you when the temperature drops below a certain level.
You may also receive alerts if the device detects carbon monoxide or smoke in the area.
Data Logging – Another important feature is data logging. Your WiFi thermostat will track and record certain information over a period of time. You can then go back and see this data at a later time so you can determine whether or not your heating and cooling system is efficient.
For example, it will tell you how much energy the furnace used last month or when the last time the air conditioner was serviced.
Remote Access – Do you want to be able to change the temperature setting on your thermostat when you are away from home or even while you are at home?
With remote access, you can do this. Some WiFi thermostats will allow you to make changes to the temperature settings from anywhere that you have internet service or a mobile connection.
Web and Phone Control – This is similar to remote access except it requires you to have both internet service and a landline connection. With web and phone control, you can change your thermostat settings by going online through your desktop or by calling a phone number that connects to the WiFi thermostat.
Some thermostats only offer one of these options while others give you all three. If you want to make changes to the temperature setting from your phone, then remote access is what you want. If you want to make changes from anywhere that you have internet connection, then remote access is still what you want.
If you want to make changes by calling a phone number, then web and phone control is what you need.
Energy Savings – One of the best reasons to buy and use a WiFi thermostat is to save money on your energy bill. These thermostats are able to help you save up to 30% on your heating and cooling costs. This is because they are able to make small adjustments to the temperature settings when your house isn’t occupied.
The goal is to only raise the temperature a few degrees which will keep your house at the right temperature, but use much less energy.
Hot Water Systems
Another appliance in your home that a smart thermostat can help you save money on is your hot water system. Most people just have a standard hot water heater that keeps a certain amount of gallons of water at a set temperature. If more hot water is needed, then it slowly heats up the water until it reaches the top.
A smart hot water heater is connected to a thermostat and it only heats the water to a certain set temperature. When a faucet is turned on, it sends a signal to the water heater to start heating the water to the right temperature. This cuts down on a lot of wasted energy since you are only heating the water that is actually going to be used.
These types of hot water systems are very common in areas where the temperature drops below 60 degrees since that’s when most people turn their faucets on to heat the water. However, these systems can be used anywhere since they save a lot of energy and money.
Water Heater Maintenance
Just like your furnace, your hot water heater will eventually need maintenance. It’s a good idea to have a professional take a look at it every couple of years. They can determine if any parts need to be replaced and can give the all clear for the next few years.
Most plumbers offer this service for free if they install the hot water tank.
Hot water heaters also have an annual inspection that you can do yourself. Most plumbers will provide you with a tag that tells you what to look for when performing this inspection. Make sure to perform this inspection every year so you’ll know if anything is wrong or needs to be repaired.
Tankless Water Heaters
If you don’t have a hot water heater in your home, then a common option is to have a tankless one installed. These heat the water as it is needed and are a very efficient way to provide hot water to your home. Some homes are even replacing their standard tank water heaters with tankless versions.
The other main benefit of these units is that they provide endless hot water. Once the water is heated, it just continues to run through the coil until it reaches the desired temperature. This helps to save even more energy since you aren’t heating any excess water.
If you are looking for a tankless water heater for your home, then you’ll need to make sure that your home has enough pressure in the lines to feed the heater. If not, then it won’t be able to heat the water. These types of heaters can also be very loud since they run all of the time.
You also need to have an electrician wire it into the electrical panel since it uses a lot of power.
Some tankless water heaters are built into your oven so you will lose that functionality while others sit on the wall and don’t take up any space at all. Be sure to measure your space before buying one so you know if they’ll fit.
The cost of these units can be a little high, but they save so much energy that they usually pay for themselves within a few years. If you are in the market for one of these, then be sure to shop around since prices can vary quite a bit. Be sure to look online as there are some websites that provide great pricing without the sales tax.
You can also consider buying a used one since some people upgrade to a new one and sell their old one.
Once you have your tankless water heater, then you just need to have the plumber come out and connect a supply line to it and then you’re ready to go.
The advantages of tankless water heaters are that they are very energy efficient and provide endless hot water. The disadvantages are that they can be quite expensive to buy and install.
Sources & references used in this article:
Data Mining of Smart WiFi Thermostats to Develop Multiple Zonal Dynamic Energy and Comfort Models of a Residential Building by K Huang, A Alanezi, K Hallinan, R Lou – 2018 – docs.lib.purdue.edu
Self-Learning Algorithm to Predict Indoor Temperature and Cooling Demand from Smart WiFi Thermostat in a Residential Building by K Huang, KP Hallinan, R Lou, A Alanezi, S Alshatshati… – Sustainability, 2020 – mdpi.com
Best practices in utility demand response programs by AS Hopkins, M Whited – Synapse Energy Economics …, 2017 – publicsde.regie-energie.qc.ca