Our fascination with smart home devices is always increasing, from lamps that can be turned on by clapping your hands to voice assistants that can control your speakers and play your favourite music. These devices help many people and can make certain aspects of our lives easier. You can perform a Google search without getting off the sofa, and now you can control the temperature in your rooms too. Smart thermostats are a clever way for you to control your heating, no matter where you are.
A smart thermostat connects your heating system to the internet, allowing you to control your heating from wherever you are in the world. Whether you’re in your upstairs bedroom or holidaying in Mexico, you can control your heating as long as your phone has an internet connection. However, some thermostats are able to do much more than this. Others can determine if there’s no one at home and will turn your heating off, and some will allow you to set different rooms at different temperatures. The latter is ideal if you prefer your living room to be a cosy 21 °C but your bedroom a cool 18 °C.
Some smart devices can even learn from your behaviour to adjust your heating. For example, if you work from 9am to 5pm each day, the system might learn that you arrive home at 5.30pm. Therefore, it may choose to put your heating on an hour before your arrival. These thermostats can also detect when a window is open or when the oven is on and will adjust the temperature accordingly to keep your home at a constant heat.
A smart thermostat requires certain devices in order to work. Firstly, the thermostat must be connected to your boiler and central heating system so that it can control it. Secondly, the smart thermostat needs an app so that you can use your smartphone to control the whole system.
Once you’ve downloaded the app that accompanies your smart thermostat, you’ll be able to turn on your heating and hot water, set a schedule and adjust the temperature you want your home to be. You can even tell it when you’re going on holiday so you don’t have to remember to turn the heating off before you go.
Now that we’ve determined how smart ‘smart’ thermostats are, can they really save you money on your heating bills?
As mentioned previously, you can use your smart thermostat to only heat your home when someone is there. A traditional heating system would follow its programme, coming on and off when you’ve set it. However, with a smart thermostat, you will be able to tell your heating not to come on to the full desired room temperature if you’re staying late at work or going out in the evening. Some devices can use geo tracking to pinpoint your location. When it senses that every family member has gone out, it can turn down the heating to a standby temperature thus keeping your house warm. As you get closer to home, your thermostat can tell your boiler to increase to the desired temperature before you arrive home. Turning your heating temperature down when no one’s home could save you a substantial amount of money each year. Reducing the amount of times your boiler goes on and off completely could also help reduce wear and tear on key components, therefore potentially increasing the lifetime of the boiler.
You might also choose to only heat the rooms that you need. For example, if you have a formal dining room that is rarely used, it’s likely that the heating of this room could be reduced to a lower temperature. Instead, you might spend all of your time in the living room in the evening. It makes much more sense to keep the temperature higher in the rooms that are used the most instead of the ones that aren’t used at all.
Some smart thermostats have a multi-zone function that allows you to set different rooms to different temperatures, and to not heat certain areas at all. You may choose to zone your home so that only the downstairs is heated in the morning and the upstairs in the evening. You can choose to zone your home however you wish, provided you have a smart thermostat with the multi-zone feature.
Just like a smart meter, smart thermostats can show you how much energy you’re using and what you’re spending. This feature will likely make you more aware of your energy usage and may encourage you to reduce it. It could make you think twice about turning the heating up or getting snuggly in your dressing gown and bed socks. Decreasing your thermostat’s temperature from 21 °C to 20 °C could result in an annual saving of six per cent. Knowing how much you’re spending on heating could force you to try to reduce this where possible.
As their name suggests, smart thermostats are ultimately cleverer than standard versions. They can learn your routine and how quickly your home warms up, and even use the temperature outside to heat your home accordingly.
There are other factors that will affect how much money you can save on heating your home, including the age and efficiency of your boiler, how well insulated your home is and the temperature that you set your home to.
If you want to work out how much money you can save by using a smart thermostat, you can use tado°’s calculator to figure it out, based on the age and size of your home
The tado° smart thermostat has most of the features that we’ve listed above. It can be controlled via an app on your phone and could reduce your heating bills by up to 31 per cent. Geofencing notifies you to turn down your heating when no one is at home and can notify you when a window has been opened. It can even notify you when the humidity in a room, such as your bathroom, is too high and recommend that you open a window to prevent mould.
This thermostat works with Viessmann boilers to provide you with additional control of your heating. Some options will only be available with combi boilers or four pipe system boilers. Remember that smart controls can be used for all heating appliances such as heat pumps.