Gone are the days when some parts of the house would be steamy hot while others were icy cold and adjusting the thermostat meant squinting at small numbers on a dial.
Advancements continue to be made in the field of smart thermostats in terms of remote access and configuration, multi-use sensors, and their ability to do extra things like make calls and play music.
Smart thermostats can give you full control over your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, even when you’re not there. Some can even monitor the weather outside and its effect on your house’s climate. They’re also an important investment for maintaining an energy-efficient home and cutting down on your utility bills.
Smart thermostat features to consider
When researching thermostat options, keep in mind the features that will most benefit your lifestyle and needs. Three things to look for include the thermostat’s remote access, geofencing capabilities, and an easy-to-read display.
Why would you want to look at your thermostat from the other side of the world? There could be many reasons, perhaps a winter storm hits and you need to ensure the pipes don’t freeze. Or you are having guests stay and you want to ensure they’re comfortable. Many smart thermostats now have the ability to monitor and control energy usage through a wifi connection.
Geofencing connects your smart thermostat to your smartphone’s GPS to know when you’re leaving or coming home. It sets an invisible perimeter around your house, when you leave that area, the system starts to conserve energy. Once you enter back into the home zone, the HVAC system is activated and the house is at the perfect temperature when you arrive. The downside is that every person in your household is required to have a smartphone to activate the system.
Choose a thermostat with a large, easy-to-read digital display if you have trouble seeing across the room. A backlit display with clear numbers showing whether the heat or air conditioning is on can be seen easily at night or in dark hallways. Simplicity is key as too many numbers and buttons can make the device more difficult to use.
Smart thermostat picks
Slick design and energy-saving leader: Ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control
Approximate cost: $300 to 350 CAD
For top-of-the-line design and integration, Ecobee’s smart thermostats are leading the pack. Ecobee is a Canadian company and the first to bring smart thermostats to the market. Their sleek black design features a prominent digital screen with easy-to-read large numbers. The thermostats have built-in Alexa functionality which can take calls and play music.
Ecobee claims that their smart thermostats save you 23 percent on yearly energy costs. The thermostats have a number of energy-friendly features, like the ability to learn the routine of your household and recommend changes to the thermostat schedule. Ecobee was the first to introduce multi-purpose sensors to put around the home that can even detect which rooms are in use by people and adjusts the temperature accordingly.
Adaptable to your current system: Invita® WiFi Thermostat 564
Approximate cost: $300 to 350 CAD
The Invita® WiFi Thermostat 564 works with most types of heating and cooling systems and is easy to install. It uses the existing 2-wires from your home to connect to the HVAC system without needing to pull new wires or patch and repaint walls. As the name suggests, these thermostats connect to WiFi and work with Alexa and Google Assistant voice controls. It can respond to questions like what the thermostat is set to and what temperature it currently is inside and outside the home. Increase the heating or cooling with your voice or control humidity and ventilation.
This smart thermostat system has a mobile phone and web app, which can be used to program a heating and cooling schedule. It can be set up to send emails when there are problems with the HVAC system. The Invita can be connected to a water detector shutoff system which can save your home and belongings if there is a flood or water leak.
The Invita® WiFi Thermostat is a smart-looking rectangular device with a large touchscreen.
They come in both white and black finishes with a stainless steel trim ring and five display screen colour themes, from black and blue, to espresso and latte.
Budget reliability: Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostats
Approximate cost: $150 to 240 CAD (depending on model)
Honeywell has the longest history with making thermostats. They’ve been in business since 1885 and were the first ones to introduce electric thermostats to homeowners. They don’t have the most stylish options, but they’ve developed a wide range of smart thermostats at different price points with many different features.
Honeywell has a phone app that allows you to monitor and adjust your home’s heating and cooling. The thermostats can connect with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant home systems. They also can be programmed to fit your household’s routines over the week but don’t have the ability to earn your routine. Some of the models also have geofencing abilities. For reliability and budget prices, Honeywell is a great choice for smart thermostats.
Installing your new smart thermostat with Plumbing Paramedics
It’s important to note that not all smart thermostats work with all systems. Most devices require a C (common) wire for power, which may not be available in an older HVAC system. But some can use electricity from another source like an R power wire, which can cause issues with your HVAC system. It’s important to know which smart thermostat will work with your current system.
All this new technology can get confusing, but we’re here to help you manage your HVAC system and install a new smart thermostat. Plumbing Paramedics is a family-owned company and we pride ourselves on our high level of technical expertise. We’re efficient problem solvers and you can depend on us to set up a thermostat system that works for you and your home.
Have you used a smart thermostat? Have questions about choosing and installing one? Please leave your questions, comments, and suggestions below.