Category - Smart Home
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Will Scholfield, Engineer

13 Oct : Updated 13 Oct ● 4 min read

The ultimate guide to smart thermostats

Like most people right now, you're probably looking for new ways to reduce your energy bills. This means you'll have already heard of smart thermostats.
But is it actually worth getting one?

At BOXT, we've laid out the ultimate guide to smart thermostats to give you all the information you need. We'll cover what they are, how they work, their key benefits, and much more.

What is a smart thermostat?

Some people confuse smart thermostats with smart meters. However, they're different things.

A smart thermostat is used to connect your heating system to the internet. You can then use your thermostat to control your heating via a smartphone or other device.

You can also link your thermostat to other smart home devices so that they can all be controlled from the same app.

What do smart thermostats do?

The main purpose of a smart thermostat system is that it allows you to control your heating from your phone. The features vary between thermostats but most smart thermostats include:

  • Hot water control
  • Multi-room control
  • Draught detection
  • Safety and holiday patterns
  • Geo-fencing

Exactly what your thermostat does depends on the model. For instance, if you have a Google Nest thermostat, it will have different capabilities to a Hive Thermostat Mini.

How do they work?

Smart thermostats work by connecting to your boiler and your home's WiFi network. This then means you can control your boiler via your smartphone. However, not all old boilers are compatible with this.

If you have an old boiler, you should consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient boiler anyway. That way, you'll have a boiler that's compatible with the best smart thermostats and your home will be more energy-efficient.

If you want to have even more control over your central heating system, then you could consider installing thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). These give you room-by-room control over your heating.

What are the benefits of smart thermostats?

1. App-based scheduling

One of the best smart thermostat benefits is the ability to schedule your heating directly from an app. This makes them incredibly easy to use in comparison to traditional thermostats. It also allows for comprehensive temperature management on a day-to-day basis.

2. Remote control

One of the key features of a smart thermostat starter kit is the app that you download onto your phone. The model that you choose will determine which app you need to download. For example, if you buy a Google Nest Learning Thermostat, you'll use the Nest app to control your thermostat.

The app allows you to control your heating remotely anywhere you have an internet connection. So, if you're on your way home, you can turn the heating on so that your house is warm when you arrive.

3. Movement sensors

Many smart thermostats have movement sensors that can detect when people are usually at home. This means they can provide you with information on when you're most likely to need heating, which helps you work out your schedule.

Some thermostats, like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat, use these sensors to learn your habits. They can then use this information to set the heating schedule, if you would like them to.

4. Energy usage tracking

One of the most useful smart features of these thermostats is the energy reports they give you. They allow you to closely track your energy use and show you how your energy use varies at different times. Many smart thermostats also give you tips on reducing your usage and lowering your heating and cooling costs.

5. Voice control

As well as temperature sensors and other features, many smart thermostats also have voice control capabilities. Depending on the model you choose, you can control your thermostat using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri.

How much are smart thermostats?

Typically, smart thermostats cost between £120 and £220 depending on the model you choose.

Just remember, the most expensive option isn't necessarily the best smart thermostat. For example, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Premium costs around £204 but the Google Nest Learning Thermostat costs just £169.95.

Although it's less expensive, in our opinion the Google Nest thermostat is definitely the better choice of the two.

You may have to pay around £30 to £80 to have your thermostat installed. However, there are plenty of models available that are easy for you to install yourself.

How can they help you save money on energy bills?

The biggest benefit of smart thermostats is that they help you to save money on your energy bills. The amount you can save on your heating bills largely depends on your preference of room temperature and also the time periods you have your heating on for, as well as the model you purchase.

A thermostat that's able to learn your habits and adjust the temperatures accordingly is likely to save you more money than a more basic model.

The fact that you can monitor your usage patterns and set your own schedules is the way that most people save money with smart thermostats.