What Smart Thermostat is Right for Your Home
More people than ever before are converting their homes to smart homes. With household assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home to smart thermostats that monitor the temperature of the home based on various presets, these technological advances help to provide comfort and convenience to your everyday life.
When building a new home, it may not seem like a top priority to make your home a smart home. However, developing the smart home model does not mean that every aspect of your home has to be automated. Instead, we recommend that you start with a smart thermostat as it can provide you and your family with many benefits.
And in this post, we want to take the time to help you make the best smart thermostat decision for your new home. Keep reading to learn more about some of the options we recommend to our clients.
This is the thermostat that we typically include in the homes we build for our clients. It’s simple, inexpensive, and provides Wi-Fi access for remote functions and alarms. If you want to expand its functions, you can connect it with ifttt.com or program your own features with a Smart Things Hub. The main negative to this thermostat is that it does not display a humidity reading.
This smart thermostat is one step up from the previous Honeywell model we just talked about. It has a humidity reading, and as such can also control humidity-driven devices. It also has a touch-screen which could be seen as a nice option depending on the homeowner.
Love the idea of remote thermostats and the follow-me function. While we strive to balance our homes, the truth is that different rooms will be at different temperatures depending on solar gain, time of day, and occupancy. This thermostat can be programmed to make the room or rooms that are occupied control the temperature, for optimal comfort where you actually are. It has all the smart thermostat features you could want, and the newer models have Amazon Alexa built in.
However, as with most products, there are a few negatives associated with these thermostats. The first is that this is a very smart thermostat and it craves attention. If the signal to any of the remote thermostats is broken for any amount of time, you will get an email. When it turns back on, you get another email. So this could result in a lot of emails in your inbox from Ecobee and there isn’t option to turn this feature off. The second downfall to these thermostats is that we’ve found that the touch-screen is not always the best way to change the settings. It may be easier to use the app associated with it or work with Siri or Alexa to tell it what to do, which requires you to be very tech savvy.
This is a smart thermostat that people love. The biggest draw for Nest is that it tracks your habits and creates a system that anticipates when you want to run the system. This is done so you don’t need to make adjustments and the system isn’t always running especially when you don’t need it. However, this is not a thermostat that we typically recommend for new homes.
A properly built high-efficiency home holds its temperature, and your finishes do not appreciate fluctuations when you go to work or to bed. A Smart-Home offers highway mile efficiency. Learning thermostats like the Nest assume that the best way to be efficient is to turn off your house when you’re not around – for modern homes, that’s simply not true. Not only is it inefficient to turn the system up and down all the time, but it creates an opportunity for humidity issues by letting the house sit unconditioned and then shocking it with full-blast a/c or heat. The Nest may be a good option in an older home, but the way it is marketed does not work well for new construction.
Proprietary / Minisplit Thermostats
For some of our high-efficiency homes, we are prescribing ducted minisplits as a way to enjoy more control in the house, higher efficiency, and more zones. These systems are unique in that they scale down their power to meet the actual need through the use of an inverter.
These are hybrid systems that offer the before-stated efficiency in a package that is very similar to traditional forced hot/cold air system and does not have the aesthetic negatives of a typical wall-mount minisplit. Unfortunately, most of these units require proprietary thermostats that cannot be changed out. Luckily, most of these thermostats offer the requisite humidity reading. If wifi is available, it’s by an additional module that needs to be purchased. The Wi-Fi modules are helpful for remote monitoring of the home, but even more than with a traditional system, minisplits should be set at a temperature and left there.
Smart thermostats offer a lot of options and can provide hours of entertainment, but their primary feature of tracking your habits to save money is unnecessary and may be counterproductive in a modern home. When considering to buy a smart thermostat for your home, remember that a thermostat should show temperature and humidity, it should have Wi-Fi access so you can check the status of your home, and it should be easy to use. If you took the plunge and are the proud owner of a minisplit unit – you have made a wise investment, now set it and leave it be.