2018 has arrived, bringing with it some of the coldest weather we’ve seen in quite some time. If you want to avoid the chill, but aren’t a fan of the triple-jumper defence or spending oodles of cash heating your house, then a smart thermostat may be just the thing you need.
Thanks to more advanced scheduling and the ability to learn how your home heats up, smart thermostats are more efficient than regular models and can save you a fortune in heating bills. Plus, by offering remote control via a smartphone app, you can turn your heating on or off, no matter where you are – which is great if you’re heading off on holiday and suddenly realise that your heating is still on at full power.
There are numerous smart thermostats to choose from, each offering a variety of features, so it’s important to pick the one that suits your lifestyle and home.
First, you need to consider the type of heating system you want. A regular smart thermostat, such as the 3rd-gen Nest Learning Thermostat, simply replaces your existing thermostat. Although you’ll still save money with such a system, it will be your heating settings that control your entire home.
With a zoned heating system, such as the Honeywell Evohome, you get room-by-room control via smart thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). Such a system will save you even more money since you’ll be heating only the areas you’re using at any given time. The downside is that the initial outlay for such systems can be costly: typically around £50 to £70 per radiator. They’re a better option for houses with a greater number of rooms to control.
Voice control is becoming a more important feature, in the form of Alexa on the Amazon Echo or Siri using Apple HomeKit. Being able to simply tell your thermostat to turn the heating up or down is a convenient way to control the temperature in your home. Alexa support is more widespread, with HomeKit support lagging since Apple requires that kit has a built-in encryption chip.
In addition, there are thermostats that offer presence detection via a smartphone. The models that do this well – the Tado, for example – can automatically turn off the heat when everyone is out, and turn it back on when the first person returns home. Again, this can lead to huge cost savings, as you’ll no longer be paying for heating that nobody is around to enjoy.
IFTTT support allows you to integrate other devices with your smart heating system. For example, you can use Tado’s presence detection to enable a smart camera to turn on automatically; or you can make your heating turn off automatically when the temperature outside hits a certain point. The combinations are almost limitless.