One of the big reasons to upgrade your heating controls is because of the money that you save. This is often quoted, but how much money can a smart thermostat save and how do they save you money?
Related: Best smart thermostats
The answer isn’t quite that simple, as there are many factors that they rely on. For example, the age of your boiler and how efficient it is, and the thermal properties of your home all play a part in how much energy you use heating your home. And, seasonal changes mean that there are often changes from year to year, with long cold winters costing more.
That all said, smart thermostats will save you money compared to traditional dumb heating systems. That’s down to the way that they work and the features that they provide.
How do smart thermostats save money?
Smart thermostats save money by more intelligently heating your home. Most learn how your home warms up over a period of weeks. Knowing this, it lets the thermostat turn off your boiler earlier using the radiant heat in the radiator to continue heating your home to the desired temperature. As well as saving money, this can help make your home more comfortable by not shooting past the set point.
Weather compensation is another useful feature, as it lets thermostats take advantage of the outside temperature to set the heating to run for the required amount of time. For example, on a hotter day, your boiler can start later to hit temperature; a cold day requires more heat and your boiler to fire into life earlier.
If you have a thermostat connected via a digital interface on your boiler, such as OpenTherm, you can save even more money. With an OpenTherm interface or similar, the thermostat controls the heating water temperature, setting it at the most efficient level to hit the temperature that you’ve scheduled.
Related: What is OpenTherm?
Adding in radiator thermostats, either with a multi-room system such as Honeywell Evohome or by upgrading the likes of the Tado Smart Thermostat, boosts energy savings. By only heating the rooms that you’re using, you cut down further on energy use.
Remotely shutting down your heating when you’re out or on holiday saves money. You can do this manually, but if you’ve got a system that can operate your heating based on your location, you’ll save money automatically. Systems such as the Tado Smart Thermostat and Nest Learning Thermostat have geolocation built in.
Better scheduling that you can operate also helps. Smart thermostats are far easier to programme, which means you’re more likely to get the best combination of savings and comfort, programming your thermostat for how you use your house.
How much can smart thermostats save?
As we said at the start of this article, the exact savings will differ from house to house, but there are some good figures out there. According to data from Tado customers, the average energy saving in the UK is 19%. Average gas bills in the UK are £572 a year, which could mean savings of around £110 a year. According to Nest, its UK customers saved between 8.4% and 16.5%.
Interestingly, Tado’s figures showed that German customers saved 25%, and most people there have digital boiler interfaces, which they don’t in the UK. Figures tend to show that switching to OpenTherm or a digital interface saves around 6% of fuel.
As of 26 September 2015 smart thermostats have to be labelled with an energy label, similar to how appliances are. The rating is based on the features offered by a smart thermostat, with the highest rating applied to thermostats that have multi-room control combined with a modulating boiler.
All smart thermostats will save you money to some degree, but you’ll get the best savings with a newer, more efficient boiler, using an OpenTherm interface and with multi-room controls.