It pays to be smart…
Image Source: Google Nest
While you could question whether we need all the so-called smart home gadgets available to consumers, there is one item that is worth considering.
According to research on smart home thermostats carried out by Which? many of us could benefit from using them.
It says that those who benefit most are tech-savvy smartphone or computer users, those with a busy lifestyle, those who have regular routines that smart heating controls can learn and those who are likely to stay in the same property for some years.
This technology is especially useful, not only for saving money on energy bills, but also by helping you not to waste energy, thereby doing your bit for the planet.
But if you have wrestled with programming the timer that was supplied with your boiler many of you will recognise the benefits of using a smart thermostat that is “intelligent” enough to learn your habits and, moreover, can be linked to work with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors.
For one thing, there’s no programming involved. The smart thermostat works by learning your home heating patterns over a few days, so you can change the temperature as frequently as you want and over time it will remember the temperatures you like and at what time of day and from that will create a weekly temperature schedule.
Among the most popular of these smart thermostats is the Nest.
Not only does it learn your individual preferences, it also factors in how quickly your home heats and cools and the outside weather conditions.
Using all this information it will then turn your heating on or off at the times you need.
Not only that, it will teach you how to be more energy efficient by “rewarding” you with a leaf every time you choose an energy-saving temperature. The Nest Leaf is an icon that appears on the thermostat display or in the Nest app when you choose an energy-saving temperature.
The thermostat can also be linked to Nest smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors. They include wifi technology so that they can “talk” to each other.
It has been calculated that in the 1970s, it would take about 30 minutes for a fire to take over a room. Today, it can take less than five and also that about 200,000 homes in the UK experience high levels of carbon monoxide every year.
How much money can you save by using a smart thermostat? Well, Nest for the UK and Ireland calculated how much energy people would have used if they kept their homes at 20 ºC all the time and also if some of them turned the heating down to 9º C for seven hours at night. They then compared the calculation with results from actual customers and came out with savings for UK customers of 8.4% to 16.5%.
According to a review by the website Boilerguide customers were generally happy with their Nest products but it also advised that, although customers could fit them themselves, it was advisable to get them professionally installed especially if you are unfamiliar with electrical wiring.
So, clearly, if you care about the planet and global warming and you want to keep your energy bills under control it’s worth considering using this clever technology.