09:10 AM

Smart Thermostats 101

Now that I’ve finally gotten the swing of using my smartphone after, admittedly, years of practice, it’s time to tackle another smart technology – the smart thermostat.

With an energy efficient smart thermostat, it’s possible to control your home’s heating and cooling from any location, whether on your sofa watching TV or in your car miles away.

Like any thermostat, a smart thermostat regulates the temperature produced by your heating and cooling system. But the smart thermostat goes a few steps further by allowing homeowners to change temperature settings automatically according to their comfort preferences.

Simply put, a smart thermostat is a digital device that’s programmable. Equipped with sensors and advanced algorithms, smart thermostats regulate home temperatures even when you’re not home, enabling families to cut down on their monthly electric bill while assuring comfort.

According to ENERGY STAR®, a smart thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs with the right pre-programmed settings.

When it comes to installing a smart thermostat, there are some reasons to consider if it’s right for your home:

Save money on energy bills. Smart thermostats can help maximize your energy use by using your home’s heating and cooling system when needed.

Sensors help with scheduling. Smart thermostats come with sensors that detect motion in your home. Noting times when your family is active helps you plan your heating and cooling schedule.

Use remote control from a mobile device. Smart thermostats come with brand apps to download on your phone to both check and change your home’s thermostat settings from any place there’s an internet connection.

Track energy use. Smart thermostats provide information about energy use, including how it fluctuates over time and how much that can cost you. These reports may come with tips on how to adjust temperatures to save money.

Devices are compatible. Smart thermostats can link up to and exchange information with numerous home devices, including smart humidifiers and air purifiers.

Use voice commands. Select smart thermostats can be controlled with your voice when using voice command technology. With devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, you can lower the temperature by simply speaking your command.

Jackson EMC offers several smart thermostat devices at the online Jackson EMC Marketplace, where Jackson EMC members can receive rebates on qualified items. Featured brands include Google Nest, ecobee and Honeywell. Compare specifications and pick the one that’s best for you and your family.

Jackie Kennedy has worked with Georgia’s electric cooperatives for 26 years, producing newsletters, press releases and articles about the industry or energy-related matters. She is the author of People, Power, Progress: The Story of Jackson EMC, published in 2013. In her blog, she grapples with a variety of energy efficiency topics.