How to save money in 2022 with a smart thermostat
Heating the space in which you live requires energy, and energy costs money. The amount of energy you use depends on many factors, but ultimately is dictated by how warm you want your home to be and for how long you want it to be at this temperature. Smart thermostats make it much easier to save money by giving you precision control over how you heat your home. Read on to discover more.
How do smart thermostats work
The basic idea behind the smart thermostat is that it saves you money by keeping the temperature as low as possible for as long as possible. By inputting your desired temperature and an indication of your daily schedule, you can set the thermostat to ensure that your rooms are heated to your comfort level when you get home, but are not being heated unnecessarily when you are away.
Smart thermostats are much easier to use than regular programmable thermostats, which means you will use it more often and adjust it as your schedule changes - plus, devices like the Google Nest have advanced learning technology to make it even easier.
Heating your home more efficiently
Most popular smart thermostats such as the Google Nest and the Hive are able to use GPS data - via your smartphone - to recognise when you are home and when you are away. Over time, smart thermostats such as these are able to get a better picture of your whereabouts, and can give you suggestions for optimizing your schedule even further.
In addition to geolocation, smart thermostats can also learn how long it takes to heat up your rooms based on live weather data along with historical data from your own home. This means that the thermostat will know exactly how long it takes to get a room to your desired temperature, and make this happen before you get home. As a result, your smart thermostat is able to maximize the duration of the energy saving mode while you are away or asleep.
The Google Nest Learning Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat from Google is able learn your behaviours and will use this data to help you set schedules that save the most energy. Essentially, you train the device to understand your lifestyle and it will then adjust itself accordingly.
How Much Money Can a Smart Thermostat Save?
There are many factors that need to be considered in order to understand how much you could save with a smart thermostat and the final answer can vary greatly from home to home. We can, however, look at the general facts.
Firstly, it is widely agreed that heating your home typically accounts for something in the region of 40 to 65 percent of your total energy bill. Nest, one of the leading smart home companies, recently released a white paper stating that smart thermostats lower heating bills by an average 12%, while other manufacturers claim that savings are even greater. Let’s take a closer look.
Every little counts
If you consider the fact that most boilers run 24 hours a day for most of the year, it makes sense that even the smallest of savings can quickly add up to significant savings.
For example, it is accepted that for every one degree Celsius you lower your household temperature by for 8 hours, you save 2% off of your energy bill.
To put this into perspective using an arbitrary figure, here’s an example. Imagine you spend £650 per year on heating.
Let's assume you leave your home for work for about 9 hours every day, and that you sleep for 7 hours a day. Heating a room takes some time so we will account for that in our calculation. Lowering the temperature by 8 degrees Celsius during the day, and by 4 degrees Celsius at night would result in savings of about 18% off of your heating bill. Based on an annual bill of £650, that adds up to £117 per year. Although this reduction in temperature may seem extreme, hopefully it illustrates the point. Combine this with other energy saving strategies and you could be significantly better off.
Not all homes (or households) are born equal
It is important to bear in mind here that two different sets of variables have a big impact on the savings you can realistically expect. The first is your home itself, while the other is the personal preferences of you and those you live with. Because of this, it is impossible to calculate an exact figure without gathering a large amount ot data specific to you.
There are, however, many ways to make sure you save money with a smart thermostat. These include:
- Setting different heating zones, for example, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. This will result in higher energy savings because you have more granular control over which rooms are heating and to what temperature. For example, you may not want the bedroom to be as warm as your bathroom, while the kitchen may not need much heating at all.
- In colder weather, you can save more on energy by lowering the temperature during the day or at night.
- With energy rates constantly rising, even if your smart thermostat saves you just a small percentage of energy, this can add up to a significant amount over time.
- If you spend most of your day out of the house, a correctly configured (or trained) smart thermostat will ensure heating is off (or to a minimum) when you are not there. It will also start heating your home before you return, so you can relax in comfort while knowing you’ve optimised your energy use.
As part of a broader strategy to make your home more energy efficient, a smart thermostat can offer significant savings and you can realistically expect to save at least 10% with a correctly configured device. However, with energy prices currently extremely volatile, it is difficult to set a value for how much this saving might be worth.
If you wish to try the maths behind this yourself, here is a worked example:
2% per degree per 8 hours = 0.25% per degree per hour
Lowering the temperature 6 degrees for 8 hours (day) would save you 6 * 8 * 0.25 = 12% on your energy bill
Lowering the temperature 4 degrees for 6 hours (night) would save you 4 * 6 * 0.25 = 6% on your energy bill
Combined, you'll save 18%
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