Thermostats are the command center to your home’s heating and cooling system. The most advanced type of thermostat available is a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats' features vary widely; however, at a minimum, they offer the following:
- The ability to control the temperature in your home remotely via a smart phone, tablet or computer.
- An easier and more reliable way to enable energy-saving settings.
Additional features that may be offered by smart thermostats include:
- Temperature alerts to avoid frozen pipes or overheating.
- Reporting on the cost to run your heating and cooling systems and coaching on how to save more.
- Detecting problems with heating and cooling systems (and notifying your contractor).
- Learning your preferred settings and automatically scheduling temperature changes.
- Remote sensors to improve comfort in rooms other than where the main thermostat is located.
- Larger, easier to read displays.
What do they cost?
- About $50 to $250 depending on the brand purchased and features included.
- You may also need to pay for installation.
Why is MGE interested in smart thermostats?
As part of MGE's Energy 2030 framework, we are advancing new technologies to help customers save energy, control costs and reduce our collective impact. By working with our customers, we can reach our target of net-zero carbon electricity by 2050. MGE's program, MGE Connect, rewards participating customers who help us better understand the potential for reducing electric peaks with smart technologies.
How much can I save?
- Compared to leaving the thermostat at the same temperature all the time, a smart thermostat could save between $40 and $100 per heating season (natural gas) and between $10 and $30 per cooling season (electricity). If you already set back your thermostat when you’re sleeping or gone, savings will be less (or maybe non-existent).
- How much you may save depends on how much less the furnace and AC run. If you already program your thermostat properly, or if you diligently adjust it manually, a smart thermostat may not increase your savings.
What are some potential concerns with smart thermostats?
- Installation errors, especially if not installed by a qualified contractor
- Privacy and security (similar to other devices connected to the internet)
- If WiFi is weak, some features may not always work
For more information