Thermostats are the command center to your home’s heating and cooling system. The most advanced type of thermostats available are smart thermostats. Smart thermostats features vary widely; however, at minimum, they offer the following benefits:
- 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:
- Temperature alerts to avoid frozen pipes or overheating.
- Reporting on the cost to run your heating and cooling systems and coaching you 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 $110 to $400 depending on the brand purchased and features included. Many are in the $250 range.
- You may also need to pay for installation.
Why is MGE interested in smart thermostats?
As part of Energy 2030, MGE wants to work with customers to manage their energy use and cost using new technologies. MGE has launched a new smart thermostat program in partnership with Nest, a smart thermostat manufacturer, to test a new method of controlling high energy usage during the summer months. The program, open to residential electric customers, is fully subscribed.
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 smaller (or maybe non-existent).
- Savings depend on how much less the furnace and AC run. If you already program your thermostat properly, or you diligently adjust it by hand, a smart thermostat may not increase your savings.
What are some potential concerns with smart thermostats?
- Installation errors, especially if not installed by a 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