How to Win the Battle of the Thermostat

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Tuohy
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Thermostats are an amazing invention — the ability to regulate the temperature in your house just by turning a dial is one of the greatest technological achievements of the modern age and a powerful way to reduce your energy use.

But what happens when you’re constantly battling with your family members over the preferred temperature in your home? You like it cool; your partner prefers to be toasty warm. You pay the electricity bill, but your mother-in-law insists on cranking the air conditioner — you get the picture. The balance between energy savings, comfort, and finances can be difficult to achieve in a multi-person household, but with a smart thermostat, you can take back control.

Set the Perfect Schedule

Almost 90% of people with programmable thermostats never program them, largely because it can seem complicated. This means they may leave their HVAC system running while they’re gone or make it exert itself to play catch up when they turn it on after a long day. It’s inefficient and results in a waste of energy — and money.

Smart thermostats take the pain out of programming with pre-set schedules ready to go out of the box. They can be changed to suit your household using an app on your smartphone instead of the buttons on the device itself.

No Schedule? No Problem

A thermostat schedule is ideal if you have a daily routine, but for those with unpredictable days, geo-fencing and sensors let smart thermostats respond to your location and adapt your cooling and heating accordingly.

Geo-fencing works well for single occupancy homes. The thermostat locks onto your phone’s location and sets itself to “Away” when you leave and “Home” when you are heading back.

For larger households or those with members who don’t have smartphones, sensors work well to track temperature and motion. Compatible with higher-end thermostats, these are small devices you place in different areas to monitor the temperature and movement in certain rooms. They communicate to the thermostat to adapt your climate according to whether anyone is in the home and where they are.

Knock Out Cold Spots

Those same sensors can also help you knock out cold spots — another common complaint when battling over climate control in your home. For example, if your son is always too cold in his bedroom, set your thermostat to target the sensor in that room so he’ll always be comfortable.

These sensors are also useful if your thermostat is not in the best location for measuring temperature, such as a hallway. Put a remote sensor in your living room or other high-traffic area and program your thermostat to ignore its internal temperature sensor and respond to that one.

Lock It Down and Take Control

If none of these solutions finally end the battle of the thermostat in your household, you have some more traditional options. First, you can lock it down. Smart thermostats let you set a user code so only authorized users can change the temperature – it’s a high-tech version of having a lock box over the thermostat.

Second, you can take control from anywhere using the thermostat’s smartphone app. If you’re suspicious that your roommate is cranking up the air conditioner when you’re gone, use the app to check in and adjust it if necessary.

Geek Out on Data

Sometimes, no matter how vigilant we are over controlling the thermostat, those energy bills are still sky high. Smart thermostats can provide you with energy reports and will analyze your usage patterns for you. This can help you find areas where you can cut back on your energy use to save money and resources.

With a smart thermostat on your wall, you can finally win the temperature battle by using its intelligence to create an ideal climate for your whole household. Plus, when everyone’s happy, you can avoid drastic temperature swings, saving money and energy at the same time.

A smart thermostat on its own is good, but pairing it with a complete smart home hub and security system is even better. Combining your smart lighting, temperature control, and locks lets you automate your home on every level. You can simplify your life, make your house safer, and decrease your impact on the environment—a win-win all around.

Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is a freelance writer and contributor for Xfinity Home. She writes about the smart home, mobile phone technology, consumer tech, small businesses, and green living for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

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