Looking back on the old Tex Avery home of tomorrow cartoon we find ourselves right in the middle of many technological conveniences that once seemed absurd and now seem, well, reasonable.
Here we are with three primary contenders for the role of the brains of the smart home, via an application most readily in the form of low profile speakers ready to listen to your every command: Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit. Each with their own individual ecosystem and a crossover of supported devices.
If you have one of these systems you may find yourself entertaining the idea of getting the most out of them in the form of a new thermostat.
For those that didn’t know, yes, your smart speaker or phone can control a thermostat.
You might balk at the idea or spending the extra money to adjust your thermostat without actually walking over to your thermostat each time, but there are actually many benefits and situations where this can be very useful. Whether its to assist a disabled or elderly person or to avoid getting out from under the blanket on the couch to make your house a little warmer in cold winter months, or even to take advantage of having a smart thermostat to handle remotely when you are out of the house, there are a lot of great uses for these devices.
Smart thermostats can save you money
If used with energy efficiency in mind, a smart thermostat can do a lot to cut down on energy usage. You can teach it to keep your home warmer or cooler when you aren’t at home, you can set times for it to incrementally make your home warmer or cooler as needed.
You could find yourself away on vacation with the afterthought, “Crap, I should have turned down the thermostat before I left!” and then just pull out your phone, open the app and turn down your thermostat remotely. If uses like this sound appealing to you, and you don’t already have a smart thermostat and are just getting started then the first step is usually to consider what app ecosystem you already favor.
Apple, Google, or Amazon?
It’s usually best to base this off the phone you use. As it streamlines the process by using the device you are already used to using. If you use more than one, say a kindle and an iphone or android device then you just have more options and may want to consider all the things you want to achieve in home control. For example you may also want to control the lights in your home from the same interface. Phillips Smart hub and Lifx are two of the big names among many that have become prominent in the smart lighting industry. Pick your favorites, the ones that appeal to you the most and make a list, on that list make a note as to which of the devices you want support which ecosystem (e.g. Apple, Google, or Amazon) And you may discover that to control all the home devices you truly want that you may or may not need to consider a different hub device or simply pick different smart home devices to fit what your phone, tablet, or smart speaker already supports. There are also Microsoft Cortana supported devices but it can be a bit harder to find devices that support this option.
Want to control it with voice?
If you are an apple iphone user then the homepod is probably going to be the most appealing to you even though at this time it is the least supported of the big three, simply because it’s more convenient if you are already locked into the apple ecosystem. Which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, the homepod is a great device for controlling your home and sounds amazing especially for it’s small size.
If you are an Android user, google also has a very nice speaker that is very capable and support even more devices, the Google Home. While the speaker’s sound itself isn’t as well received on sound quality as apple’s it offers more options and possibilities.
And of course, if you use amazon devices, or are a frequent amazon shopper you may find the amazon echo devices appealing. Amazon echo has become very popular with it’s versatile speaker and many options and uses.
It’s advisable if you don’t know much about any of these to take a moment and go to youtube and watch some in depth comparison reviews on the these devices as many have their own quirks, annoyances, short-comings, as well as their own unique qualities and benefits.
No speaker, no problem!
Of course, you may not actually need one of these smart speakers to get the most out of your smart thermostat. If using voice commands to control your home’s temperature doesn’t appeal to you then you may be happy to know you can usually do the controlling via an app on your phone.
If you don’t already have a thermostat then try to select one that supports ios, android or has an amazon app. Many manufacturers now list compatibility in the details of each unit. Some have their own specific custom app designed specifically for their own thermostat while other’s may simply allow you to control it via the main home control apps that apple, google and amazon have released to support their smart home systems.
More benefits of a Smart Thermostat
Some of these thermostats have learning capabilities so that they can try to save you money and keep you comfortable depending on your schedule. Some can even use geofencing to know your location and determine if you are on your way home to get a head start on adjusting the temperature to where you want it when you are home before you walk in the door.
Many can generate monthly energy reports and create alerts for service issues or even let you know when it’s time to change your air filter.
Discuss your options with your hvac service pro and give us a call if you want to get the most out of your smart thermostat. By getting compatible equipment you can even do things like control the humidity levels from your thermostat.
And, of course, some of these new smart thermostats just look really cool on your wall.