Smart Thermostats: An Overview Guide

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Technology has advanced and spread to touch nearly every aspect of our lives. It is entering homes more now than ever before with the emergence of smart devices.

Smart devices can control many appliances and home systems in your house to provide better comfort, energy efficiency, and convenience. You can set lights on timers or schedules, close a forgotten garage door from an app, and regulate your HVAC system, all with smart devices.

One of the most common and useful smart home devices is the smart thermostat. This guide will discuss some of the benefits of upgrading to a Wi-Fi smart thermostat and some of the features of the best smart thermostats available.

check smart thermostat

Types of Thermostats

A thermostat manages the heating and cooling system in your home, also known as your HVAC system. Most homeowners simply inherit the thermostat that was installed in the house when they first moved in. While the programming instructions are probably available online, the functions available to an older thermostat are likely severely limited.

Dial thermostats let you set your system to heating or cooling and then set a target temperature.

Programmable thermostats control your HVAC system and also let you program a schedule so that your HVAC system will turn on for specific time periods. You can set your temperature to warm up in the mornings before work and to rest more while you are out of the house.

Smart thermostats can control your HVAC system, set a schedule, and receive commands and instructions over wifi through an app. Smart thermostats are capable of automatically adjusting HVAC schedules, detecting HVAC irregularities, saving energy, and more. Smart thermostats offer performance tracking, which is an important feature to get the most out of heating and cooling systems, especially steam-based heating systems.

Benefits of Upgrading To a Smart WiFi Thermostat

Smart thermostats use technology to automate systems, gather information to create reports, and receive commands from apps on your smartphone. Most devices are compatible with smart home speakers, so you can easily control the heater or AC with a simple voice command.

Here are some of the benefits of upgrading to a smart thermostat:

  • Automatic schedule adjusting for maximum energy efficiency
  • Automatically adjusts for daylight saving time changes
  • Energy use is tracked and presented in easy-to-read reports
  • Anomalies and problems are reported
  • Weather monitoring to adjust indoor temperatures if there are sudden changes in temperature
  • Remote operation
  • Data collecting and reporting
  • Smart home device compatibility
  • Notifications remind you of upcoming tune-up schedule

Do you already have a smart thermostat? Follow these instructions for the best smart thermostat setup and programming to maximize your energy savings.

Smart Thermostat FAQs

There are a lot of questions surrounding smart thermostats. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding smart thermostats:

Do smart thermostats require Wi-Fi?
Yes. Smart thermostats require Wi-Fi in order to use all their functions. They can usually do basic HVAC controls without Wi-Fi, but that would defeat the purpose of upgrading to one.

Are smart thermostats worth the cost?
Smart thermostats can be purchased for as low as $80, with other budget options in the $120 to $180 range. With smart learning and scheduling, smart thermostats can save you as much as 25 percent on utility bills every year. Smart thermostats are extremely convenient and can usually pay for themselves within a few years.

Research from says that homeowners save $50 per year on heating and cooling bills with smart thermostats. Many energy providers offer incentives for installing smart thermostats in your home.

Are smart thermostats hard to install?
Thermostat producers have made smart thermostats easy to install. They have detailed guides that walk you through each of the installation steps and instructions for the initial schedule setup and programming. The main hurdle for installation will be if your current thermostat has a C-wire, though most smart thermostats have a C-wire adaptor option you can purchase. If you need help installing a power or C-wire, contact an HVAC professional technician.

The Best Wi-Fi Smart Thermostats For Homeowners

Homeowners often ask us which smart thermostats are the best. Each smart thermostat has different features and pros and cons, and different thermostat options and prices will match different situations and needs.

At Apollo Home, we have some preference for the Google Nest products as we feel they provide the best product. Our technicians are certified Google Nest Pro installers. However, we can install any thermostat you wish, no matter the brand. We can run the C-wire, power wire, or whatever wires your new thermostat requires to get it up and running.

Here are four of the best smart thermostat brands we recommend for Cincinnati homeowners. These brands offer some of the best-value smart thermostats available, though many other thermostat brands create admirable products. The prices listed below are as of January 2024.

1. Amazon Smart Thermostats

amazon smart thermostat

Amazon products are some of the most budget-friendly smart thermostats. They are very affordable while still doing the important work, saving on your utility bills. Amazon Smart Thermostats start at $79. They support Alexa voice commands and offer energy usage reports.

The Amazon smart thermostat does not work with Google Assistant or have remote sensors to monitor the temperature around the house. A C-wire is required, and the adapter version can be purchased for an additional $20 as a whole unit or $25 individually if your thermostat does not already have one installed.

The Amazon smart thermostat supports most 24V central air systems, heat pumps, and radiant boiler HVAC systems. It doesn’t work with electric baseboard heating systems.

2. Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat

honeywell T9 smart thermostat

The Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat is very easy to install and works with Alexa, Cortana, and Google voice commands, as well as some IFTTT. It has dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) that uses long-range sensors to provide a more uniform temperature throughout the home.

The T9 comes with a wireless smart room sensor, a C-wire adaptor, all the installation screws, mounts, guides, and labels required, and is priced at $199. It is compatible with most HVAC systems and uses push-to-connect wire terminals for heating and cooling. It also has auxiliary terminals for extra things like heat pumps and other fans.

3. Ecobee Smart Thermostats

Ecobee is one of the forerunners in the smart thermostat industry. They are easy to install and work with Alexa, Google Assistant, HomeKit, and IFTTT. Ecobee has a number of different models to choose from, with their base budget version, the Ecobee Lite, coming in at $140. Their premium version comes in at $220, and there are all kinds of features and models between the two.

Some of the models double as security control panels, linking up with other smart security devices. They also have dual-band Wi-Fi and the ability to adjust the humidity or pause vents near open doors or windows to save energy. They can give you reminders for filter cleanings or replacements and also give maintenance reminders and alerts.

We recommend the Ecobee Smart Thermostat Enhanced for $169. It works with most 24V gas and oil furnaces, AC systems, heat pumps, boilers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and ventilators. You can optionally add additional temperature sensors to give it more information about your home’s temperature.

4. Google Nest Smart Thermostats

smart thermostat and smart phoneGoogle Nest smart thermostats are some of the leading smart thermostats available on the market. They offer a wide range of features and are constantly improving.

Google Nests are easy to install, loaded with features, and interact with Nest and other third-party devices. They also support Alexa, Google Home, and IFTTT.

Our current favorite model is the Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd Generation, which currently comes in at $249. It is easy to install, uses a C-wire, and has earned tons of awards and accolades for being one of the best home upgrades you can get.

The 3rd Generation Nest Learning thermostat has ten temperature sensors, as well as humidity, ambient light, and activity sensors. The thermostat lights up as you enter the room, allowing you to find and access the control panel easily. It works with most 24V HVAC systems, and it supports three-stage heating, two-stage cooling, three-speed fans, and humidifier and dehumidifier add-ons.

The Nest can use geo-fencing technology to determine if your phone is away from home, which will prompt it to enter Away mode to start saving energy. The Learning Nest watches for HVAC abnormalities and problems, and will alert you if it senses something is wrong.

Other Smart Thermostats

We can go on about the features and options of smart thermostats. There are plenty of other great brands with options available, such as Sensi, Bosch, Qyze, Sinope, and more. While we do have our recommendations, the brand of the smart thermostat isn’t as important to us as you saving energy with a smart thermostat.

Need help upgrading your thermostat in Cincinnati? Contact Apollo Home for expert HVAC services and thermostat installation and calibrations in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Northern Kentucky. We’ll install any C-wires, power lines, or anything else you need for a new thermostat. We can help you determine if your HVAC system or other indoor air quality appliances are compatible with a particular thermostat. Contact us today for smart thermostat installations in Cincinnati.

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