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Is Your Home Ready For A Wi-Fi Thermostat?

Today's consumers are in an age of smart appliances, where TVs can download your favorite programs on demand and even your refrigerator can download shopping lists and reminds you when you're low on milk. So it's not odd to wonder if your HVAC system can benefit from the smart appliance treatment.

That's where Wi-Fi thermostats come in. Using your home's own wireless network, you can keep tabs on your home's heating and cooling status from your smartphone or tablet. You'll also enjoy several other benefits that make it easier to save energy and stay comfortable year-round.

A Wi-Fi Thermostat Offers Plenty of Benefits

Wi-Fi-enabled smart thermostats can learn from your daily behaviors, allowing them to choose the best settings for your home depending on a wide variety of situations. For instance, your Wi-Fi thermostat can program itself by recording and studying the temperature settings you use throughout the day and week. From there, your thermostat can automatically build a schedule that best adheres to your desired comfort levels.

A Wi-Fi thermostat can also use your smartphone's proximity to determine how far you are from home and when you're arriving home so it can adjust your temperature settings in advance. For instance, your thermostat can automatically turn down the heating and air conditioning when you leave the house and turn up your settings just before you arrive home.

There are plenty of other advantages that a Wi-Fi thermostat offers over its conventional counterparts:

  • Some models are capable of receiving weather alerts and forecasts on-screen or in the form of an e-mail alert. This way, you can change your temperature settings according to upcoming weather patterns.
  • Most Wi-Fi thermostats also remind you when to carry out certain HVAC maintenance tasks, including HVAC air filter changes and evaporator coil cleanings.
  • A single Wi-Fi thermostat app can control multiple thermostats, making them ideal for controlling multi-zone HVAC systems.

Most importantly, a Wi-Fi thermostat can help you cut back on your HVAC system's energy consumption, which can translate to significant savings throughout the year. A recent study found it's possible to save between 10 and 12 percent on heating and up to 15 percent on cooling costs when using a Wi-Fi thermostat.

Possible Caveats

It's hard to find a drawback when it comes to installing a Wi-Fi thermostat in your home. For many budget minded homeowners, however, the average cost of a Wi-Fi thermostat can prove to be somewhat of a stumbling block. According to CostOwl, Wi-Fi thermostats can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 or more and the installation kits can cost as much as $800.

In comparison, a typical programmable thermostat can cost as little as $20. This doesn't include the cost of installation, which varies depending on your local market and the degree of difficulty associated with the installation. It's also important to consider a Wi-Fi thermostat as a long-term investment, as short-term use may not offer as much savings as you'd expect. This is especially true if you're a renter and you're planning to move soon.

Of course, you also need a wireless network set up in your home in order to take advantage of your Wi-Fi thermostat. If you don't have a router, then you may want to stick with an ordinary programmable thermostat until you've set up your network.

Wireless Security Tips

Wireless network security is also concerned if you're planning to buy a Wi-Fi thermostat. Without the right security settings, a Wi-Fi thermostat can prove vulnerable against exploits and attacks by hackers. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk by following these wireless security tips:

  • Always change the default username and password on your Wi-Fi thermostat. You can easily do this with your downloaded smartphone or tablet app.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi thermostat and your wireless network by using a strong password that includes a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Make sure your wireless network is using the WPA 2 encryption standard instead of the older and easier-to-hack WEP standard.

Keeping these tips in mind can help keep your wireless network and your Wi-Fi thermostat safe and sound.