What is a smart thermostat?

A smart thermostat is an internet-connected thermostat that can be controlled remotely. The “smart” part of the thermostat is computer programming that learns how you use it, and adjusts to things like time of day and the seasons to be as energy efficient as possible..

Join the Internet of Things

By connecting your home’s climate control to the internet, smart thermostats like the popular Nest allow you to control your home’s heating and cooling from anywhere with a smartphone app.

Smart thermostats bring your home’s heating system to the internet age. Traditional home thermostats haven’t changed much since they were invented over a hundred years ago. They’re highly inefficient, leading to higher heating and cooling costs.

A smart thermostat learns the patterns of your home, including factors like sunrise and sunset, seasonal patterns, and even when the house is inhabited. This means it can effectively trigger your heat or A/C only when its really needed.

Older “programmable” thermostats can be set to imitate many features of a Smart Thermostat but proved too complicated to use. Government studies show that most homeowners have no program set on their home thermostat, making them less efficient than even the old mercury models.

Benefits of Switching to a Smart Thermostat


  • Save Money: Smart thermostats are the most efficient way to cool your home if you take advantage of their features. Nest Laboratories reported the average energy savings for users who enabled their Summer 2016 Seasonal Savings algorithm was 80%.
  • App control: The biggest problem with older energy-saving thermostats was their complicated settings process. Smart Thermostats are as easy as checking a Facebook post. User-friendly apps offer far more control over energy use than old thermostats.
  • Real-Time Energy Tracking: With old thermostats, there was no way to know how efficiently they were running until a bill came in. Smart units allow homeowners to see simple energy audits through the attached apps—no more expensive surprises.  

Smart Thermostat Features

  • Smart Scheduling Wizards: Apps for smartphones and PCs make it easy for homeowners to set a schedule and temperature preferences.
  • Learning Algorithms: Smart thermostats learn from the user. For example, many people turn their thermostat down a few degrees at night. A smart thermostat would notice that behavior and begin making the adjustment automatically after a few weeks.
  • Seasonal Adjustments: Smart thermostats will automatically adjust patterns of heating and cooling based on the change of the seasons
  • Occupancy Detection: Heating or cooling an empty house is a major reason for wasted energy and high power bills. Smart thermostats can learn when a house is usually occupied and act accordingly.
  • User Feedback: Most smart thermostats are designed to consistently provide the homeowner feedback, such as monthly reports on energy savings automatically sent to the homeowner’s email and suggestions for more efficient use.
  • Remote Control: Smart thermostats can be controlled from anywhere with an internet connection. Say you leave the AC running and leave on a road trip. With an old thermostat, you’ll come home to a painful electric bill. With a smart thermostat, you can easily turn it down or off—and if you forget, the thermostat will probably do it for you automatically!

Do smart thermostats really save money?

Yes, if you use it properly.

Nest, the leading manufacturer of smart thermostats reports that their average user saves $145 a year on heating and cooling. Other manufacturers are less open about their user data, but the average savings reported by real users is 10% to 20%, with the savings in heating costs being greater than that in A/C costs.

Tips to Save Money with A Smart Thermostat


  • Set reasonable temperatures. Keeping a house at 65°F in a heatwave or 78°F in a sub-zero blizzard is going to be expensive no matter what thermostat you use.
  • Seal drafty windows and doors.  If cold air is leaking out the door, you’re losing money. Smart thermostats also can’t close open windows.
  • Upgrade older A/C units. If your A/C unit is over 10 years old, you could save up to 40% on cooling costs by upgrading to a newer model. A smart thermostat will get the best performance out of a newer A/C unit.

Questions about Thermostat Installation?

The team at Prime Electrical Services are on call to answer any questions you may have about residential electrical work.

If you are considering upgrading to a smart thermostat, call 888-471-9083 or visit their website to schedule a consultation.