Smart Thermostats to Save You Energy—and Money

A thermostat with a connected controller is the clever way to optimize your home’s efficiency.

Energy efficiency is better for the environment and means more money in your pocket. Smart thermostats can learn about how you and the occupants of your home behave, so you’re not heating—or cooling—a place when it’s empty. They can also be set up so you always walk into a cozy home. Here are a few things worth knowing before you commit to a purchase.

Compatible With Alexa

With the ability to recognize your behavior and adapt accordingly, this device promises that after just a week’s use it can program itself, acclimating to you and the seasons. It works with 95% of heating and cooling systems, and it’s available in a range of metallic finishes. Google

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Most thermostats will work with most systems, but it’s worth checking the small print to make sure that the device you’re planning on buying will definitely work with yours. And while many of them promise to be foolproof, you can get a qualified professional to complete the installation—many manufacturers will even be able to recommend someone in your area.

Comes With Remote Control Feature

Designed so you can adjust the temperature from anywhere using a phone, laptop, or tablet, this also includes a feature that suggests how you can save money. Also available in two other colors—a dark grey and sand brown. Google

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Once installed, a smart thermostat allows you to control your heating or AC via your phone. Many devices are also compatible with home assistants, such as Google Home or Alexa, which means you can also use voice control. Depending on the size of your home, you may want to buy additional sensors so that the temperature can be monitored in multiple locations.

Knows When You’re Around

This can integrate with most home systems, but it also has Amazon’s Alexa built in, allowing you to adjust the temperature as well as play music and check the weather with your voice. A sensor detects your presence, so you reduce your energy use when you’re away and always stay comfortable. Ecobee

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The exact range of features available in a smart thermostat depends on which setup you opt for, so if there’s something that you’re particularly interested in, check before you buy. Some capabilities to look out for are the ability to check the weather forecast and adjust the settings so pipes won’t freeze, a setting that works with your cellphones to assess when the property is unoccupied and doesn’t need to be heated or cooled, and a vacation function that allows you to tap in the dates you will be absent and makes sure you come back to a house that’s the perfect temperature.