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A smart home is a joy to live in. Using automated devices like a smart home thermostat makes it easy to keep everyone in your house safe and comfortable.

There are loads of great Wi-Fi smart home products available, and we expect to see many more come to market, over the next few years. However, right now, the smart product that is the top of most people’s wish list is a smart home thermostat. If you read on you will see why that is, and why we feature several of them on this website.

What is a smart thermostat?

If you want to keep the temperature of your home just right, you need a thermostat. Smart thermostats work in the same way a standalone one does, but they have extra features built in. We explain tell you more about the most important additional features further down the page.

A basic smart thermostat kit consists of two components. The first is connected to the boiler, and is what turns it on and off. It is Wi-Fi enabled, so that it communicates with the thermostat, which is the second component.

You decide which room to install the thermostat. Most people choose to install it in their living room. They do this because that is where they spend most of their waking hours. To keep your home at the right temperature all you need to do is to connect your Smart thermostat to your Wi-Fi network using the app that is provided.

It is also possible to link a central air-conditioning system up to a smart thermostat. This enables you to control the temperature of your home during the summer, as well as the winter.

You can also buy smart thermostats that detect when you have left the home. Most do this using a sensor that is built into the thermostat itself. Some versions use the GPS location on your phone to work out that you have left the house. When they pick up the fact that you are coming home they automatically, turn the temperature up. That way your house is nice and warm, and ready for you to enjoy.

The benefits of smart thermostats

The biggest benefit of a smart thermostat is the fact that it allows you to control the temperature of your home, even when you are not actually there. This means if your plans change, or you are delayed because you have to work late, you can turn the thermostat down. It is a great way to make sure that you are not wasting money heating an empty house.

Most manufacturers also give you the ability to keep a record of how warm your home is. This enables you to analyze how you are using your electricity, gas, or heating oil, and identify opportunities to save money.

What is a learning thermostat?

Some models are able to learn your preferences and schedule. They remember what temperature you keep each area of your home at throughout a typical workday, and at weekends.

Once they have enough data the thermostat takes control and automatically raises or drops the temperature when you enter, or leave your home. This is a very handy feature. Should you forget to turn your air-conditioning off, a smart learning thermostat will detect that nobody is at home, and turn it off for you.

Which home automation thermostat is right for your family?

We watch the market, so that we can tell you about the best smart thermostats, so that you can buy the right one for you and your family. Below we briefly explain what you need to take into account before making your purchase.

Compatibility

Before buying a smart thermostat, you need to make sure that it will work in your home, and your devices. The first thing to do is to check that it is compatible with your boiler and/or air-conditioning system.

You then need to check that the app is compatible with your smartphone. If you are using a phone or tablet, which is more than a few years old you need to make sure that it is running a version of iOS, Android or Windows that is current enough to work with the App.

It is also worth double-checking that the thermostat is compatible with your Wi-Fi router. Some models will only not work with 5 GHz systems. They are only compatible with older 2.4 GHz routers.

Usability

You also need to work out what features you need. For example, buying a learning thermostat sounds like an excellent idea, and for most people, it is. However, there is no point in buying this type if the way you live means that you cannot take advantage of the auto away feature.

Take for example, a multi-generational family, where some members go out to work or school and others stay at home all day. A system that uses the GPS on the phones of family members to work out when to turn on and off is an excellent idea.

However, it is not going to work properly if a family member who does not own a smartphone is left at home. Potentially they could end up being left in a home that will get colder until they get up and override the thermostat. Of course, there are ways around this issue, for example, you could buy a cheap phone and leave it at home with your infirm family member.

Getting the most out of your smart thermostat

When you do buy an automated thermostat, it is important to take the time to learn how to use it properly. Doing so will help you to get the most out of it, which will enable you to save more on your fuel bills.

It is especially important to read the manual before deciding where to install the thermostat. If you locate it, too near a window or door you will not get the best results. The cold air around these apertures will trigger the thermostat to turn on your heating, when in reality the majority of the room is already warm enough.

If you’re ready to convert your heating and air to a smart system, we recommend the Nest smart home thermostat.