Smartphone Controlled Thermostat – How they change our lifestyle

2018 has already become a stellar year for technologies, and the star of them all? Home-based IoT or Internet of Things! The electronics have evolved far beyond their “manual input” titles. They have become smart. Now, they can learn from humans and do things that will help us live better without us even having to tinker them all day long. One such invention is the Smartphone controlled thermostat or smart thermostats as they are widely known.

Apps are made available in Google Play Store and Apple iTunes by respective companies that users can download to control their smart thermostats.

Now, this technology is something revolutionary. Imagine a system adjusting the room temperatures based on your activity or presence! Imagine the heater or air conditioner in your home working on idle when you are not home but springing back to action a few moments before you reach back home! Thanks to the smart thermostat, you will no longer have to imagine it! The technology is already here.

If the Smart thermostat doesn’t win you over with its smart features, the energy savings definitely will!

What are Smart Thermostats?

Smart thermostats mainly fall into two categories:

  1. Smart thermostats that learn from their surroundings
  2. Smart thermostats that interact with the internet to enable programming

Now, the best thermostats are a hybrid of the above-listed points. Hence, the top of the line smart thermostats can learn on their own while being connected to other devices.

What Do You Stand to Gain by Using a Smart Thermostat?

The predominant reason why smart thermostats have gained so much traction can be attributed to their role in cutting costs when it comes to electricity. If your home air-conditioners were to make changes to the temperature inside your home based on the outside climate and the level of activity, then you are looking at a system that will give you optimum performance.

Also, the air conditioning and heating systems of your home can be centrally controlled from your smartphone. There are many advantages just through this option such as:

  • You can control the room temperature at your home when you are at work.
  • You can keep the home at a stable temperature when you are away on vacation.
  • The smartphone will alert you if there are unusual temperature changes in your home.
  • The Geo-Fencing technology enables the thermostat to adjust the temperature as you are on your way back home.
  • It can track you through the home to provide cooling in the room that you are currently in.
  • You can view the energy usage reports through your smartphone.

The EPA has estimated that a home enabled with smart thermostats cuts down on electricity costs by a factor of 20 to 30 percent.

Best Smartphone-Controlled Thermostats

1) Nest Learning Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat is a hybrid thermostat that can learn from its surroundings and has Wi-Fi connectivity. Hence, this is the best hybrid smart thermostat you can currently buy. The design element of the Nest Learning smart thermostat is just stunning. The aluminum builds with the circular display blend in nicely with any kind of home, providing a modern and sleek look.

smartphone controlled thermostat

Nest -3rd Gen – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

There are many user-oriented features available on this device. One of the best features of the product is definitely the feature called FarSight. It is essentially an option where the device’s display can be programmed to show the temperature or time even when you are not interacting with it. So, the device transforms into a sleek modern clock.

With Nest Learning smart thermostat, you get a self-aware thermostat that learns the user’s living patterns. So, if you are going out to work, the device will turn down the power of the heater or air conditioner to save on energy. By the time you are back home, the device will have everything switched back on to just the way you like it. You can also control the device straight from your smartphone using the Nest Learning app.

Nest – Smartphone App

It is also noteworthy that the device doesn’t need a C-wire to operate.

There are three versions or generations of this product.

The first generation:

  • Display Size: 2.75 inch diameter with 320x320px display
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz, Zigbee @2.4GHz
  • Sensors: Temperature, Ambient Light, Near-Field Activity, Far-Field Activity, and humidity
  • Features: Temperature, Airware, Auto-schedule, Nest Leaf, Auto-Away, Energy History, Time-to
  • This is the least pricey among the three.

The Second Generation:

  • Display Size: 2.75 inch diameter with 320x320px display
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz, Zigbee @2.4GHz
  • Sensors: Temperature, Ambient Light, Near-Field Activity, Far-Field Activity, and humidity
  • Features: Heat Pump, System match, Early on, and Balance plus all the feature of Generation one model
  • The cost of Generation two model is a bit more than the Generation one.

The Third Generation:

  • Display Size: 3.25 inch diameter with 480x480px display
  • Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz, 802.11a/n @5GHz, 802.15.4 @2.4GHz, Bluetooth LE
  • Sensors: Temperature (10 Sensors), Ambient Light, Near-Field Activity, Far-Field Activity, and Humidity
  • Features: Water/Boiler control, FarSight, plus all the features of the Generation two model
  • Generation Three model costs the highest amongst the three.

2) Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat

Ecobee has made a really impressive product with Ecobee4 smart thermostat. The device comes with Amazon Alexa built in! The device, hence, processes all the features that Alexa can give you. You can just speak to the device to adjust the room temperature, and this is just one of the commands that you can give. This feature is enabled using the Far-Field that Ecobee uses to recognize voice even from a considerable amount of distance.

Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Ecobee4 – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Also, the device can spot areas where there is an unusual amount of heat and can provide direct cooling to that area. The smart capabilities of Ecobee4 are fully recognized only when you know that it can be connected with various smart voice assistants like Siri, Google now, etc.

Ecobee Smart App

The learning capabilities of the Ecobee4 are also commendable as the device can sense if you are home or not. Also, the device can track whether or not you are sleeping to set the temperature more comfortably. Ecobee4 uses remote sensors called Room Sensors to track whether you are home or not.

This also means that the device does not have to be centrally mounted to have a grasp of the room temperatures. Also, you can add as many as Room Sensors as you want to increase the accuracy of the device to detect temperatures.

3) Ecobee3 Lite

If you want almost all the functions of Ecobee4 without the hefty price tag, then Ecobee3 Lite is the best option for you. When you go for Ecobee3, you will be missing out on some features like the Alexa integration. So, it won’t respond to your voice anymore, but then again, you can control the device by using your phone’s digital assistant.

Thermostat - Smartphone controlled

Ecobee3 Lite Thermostat

You will also be missing out on the Room Sensors that come with the product. Although it does support room sensors, you will have to buy them separately.

Ecobee3 Lite uses Geo-fencing to make up for the lack of Motion sensors. Our top 2 picks (Nest Learning and Ecobee4) come with motions sensors. Geo-fencing uses the location of your smartphone to enable smart cooling.

Ecobee-Smartphone App

If you consider the missing features when compared to Ecobee4, Ecobee3 Lite lacks the accessory control, Humidifier, Dehumidifier and ventilator options on the device.

But if all these things are omissions that you can live without, then Ecobee3 is the best option amongst the two. Ecobee3 looks as sleek and stylish as its costly upgrade and can do many of the functions of Ecobee4 without a hiccup.

4) Honeywell Smart Thermostat

One of the best features of Honeywell smart thermostat is that it has a bright and user-oriented LCD touchscreen. The programmable thermostat is Wi-Fi enabled so that it stays connected all the time.

Honeywell TH9320WF

With the smart remote control system, you can control the thermostat from anywhere using your smartphone. The display shows every important information upfront so that you won’t have to interact with the device to know them.

Also, Honeywell has a web app that you can use to configure your system if you can’t use the smartphone app. The seven-day schedule is a major advantage of the system. Also, it has Amazon Alexa integration to control the thermostat.

The five-year warranty makes Honeywell Smart thermostat a bargain!

If these features don’t sway your decision in favor of the Honeywell Smart thermostat, then the price definitely will. It packs a great value as the price of this product is about 30% less than the top two picks on this list. So if you are after the bang per buck factor, this product might be it!

5) Emerson Sensi Smart Thermostat

Emerson Sensi smart thermostat is the best option if your home isn’t built to the modern norm of smart homes.  The reason why we pitch this product is that it can be mounted in your home without any significant rewiring hassles.

Emerson Sensi – Thermostat

Many of the old homes are hesitant to bring smart capabilities because of this very reason. In most cases, The Emerson Sensi smart thermostat doesn’t need a C-wire to work. This is a huge advantage when you are planning on buying a smart thermostat for your home that doesn’t have ultra-modern air conditioning equipment.

The Emerson Sensi has a very bright display and can work on a pair of AA batteries. The thermostat can be controlled via the smartphone app, and it gets all the updates through its Wi-Fi connectivity. It also plays well with mainstream AI assistants like Alexa, Google home, and Google assistant.

Emerson Sensi App

The Geo-fencing technology is a great feature to let your air conditioning know if you are coming home early. It is a well-designed product indeed!

Other choices available

6) Vine Wi-Fi Programmable Smart Thermostat

Vine -Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Vine is a relatively new player in the game when it comes to smart thermostats. But that doesn’t mean it lacks the technological innovations that our top 5 picks had. The touchscreen is designed and programmed in such a way that It has a modern feel to it. Amazon Alexa integration is also a really appreciated feature.

Vine – Smartphone App

Features:

  1. The thermostat can be controlled from your smartphone as it provides app support for both Android and iOS.
  2. Supports weather forecasts and night light
  3. The seven-day schedule is a much-appreciated option.
  4. Pre-set settings for different climates

7) FirstAlert – Smart Thermostat

FirstAlert – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

This product also gives you the complete freedom of controlling the air conditioners in your home through your mobile. You can also use Alexa through your smartphone to control the thermostat any time you want. The full touch color display is pure joy to use. The wallpaper ability is a nice touch to personalize the device to your taste.

FirstAlert – Smartphone App

Features:

  • The scheduling feature of the device helps you create custom cooling every single day.
  • You can send texts to the thermostat, and it will be shown on the home screen.
  • Keep a record of the energy consumption with 7-day Energy usage charts.
  • The smart assistant helps you configure the device in minutes.

8) Bosch Connected Thermostat

Bosch – Smartphone Controlled Thermostat

Bosch is a company that has created a reputation for itself by creating top-notch products. The same trend can be seen with their smart thermostat as well. It has got smart features like Alexa compatibility so that you can control the device through your smartphone itself. Another attractive feature is its 5-inch display that shows you everything relevant at a glance.

Bosch Smartphone App

Features:

  • The smartphone app gives you complete control of the device.
  • It can work just as well without the Wi-Fi connectivity (though it will affect the smartphone link).
  • Schedulers help you pre program the device when you are away or at work.
  • Compatible with almost all the HVAC systems

Conclusion

Smart homes are the future of living. They are a completely automated setup that changes the environment based on your schedules and likes. Smart thermostats don’t just cater to your comfort; they also save you time and money while doing it. With the onset of smart assistants and AI, there hasn’t been a better time than now to revolutionize how you live!

Furnace Thermostat – Choose the right Thermostat for your Furnace

If you are living in the US, then a proper home heating system is a must during those chilly winters. Most of the American households depend on furnaces for the same. Furnaces are used mostly for central heating system. These systems work by blowing heated air through ducts that use grills or air registers to deliver warm air, throughout the house. This duct warm air heat distribution system is powered mostly by electricity, natural gas or fuel oil. In terms of AFUE(annual fuel utilization efficiency), the furnace powered by electricity has a higher efficiency in the range of 95% to 100%, since it is free of flue loss through a chimney unlike the ones powered by gas or fuel oil. However, with growing electric prices across different parts of the country, the choice of an electric furnace seems uneconomical.

Nonetheless, the energy consumed by these furnaces can be controlled by controlling their temperature setting, using a proper thermostat. Thermostats are nothing but temperature sensitive devices that maintain the temperature at a set point. You have numerous options to choose from a variety of thermostats, which may leave you confused.

Here are some points that you can consider while choosing the right thermostat for your furnace.

How to choose the right thermostat for your furnace?

1. Know your heating system

The first and foremost thing you must do is to check what kind of heating system you are using at your home. Basically heating furnaces are of two types: one, which is common is the single stage heating system and the other one is multi stage heating system.  How to know which one you have at your home? If you have single stage heating it means you have a furnace that has only one level of output. A multi stage heating system has a primary heating system like a furnace and a secondary heating system like a solar panel which acts as an emergency heat setting system.

Also, if your house has an older construction you are likely to use baseboard heaters or furnaces that work at line voltage of 120V or 220V.

2. Study about the various thermostats available in market.

Now days, the market is flooded with variety of thermostats. Knowing your heating system helps in deciding which kind of thermostat will suit you the best. Thermostats now come with clear labels suggesting with which system they work best. Some of the commonly found labels include:

  • Works with Single stage heat or cool: This label indicates that the thermostat can be used if you have a single stage heating and cooling system.
  • Works with 2 Stage or multi-stage heat or cool: This means that the thermostat can be used if you have a multi-stage heating or cooling system.
  • Works with 24mV: This thermostat is mostly used for fire-place or wall furnace
  • Zoned HVAC: If your Heating and/or cooling is individually controlled in different areas by the same HVAC system, then the thermostat with this label is to be used. 

3. Choose the best model that fits your needs.

From manual to programmable, there are variety of thermostats in different shapes and sizes available in the market. Manual thermostats work with mercury relay switch and are the most economical one. The programmable thermostats on the other hand, is quite heavy on the pocket as it offers many functions and claims to have the best efficiency in cutting down the energy usage.

Here in this article, we have picked up a few thermostat models and reviewed them. This will guide you in choosing the best thermostat for your furnace.

Smart Furnace Thermostats

The smart thermostats are the buzz these days, and if you have a good budget this is the option. They are programmable, learning thermostats. They learn from your habits and program the schedule accordingly. They are the most energy efficient thermostats available.

Some of them are listed below:

Nest Learning Thermostat – 3rd Generation

Smart Furnace Thermostat

Smart Furnace Thermostat by Nest

If you have a 5 wired system at your house with either 1, 2 or 3 level heating system, then this learning thermostat is best you can have. It comes with a new feature called the “far-sight” along with the “Away mode”. The “far-sight” feature senses the near/far field activities, and accordingly it switches to “Away mode” or illuminates to show you the temperature at which it is set. The “Away mode” helps in saving energy. This thermostat takes couple of days to learn your schedule and after that it programs the temperature accordingly.

The heating/cooling, humidity, away/home mode, history, set up of schedule etc can be controlled from anywhere through an application in your phone/tablet.

Ecobee4 – Alexa Enabled Thermostat

Smart Furnace Thermostat

Smart Furnace Thermostat by Ecobee

This smart thermostat comes with an in-built voice service feature, so all you have to do is ask your thermostat to set a timer that suits you. Additionally, it will read you the news, turn the lights on/off and adjust the temperature whenever you ask for it. It is powered with far-field technology, that means you can ask for the services you need from the thermostat from across the room too. It claims to save up to 23% on heating and cooling since it can work with your local weather conditions in real time when connected to internet. You can check and control the temperature of the thermostat from anywhere using application in your android devices. Installation is fast and easy as it gives a step by step guide to install in your phone.

Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi Thermostat

Smart Thermostat for Furnace

Smart Thermostat for Furnace

The Emerson sensi Wi-Fi works like a traditional thermostat which makes it convenient to use. It is a 7 day programmable thermostat that feature geo fencing for location based temperature setting. It comes with 2 AA battery needed for its operation. It addresses the issue of wide temperature swing which most of the smart thermostats have by introducing a feature called the “cycle rate setting”. Once you have downloaded the application on your phone, it will walk you through the installation process step-by-step. Compared to other smart thermostats, it is cheaper yet reliable, programmable and easily understandable.

Wi-Fi Furnace Thermostats

Wi-Fi furnace thermostats are becoming the standard equipments at homes now. They use your home Wi-Fi connection and let you remotely check and control the temperature settings. This eases the pain of programming the thermostat every time. All you need is to enter the temperature and set the timer, in the application downloaded on your mobile. The thermostat will program the schedule on its own.

Here we have listed out a few Wi-Fi thermostats with a brief review of each.

Honeywell RTH6580WF

Wifi Furnace Thermostat

Furnace Thermostat #WiFi

This thermostat model from honey well’s  connects your HVAC system to the rest of your home’s Wi-Fi connection. Unlike other thermostats, this one needs a C or common (return) wire to work. Also, it needs to be powered from 24V ac. In case of power outage, the thermostat will resume where it let off after the power resumes. The coolest feature it has is that it comes with in-built voice recognition system that will lower or raise the temperature whenever it is asked to do so. Also you can remotely access to control and monitor the temperature through the application on your device.

Honeywell RCHT8610WF2006 Lyric T5 thermostat

WiFi Furnace Thermostat

WiFi enabled Furnace Thermostat

The Honeywell RCHT8610WF2006 lyric T6 thermostat blends easily with your lifestyle and adapt to it to schedule programs for you. If you don’t want that, you can always program your schedule yourself also. Lyric app is compatible with both android and iOS devices and helps in remotely controlling the temperature and timings. What makes this model unique is that it uses the geo fencing technology that tracks your location, and turns on whenever it senses that you are coming back home. You can use your phone to trigger this feature based on your arrival departure. When it senses that you are not at home, it will switch to “away” mode automatically.

Honeywell RTH9580WF thermostat

Wifi Furnace Thermostat

Honeywell RTH9580W smart thermostat offers you flexibility in scheduling the temperature settings. If you want the thermostat to be set up at home or business place, you just have to program accordingly. With an easy to read customizable colour touch-screen, this thermostat is quite convenient to use. It is compatible with 110V or higher heating systems with a common wire. It connects to your WIFI connection so that you can remotely access and control the temperature settings from literally anywhere. Unlike some other thermostats where you need to turn the dial to change the settings or schedule, this thermostat has touch screen tabs at the top of the screen that help in navigating through the settings and schedules.

Digital Programmable Furnace Thermostat

The digital programmable thermostats are the ones that let you program the schedules according to your convenience. However, they wont adapt to your habits like smart thermostats. They come with in built schedule program, which can be used also.

Here are some of our picks in this category.

Lux Products TX9100U Universal 7-Day Programmable Thermostat

Digital Programmable Furnace Thermostat

Furnace Thermostat #Digital

LUX TX9100U thermostat comes with a 7 day programmable memory and blends in easily with your home. Its large lighted one touch display makes it easy to use. Instruction sheets are provided which help while programming the thermostat. You can use it even if you have a multi stage furnace. One of the unique features of the thermostat is its smart recovery that enables it to reach the set temperature at a specified programmed time. It has vacation hold option, that shuts off the thermostat for a maximum of 30 days.

Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1-Day Programmable Thermostat

Furnace Thermostat Programmable

This energy saving thermostat is a low voltage thermostat. IT has soft touch button surface with large backlit display, making it convenient to use. It provides precise control over the temperature, and is compatibile with both heating and cooling systems. It comes with a programmable memory that lets you program your schedule, according to your wish. Installation is easy as it comes with an instruction manual for the same.

Honeywell RTH2300B1012/E1 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat

Digital Furnace Thermostat

This thermostat comes with a 5-2 programmable memory, meaning you can program for 5 weekdays and 2 weekends separelty. It has an inbuilt schedule which you can use. However, it is not compatible with multistage systems or electric baseboard heating systems. It is mainly designed to control the gas furnace or AC. The programming can be done easily. It gives consistent comfort since it has an accurate temperature control of +/-1 degree Fahrenheit

Non- Programmable thermostat

If you are looking for a thermostat that is very basic yet digital, this is ideal for you. It is easy on pocket and very easy to use. They cannot be programmed and hence are not as energy efficient as the other programmable thermostats. You can set a temperature and it will cool down or heat your room accordingly.

Here’s a list of some non programmable thermostat and a brief review of each of them

Honeywell RTH111B1016/E1 Digital Non-Programmable Thermostat

Non Programmable Furnace Thermostat

Non Programmable Furnace Thermostat

This non programmable digital thermostat provides a very simple control over the temperature. All you have to do is select a temperature that you want your room temperature to be and adjust it whenever you wish to change it using the up/down buttons. This thermostat is compatible with all single stage heating system but it does not work with electric baseboard furnaces. It is slim and has compact design.

Honeywell TH3110D1008 Pro Non-Programmable Digital Thermostat

Non Programmable Furnace Thermostat

Furnace Thermostat #Non Programmable

This thermostat from Honeywell leaves you out of the pain of programming the schedules. Just select one temperature that you desire and you are good to go. A large backlit display is provided which is easy to read. It is cheap and worth the money. It has a precise control over the temperature of +/-1 degree Fahrenheit for constant comfort. It has slide switches which lets you choose the heat or cool mode.  It requires 2AA batteries for battery back up in case power outages.

Let’s wind up!

We have discussed some of the thermostats here to give you a general idea of what to look for your furnace. If you are looking for an energy efficient thermostat, then as already discussed investing in a smart thermostat, will save you on your energy bills in the long run. However, if you want an energy efficient thermostat but also not ready to invest high buck then going for a simple programmable thermostat would be a good option. Non-programmable thermostats are easy on pocket and also the easiest to use. Its upto you to decide which one suits your needs the best.

Hope this article helps you in making a wise decision!