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Smart Thermostat Saves Money – FTW!

Saving Money

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Every homeowner knows that you’re pretty much constantly doing something to your house, be it making a repair, changing decor, or making an improvement. The latest of the home improvement projects that I’ve put in is a smart thermostat. We’re still getting used to it, but this new gizmo satisfies my wife’s desire for new gadgets and satisfies my desire to save money. A smart thermostat saves money by learning the habits of your home and adjusting accordingly to run your furnace more efficiently.

Tales from the Dad Side -- old thermostat

Since we moved into the house, we had this clunky thing sticking out of the wall. This thermostat was put in by my father-in-law, who was blind. He could feel the notches on it and adjust it accordingly. It worked for him, and it worked fine for us, but it wasn’t very effective or efficient. Once we even had an unfortunate incident where my middle child blew out the heat sensor on the furnace cause she got a hold of that thing and cranked it up into the 90s. I was upstairs cleaning her room or putting clothes away or something and I couldn’t figure out why it was getting so damn hot. I checked the temp and saw she’d turned it up about as far as it could go. I turned it back down, but the next day only cold air was coming out of the vents. One call to the HVAC company later and the furnace was working again.

My wife had been eyeballing smart thermostats for a while to replace the old one, and before I know it, she’s ordered a new one and I suddenly had a new project to figure out.

Now there are a lot of smart thermostats available, but we (she) decided to go with a Nest.

She went with the Nest for a couple reasons. It works with Alexa (you better believe we’ve got one of those too), there are other components that we can get to make our home smarter, we could program it from our phones, and it was advertised to be easy to install. Oh, and if I screwed something up, my brother had installed one in his home so he might be able to might be able to help me if I screwed something up.

Turns out that it was as easy to install as they advertised! I had the new thermostat up and was programming it within about a half hour. Nest’s website will tell you if the unit is compatible with your set up before you open the box, and it’ll give you an easy to follow picture to show you where the wires are supposed to go. Honestly, the hardest part of the whole process was trying to figure out which breakers to turn off at our breaker box.

Tales from the Dad Side - Nest

Isn’t the little leaf cute? That’s what tells you the temp you’re set at is the best for energy saving. That’s how you know the smart thermostat saves money.

You can program it to make the temperatures in your home lower when you go to bed and lower when you’re at work and the kids are at school. You can set a schedule or set minimum and maximum temps if you’re going on vacation or something so you don’t over heat or over cool the house while you’re not there.

Of course, we couldn’t stop there. My wife ordered the Nest smoke detector too. In some ways I appreciate this more than the thermostat. The Nest Protect, as it’s known, also links up with your phone and will give you alerts when it detects smoke or carbon monoxide in your house, and since it’s linked up to my phone, I could be miles and miles away and know if there’s a problem. Or, I could be making dinner and the smoke detector picks up on the fact that the oil in the pan is getting smokey. Of course when that happens, my wife has to post something like the following image to Facebook and let everyone know that by the alert on her phone dinner must be ready soon.

Tales from the Dad Side - Nest Protect

Now, since this is so new to the house, I haven’t seen a new electricity and gas bill to verify the savings, but I know it’s worked for others, and I can tell that the temperature in the house is more even throughout the day.

Have you been thinking of making your house a little smarter with a smart thermostat? Are you already part of the cult of Nest?

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2 comments

  • Dear Dadside: I have two of these beauties: one in Chicago and one in Florida. I like being able to monitor humidity as well as temperature at both locations. They are also part of a Nest cam network. Easy to set up and very reliable so far. The smoke detector is next.

    • Hi Vic. I’ve certainly been noticing them more and more since I installed it. I was playing with the settings the other day and it told me just how much time was spent running the furnace last month, which I thought was pretty neat.