How Does a Smart Thermostat Save Money on Utility Costs?

December 07, 2020

Keeping your Wausau home comfy can eat up a lot of money. A typical family spends about $172 on monthly energy expenses, according to ENERGY STAR®, or approximately $2,060 annually. At least half of that goes to heating and cooling.

Most homes rely on programmable thermostats, but most people don’t take the trouble to program them. The process is bothersome, detailed and only offers you limited options for temperature settings. When your home is kept at an unchanging setting throughout the day, it requires energy and badly impacts your monthly expenses.

Smart thermostats adjust to your schedule and change the temp to match it. But can getting one really conserve money on heating and cooling? Yes, and here’s why.

Studies Show Smart Thermostats Reduce on Heating and Cooling Costs

Independent studies have found these devices can result in major savings.

These studies included home utility expenses in 41 states before and after putting in a Nest smart thermostat. Nest said the study determined its thermostats can save up to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling, resulting in an approximated savings of $131 to $145 annually.

With the typical smart thermostat running between $100–$250, those savings can help it pay for itself. And most local energy companies provide rebates for smart thermostats since they’re ENERGY STAR® certified.

How Does a Smart Thermostat Work?

After your smart thermostat is put in, you’ll initially set it just like your old thermostat. You’ll turn it up and down, so the thermostat can figure out your wants. Then, it will get to work developing a program that helps you spend less money, whether you’re at your residence or away. As it geofences with your smartphone, you won’t have to put it on your list to adjust it when you exit or get back.

Pros and Cons of Using a Smart Thermostat


As we talked about before, smart thermostats offer lots of perks to your house and utility costs, such as:

  • No need to adjust—Your smart thermostat will adjust to your schedule, so you won’t be required to waste time setting programs or remember to adjust it.
  • Knows when you come and go—Because lots of smart thermostats geofence with your phone, your house will go into an energy-efficient setting when you go and be comfortable when you arrive.
  • Remote temperature management—You’ll be able to keep an eye on your home’s settings from just about anyplace, thanks to an app on your phone.
  • Supervise heating and cooling use—Most smart thermostats give valuable data through their app, like how long you used heating and cooling on a specific day.
  • Reminders—Some smart thermostats will alert you to essential maintenance tasks, like when you’re due to get a new air filter.
  • Additional savings—Most local energy companies provide rebates for smart thermostats, so check with yours for details.


However, there’s a couple of points you should take into account regarding installing a smart thermostat in your home:

  • Compatibility—Subject to the type and age of your heating and cooling system, a smart thermostat might not function with it. If you’re not sure, it’s best to ask an HVAC specialist like Gilray Heating and Cooling. We also advise having it professionally installed. This guarantees that you have the proper number of wires and that it’s linked properly. Some systems don’t include a common wire, which creates compatibility issues with a smart thermostat. This wire powers your thermostat, so if your home doesn’t have a C-wire, we can put one in.
  • Housing situation—If you own your house and plan to live there for a long time, it’s a smart investment to install a smart thermostat. If you plan to move in the next year or rent, we advise waiting unless you plan to take the thermostat with you. If you rent, you’ll usually need to secure your landlord’s permission first ahead of installing a new thermostat.
  • Cost—Smart thermostats are pricier than programmable thermostats, and we recommend having yours professionally installed. However, the energy savings over the years can help pay for itself.
  • Lifestyle—Does a family member work from home, or is someone frequently at the house? If that’s the case, you might not see as many savings, but you’ll have the benefits of not being required to program or adjust a thermostat.

Rely on Gilray Heating and Cooling for Your Smart Thermostat Needs

At Gilray Heating and Cooling, our number one priority is to keep your residence comfortable while helping you spend less energy costs. If you’re wanting to install a smart thermostat, our pros can help, from choosing the right model to expert installation. Contact us at 715-301-0727 today to learn more.