What does a smart thermostat do that my current thermostat does not?

Dear HomeIQ,

I recently heard about a ‘smart thermostat’ called Nest. I heard it could be programmed to regulate the temperate at home and can actually save me money on my electricity bills. But, I’m not sure if I should buy one? Could you please help me make an informed decision


Hi Jonathan,

Great to hear from you. Yes, there’s been a lot of buzz about smart thermostats especially after Nest was acquired by Google a few years ago. We have listed some of the benefits of what a smart thermostat can offer, and how to decide whether you really need one.

First, can a thermostat be smart… seriously?

Regular thermostats like the ones your find at home let you adjust the temperature based on how hot or cool you feel, they’re basically a control panel for your heating and air conditioning system. Smart thermostats are programmable and let you set the temperature for what you like and are comfortable in and then have the thermostat change it based on the time of day and based on whether you’re home or away. What makes a thermostat ‘smart’ is, it learns from your lifestyle and behaviour. Furthermore:

  • It shows you how much energy you’re consuming in real- time.
  • Lets you control the temperature in your home whether you’re home or away.
  • Automatically adjusts the temperature based on other factors at play, like humidity.

Let’s say, you leave home at a particular time every day and you turn off the air conditioning before you leave. When you’re back home you manually crank up the air conditioning to a really low temperature to cool off the different rooms within the house. Then you keep juggling the air conditioning settings up and down till you get to a temperature you’re comfortable at.

Smart thermostats show you how long it takes to make the changes requested, so you can see first-hand how effective your current cooling system is, while discouraging you to stop turning the temperature all the way down in your attempt to cooling the house down faster which actually does not work. Since a smart thermostat like Nest learns from your lifestyle, it knows when you’re not at home and goes into an ‘away’ mode and based on your behaviour knows when you’ll be back, it accordingly gradually cools the rooms in your house depending on how often they’re used when you’re back.

You can also manage one or more Nest thermostats using an app straight from your smart phone. Using the app, you can find out how much you’re actually spending on cooling, you can also adjust Nest to save you money and monitor the results and cost savings in a daily/ weekly/ monthly or yearly manner. The results are astounding and immediate.

Thermostats like Nest learn automatically from your behaviour and adjust themselves which means you don’t need to program them while also allowing for remote connectivity and programming while you’re away. Nest can sense when somebody is home, if it’s suddenly gotten humid or even when the oven has been cranked up!

How does a smart thermostat actually get me to save money?

Whether a smart thermostat will actually save or not save you money, depends on a few things. You need to consider how long it takes for the initial investment to pay for itself, it also depends on how long you plan to stay where you are at, and which smart thermostat you eventually opt for.

Smart thermostats like Nest as compared to others, from our extensive trial and error experience are relatively easy to install. Even though they were built for the United States, our technicians have been extensively trained to get them to work with air conditioning systems in the United Arab Emirates. It doesn’t really matter if you have district cooling or an over head chiller, Nest works equally well with both.

Another advantage with using a smart thermostat like Nest is, you can remove it and take it along to your next property whether it’s a villa, townhouse or apartment. The longer you use it, the faster it will pay for itself. If you own a property, a thermostat like Nest definitely makes more sense, but if you’re renting a house and take Nest along with you to your next rental, you get the same benefits of using Nest while renting a house.

So if you’re the kind that religiously turns off the air conditioning when you leave the house, and crank it up when you come back, you would see the benefits of a self-programmable thermostat and immediate cost savings without enduring the daily hassle of adjusting it yourself.

On the other hand, if you or members in your family are the kind who leave the air conditioning on all day whether you’re at home or not, a smart thermostat like Nest will really save you money! The smart learning ability of Nest takes away the daily hassle and stress of managing the house temperature, letting you go about your daily business while letting the climate at home take care of itself.

For the techies who love to personally monitor and tweak systems, Nest will save you even more money on your electricity bill. By checking the Nest app, you can regularly monitor how much energy you’re saving or using, and adjust the temperature by a few degrees to see better results and cost savings. Some of our users in the UAE have reported a 30% reduction in their DEWA bills during summer months after they installed Nest thermostats.

So, if you like to have one less thing to worry about and maintain a comfortable temperature in your house while saving energy and money, Nest is a great home addition.

We hope you found this useful and would love to hear your feedback, queries or experiences.



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