What Is a Smart Thermostat
– Principles of the smart thermostat
– Benefits of the smart thermostat
– Installation and use of the smart thermostat
– Choice and selection criteria of a smart thermostat
– smart thermostat applications
– Purchase and price of a smart thermostat
A thermostat that regulates the temperature and even the humidity of an apartment, a house or an office according to the occupants’ lifestyle, that’s what the smart thermostat does. Controlled via software or remotely controlled by a smartphone application, the smart thermostat brings home automation at a lower cost for more comfort and much more energy savings.
Regardless of the heating or even air-conditioning mode, smart thermostats regulate heat, cold and even hygrometry by adapting themselves to the volumes, the rhythms of life and even the degree of insulation of the premises.
The investment in a well-adapted smart thermostat is very quickly profitable by the savings it allows on the hydro bill.
Principles of the smart thermostat
The role of a thermostat is to switch on and off a heating or cooling device (air conditioning) to maintain a stable temperature. smart objects are devices capable of exchanging with one or more interfaces to measure and adapt and then control the regulation alone or via remote dialogues with other measuring or control devices.
The smart thermostat is, therefore, a thermostat in charge of regulating the temperature in a room, a dwelling or a building while interacting with the heating and air conditioning devices on the one hand, but also with the occupants and its user whether the latter is in the premises or away from it (work, vacations, travel…).
Interests in the smart thermostat
More and more smart thermostats are generally equipped with one or more temperature sensors (thermistors) to be distributed in the different rooms of the working or living premises. This makes it possible to heat or cool the entire building or each room individually.
These smart thermostats control the heating and cooling either by pilot wire for electric devices (convectors, heated walls, heated windows…), by a motorized valve on water heating devices and even by infrared, Bluetooth and Wi-fi, depending on the control mode of each heating or cooling source.
In addition to the compatibility of smart thermostats, their interest lies in their ability to communicate permanently with one or more users (Smartphones, Cloud…), but also for some of them to adapt the mode of operation to the number of people in the room (self-adaptive function by presence sensors) and even to the insulation performance of the premises, openings and data and weather forecasts (geolocation).
Installation and use of the smart thermostat
Of the many models of smart thermostats, most of them offer a simple installation that only involves installing sensors and control devices on the appliances and then wirelessly connecting these devices to the smart thermostat.
By communicating with these sensors and drivers, the smart thermostat will learn to control the heating and air conditioning by itself via its powerful self-learning capabilities. The user only needs to enter their preferences. The smart thermostat will activate the valves, switches, and controls of the appliances to regulate the temperature according to the user’s wishes.
In addition to displaying the temperature status at any time, both on its control screen and any smart device (Cloud, 3G, 4G, Wi-fi…), the smart thermostat can be controlled from time to time or reprogrammed differently from a distance.
Choice and selection criteria of a smart thermostat
The choice of a smart thermostat is made according to various criteria depending on the heating or cooling mode, the number of rooms to be controlled, and its other applications and connectivity.
The type of heating
From the control of heaters (wood, gas, oil, pellets…) to ventilation and air conditioning ducts by split or ductable, smart thermostats are available in many versions. Therefore, the main choice is the type of heating or cooling to be regulated, determining the type of commands that the smart thermostat can control. These radio-controlled devices (wireless) can be electromechanical (motorized valves), electrical (pilot wire) or radio and infrared (Bluetooth, Wi-fi…).
The number of rooms
Suppose the basic smart thermostats control the temperature of only one zone (a zone can group several rooms regulated in the same way). In that case, the most efficient ones discern several zones to be controlled in different ways (day rooms, bedrooms, office, bathrooms…). The layout of the premises and the way the occupants live should influence the multi-zone capabilities of the smart thermometer.
Generally, smart thermostats communicate with devices and sensors through radio protocols, then on the Internet in a standard way. The choice of the type of protocol will determine the possibility of extending the communicating devices.
The most common internal protocols (smart thermostat/thermistors) are Wi-fi, 6LowPan, Zigbee, Bluetooth, NFC, Z-Wave. They communicate remotely with the user interface (Smartphone, Cloud…), almost all smart thermostats access the Internet via a Wi-fi connection. You can then operate them via iOS, Android or Windows.
Good to know: air conditioners, heat pumps, and recent heaters integrate communication protocols with a smart thermostat or a central control unit. It is now required that the protocol used by the device is notified in the characteristics of the device producing cold or heat.
The applications of the smart thermostat
In addition to the management, regulation and communication functions, most smart thermostats offer applications that everyone may or may not find helpful. Among these, the most common are :
Self-learning of preferences
The smart thermostat records the occupants’ lifestyle and temperature preferences to adapt their mode to the day and day of the week.
With the use of presence sensors, the smart thermostat recognizes the number of people in the room (and sometimes the identity of those people) to adjust the temperature according to the occupancy and preferences of the individuals.
Allows the smart thermostat to receive information and weather forecasts for the area where it is located to counteract and even anticipate variations in outside temperature and humidity.
The smart thermostat can also regulate the humidity level in one or more zones for some air conditioners and appliances with a dehumidification function.
IAQ, video, home automation…
Some smart thermostats can also have more home automation functions. Among these, we find the video camera and the audio microphone for remote monitoring, the measurement of indoor air quality (IAQ), and the control of locks and openings to the broadcasting of music and even digital photo frame …
Purchase and price of a smart thermostat
There are more and more manufacturers of smart thermostats that you can find on the Internet. When you want to buy and install one, you can either select the model according to your type of installation or ask a heating engineer or even your energy supplier for heating.
The price of a smart thermostat varies between $100 and $400 depending on its capabilities (multi-zoning, self-learning, self-adaptation…). For some devices, the price of installation by a professional is included in the purchase price.
Good to know: a smart single-point thermometer for a central heating radiator nose can be found for less than $80. Its purchase is more and more justified with the obligation of individualization of heating costs in collective buildings.