With the heat looking to beat down on them even though summer hasn’t quite arrived yet, homeowners in the Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale areas are looking for ways to lower their cooling costs. Many of Arizona’s residents are just beginning to learn how smart thermostats can help them control the comfort level of their desert home, which can greatly reduce their monthly bills.
Did you know that thermostats control 50% of your energy bill? If you could save an average of 15% on your home cooling costs, would you make the switch?
What are Smart Thermostats?
Smart thermostats are thermostats that learn your home routine and adjust the temperature in your home automatically to whatever schedule you keep. You can give them a top and bottom range for temperatures and then during the first few weeks after installation, they learn when you normally leave your home, when you normally return, what temperature you prefer it (if you manually adjust the set temperature).
These smart thermostats give you temperature control from the actual unit on the wall, an app on your phone, and voice commands from voice assistant devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and more.
Smart thermostats give you unparalleled energy savings by not cooling your home when you aren’t there.
Programmable Thermostats vs Smart Thermostats
Programmable Thermostats: great for Arizona homeowners
Residents of central Arizona are used to the heat, but they like their homes to be a refuge from the torrid summer temperatures. With thermometers often exceeding the 100-degree mark in summer, it’s difficult to turn off the thermostat in the day while you’re at work, without encountering an uncomfortably hot home at night.
Programmable thermostats help homeowners plan how much they want the A/C to run while they are away, or even while they are sleeping. With the best programmable thermostat, you can schedule the unit to switch your A/C on just before you arrive home from work.
These thermostats generally give you 7 separate days that you can pre-set schedules in advance.
Smart thermostats: the best option for Arizona homeowners
As great as programmable thermostats can be, smart thermostats offer additional features that make them an even better way to help control your cooling costs. Smart thermostats do require an internet connection in order to have full “smart home devices” capabilities. Check out these great bonuses:
- Remote accessibility — If you’re away from home longer than you expected or coming home early, avoiding a heat-filled home is easy. You simply need to access your smart thermostat through an internet access. From there, you can make changes in real time. Some of these newer models also include accessibility through your smartphone by way of a downloadable app.
- Energy usage charting — By using the easy-to-read charts supplied by the thermostat, you can analyze your daily energy usage and look for ways to cut your costs. Many smart thermostat companies such as Nest, send you monthly reports to show your energy usage compared to previous months/years or even neighbors.
- Learning capability — Once you’ve used the unit for a short time, it will learn your habits and automatically make necessary changes.
How does a smart thermostat work?
Smart thermostats have a few different technology pieces that go into them to help function in a smart way and save you energy and money.
- Programmable Schedule – You can manually set your normal schedule. This functions very similarly to a programmable thermostat. This works better than having to manually adjust every time you want a change. This can lead to more energy use than just leaving the thermostat at one set temperature all the time though.
- Auto Schedule – This is the technology that makes the unit more efficient. This uses algorithms and pattern recognition to adjust the thermostat to get maximum comfort and energy efficiency. This feature keeps running and constantly updating.
- Sensors – In an attempt to remove human error, smart thermostats have a sensor on them to check for occupancy patterns, this works with the Auto Schedule to adjust based on when people are home.
- Internet Connection – These smart wi-fi thermostat devices use an internet connection to be able to connect to users when not at home. The wi-fi feature also allows the units to send energy use reports as well as alert if there are any errors with the system.
What are the Best Smart Thermostats for Phoenix, AZ?
There are a lot of good options on the market today for smart thermostats. Let’s break down some of the top rated home thermostats and see some of the features they have.
As one of the leading Daikin HVAC install companies, we regularly sell and install the Daikin One+ smart thermostat. This is one of the best looking and working thermostats on the market. However, this does require a Daikin HVAC system and can’t be installed with any brand of AC unit.
- Auto switch from heat and cool
- Monitor air quality from the unit
- LED light below the unit indicates the current system mode
- Multiple screen savers
Nest Learning Thermostat
Google’s Nest thermostat is one of the most popular units on the market today. It was one of the first smart thermostats available for sale. It was the first thermostat to get an energy star rating and since 2011 has saved billions of kWh of energy in millions of homes. Wolff Mechanical is also a Nest Pro Dealer, we can sell you the Nest Learning Thermostat as well as provide the best professional installation.
- Big display that’s easy to read
- Easy installation
- Energy history
- Multiple color options to fit any home
Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat
This has quickly become one of the top rated smart thermostats on the market. It’s easy to install, includes a 2nd sensor to place in another room and has Alexa built in to the unit, meaning you don’t need a separate smart speaker.
- On unit voice and sound controls
- Includes extra room sensor
- Easy set up
- Big, easy to read display
Honeywell Home T9 Smart Thermostat
Honeywell has been a leader in the home thermostat game for a long time, and it’s no different with their smart thermostats. With an easy to read multi-room display and a nice touch screen, this unit is easy to use.
- Multi-room Display
- Smart Response & Alerts
- People detection
- Energy Reports
How Do I Save Money with Smart Thermostats?
All this information is great, but the real question is, how does this save residents of Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Phoenix, and Tempe money? A study by Nest and other independent surveys have found that smart thermostats can save you 10 to 12 percent on heat costs and 15% on cooling costs. This is a huge amount of savings. Ecobee claims they can save you 23% on your energy bills, this is compared to a home set at 72 degrees year round.
The average smart thermostat is around $250. With approximately $130-145/year in savings, you can get your money back pretty quickly. That’s not even including energy company rebates, (more about that below).
Honeywell and Nest both have their own real savings calculators where you can put in your location, whether it’s Phoenix, Tempe, or any of the surrounding Valley, info about your home and heating and cooling systems and get a rough idea of how much money you can save.
- For Nest’s Real Savings Calculator: click here.
- For Honeywell’s Real Savings Calculator: click here.
Naturally all results can only be estimated, but the answer is clear, smart thermostats save you energy and money.
It doesn’t matter if you have a heat pump either! Newer smart thermostats are able to start a heat pump up to 5 hours early so you get to the temperature you want when you want.
Rebates for smart thermostats
For residents in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona, there’s two major energy companies. Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service (APS).
Currently, SRP is offering smart thermostat owners up to $150. The program helps SRP reduce peak demand and aids in maintaining grid reliability through conservation events. During a conservation event, your smart thermostat(s) will automatically turn the temperature up a few degrees when the strain on our electric grid is at its highest.
For being in the program, you’ll receive a $75 SRP bill credit per thermostat (up to $150 if you have more than one eligible thermostat). After each subsequent year, you’ll earn an additional $25 bill credit (per eligible thermostat) for continuing in the program, which will be paid at the end of the summer cooling season.
More information can be found here: https://www.srpnet.com/energy/rebates/byot.aspx
APS is offering a flat $30 bill credit for smart thermostat users.
More information can be found here: https://www.aps.com/en/Residential/Save-Money-and-Energy/Your-Energy-Your-Options/Rebates/Smart-Thermostat-Rebate
For both programs, there are restrictions that apply so be sure to explore their websites for a full breakdown of what is required and what smart thermostats qualify.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
Hopefully we’ve shown that smart thermostats are worth the cost:
- Nest users save an average of 12-15% on heating costs and 15% on cooling costs.
- Ecobee reports 23% savings
- Energy companies have rebates available to lower start up cost
- They are good for the environment
- They help you save money and hassle
- Smart thermostats are easy to use
If you’re still wondering “What is the new generation of thermostats?” don’t worry, we have all the answers you need. For more expert advice on smart thermostats and other techniques to help you beat the heat and improve home comfort, contact the cooling professionals at Wolff Mechanical. We’ve been serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Ahwatukee and the entire Phoenix Valley area for more than 22 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Valley of the Sun area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues.