What is the payback period of a smart thermostat?

More and more people are discovering the convenience of smart thermostats. Are these savings worth the investment?

10 January 2018

Does a smart thermostat pay for itself? Find out yourself!

Manufacturers claim that thanks to their smart thermostats, your heating system will only be active when needed. In this way, you should be able to reach significant savings on your energy bill. The question is, are these savings worth investing in a smart or WiFi thermostat?

More and more people are discovering how easy it is to operate the heater with a smartphone or tablet. Whether a smart thermostat is actually a sound investment, depends on how much comfort and convenience you want and how much energy you can actually save.

Save energy with a smart thermostat

In most households, the largest part of the energy bill is caused by the heating and the cooling system. The best way to save energy, is to turn off these systems when you are asleep or absent. Of course, you only want the system to be active when needed, with some variation in the schedule, so your house can reach the desired temperature just when you need it. Programming your schedule is only possible with a connected smart thermostat or a programmable thermostats without WiFi connection. Smart thermostats are characterized additionally by using an app, which makes it easy for you to program your heating schedule, wherever and whenever you want.

On top of that, you can save even more energy with a learning thermostat. This means the thermostat is able to get to know your heating system and your house and and can predict when to start heating your home to make it comfortable when you need it to be.

Finally, a big advantage of a smart thermostat is that it can be controlled remotely, even when you are not at home. How many times have you forgotten to switch off the heating when you left home? With the app on your phone, that's easy to correct.

The savings in Pounds

How much energy a smart thermostat can save, largely depends on how you use the device. About 60% of our energy bill goes to heating, sometimes even more. The average consumption of a household is 3,000 m3 of gas per year. With gas prices (including all legal fees) of around 40 pence per cubic meter, your heating costs £1,200 a year.

This means that if you:

  • save 10% energy, you save £120
  • save 20% energy, you save £240
  • save 30% energy, you save £360

If you do not program or use your thermostat cleverly, you will not save energy. While many people already try to use their heating efficiently, by consistently using your smart thermostat you can still make some decent savings. The above calculation shows that every percent of reduction yields a lot of money. This shows the investment in a new thermostat is recouped quickly.

How much money you can actually save with a smart thermostat, can be estimated by analyzing your current heating profile and asking yourself these questions:

  • Have I already set up a heating schedule program? Or do I find that too much of a hassle?
  • Did I ever reprogram a thermostat after a power outage?
  • Do I really only heat my house when I'm there?
  • How warm do I turn my heater? Do I heat it often above 25 degrees Celcius, or do I pull on a sweater?
  • If it is cold in the winter, do I turn off the heating, or do I leave it at about 15 degrees Celcius, so my house does not cool down too much?
  • Do I forget to turn off my heating occasionally?

Most smart thermostats keep their heating program during a power outage, so you don't have to reprogram it. Also you can easily temporarily override a set program as you wish. The thermostat then automatically picks up, or resume the set program in accordance with the set time.

Many smart thermostats use an open communication protocol like IFTTT (If This Then That). This means that they can be easily connected to other smart devices. For example, you can automatically turn off the heater at a low noise level (which may indicate absence). Also, you can connect the thermostat to an outdoor temperature sensor. If it gets warmer or colder, the thermostat can adjust accordingly.

In other words, a smart thermostat is more worry-free and convenient and gives you a more accurate temperature control. And by doing so, it can help you save some serious energy and money.