Original Content by Carl Johnson
As much as we all enjoy soaking up the last warm days of the summer sun and welcome in the cool evenings of the fall, it is smart to keep in mind that the winter months are not far away. With the cooler months comes the firing up for your furnace again, the closing of the wide-open summer breeze windows, and less hours of natural daylight streaming through your home. There are simple steps you can take now, while it is still short and sandal weather, to ensure a safe, energy efficient, and cozy home for the upcoming winter. Upgrading thermostats, switching out lightbulbs, even a new HVAC system are all items to look into now to help you save and be safe later!
The thermostat in your home may work just fine, it's the original one you bought with the house and you don’t fix what’s not broken. But in this case, upgrading to a smart thermostat can save you money, make you more comfortable, and be energy efficient to your HVAC unit. Many technology companies offer smart home thermostats at a variety of prices which allow you to get this modern convenience quick and easy.
What does a smart thermostat do? According to Energy Star, a certified smart thermostat can save on average 8% on your yearly electric bill (How Much Will a Smart Thermostat Save on Energy Costs? | Digital Trends). Most smart thermostats offer a phone app which allows you to control the home temperature from anywhere. Meaning if you are out of town for the week and think of it, you can lower your temperature, so the unit is not running while no one is home, wasting all of that energy and your money. You are also able to set ranges which allow the unit to run within a set degree range of your choice, so the unit isn’t working too hard on an extra cold or hot day. It is also common to have a time-of-day temperature option where the unit will automatically turn up or down while you are at work and then kick on at the time of day you are home. Smart thermostats also offer eco-friendly suggestions of what is the more energy efficient temperature to run for your home.
There are a lot of options for you when it comes to style and prices of a smart home thermostat. Buyer’sGuide.com gives a great list of the top ten smart home thermostats of 2023. CLICK HERE to see the full list in addition to the ones listed below.
Google’s NEST Learning Smart Home Thermostat
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Honeywell Home Wi-Fi Color Smart Thermostat
Ecobee Smart Thermostat
Though installing a new smart thermostat is a simple swap out with the old, it is best to use a professional electrician for safety. But an easy task you can do on your own is upgrading your home's lightbulbs! Though this sounds simple, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, having LED light bulbs in the home can save over $200/year on your home's energy bill (Here's How Much Money You Can Actually Save Switching To LED Light Bulbs (slashgear.com). This savings is just from a simple swap to an LED bulb, but now on the market are smart bulbs with use the same idea of a phone app as the thermostats to allow you to control factors which increase the bulbs efficiency. These Bluetooth and Wi-Fi light bulbs offer energy savings through dimming options, timers, and device triggers, they also often offer a color changing availability. You can find popular light bulb companies such as Philips and GE with smart LED bulb options as well as some you may not have heard of such as Wyze and Globe Electric. These can be purchased online as well as at major hardware stores.
A more expensive way to make your home ready for winter and more energy efficient is to upgrade your HVAC system. Though this may seem daunting, it is often an inevitable change that needs to be made to a home over its lifespan, and as the saying goes your furnace never breaks on a nice cool day, it goes out when it's snowing or boiling and needed the most! You may not need a full new system, but having an HVAC professional come out to your home and giving it a checkup and a tune up may be enough to get you ready for the winter. Even just getting your air ducts cleaned helps the units run more efficiently. But when your unit is finally on its last leg, there are more energy efficient options available to you which can save you money over time. Forbes.com (Best HVAC System: Buying Guide – Forbes Home) gives the following chart as suggestions to help you find which type of system is best for your home, as there are more options and prices than you may think.
Working with an HVAC professional will help direct you in the right direction to get the best value and unit for you. Units offer a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) which is a rating to show you how well it’ll run. If efficiency is important to you make sure to look for units with a high rating! In fact as of 2023, SEER rating have increase for the first time in years making it mandatory for new units to have a rating of 15 in southern states (How the 2023 HVAC regulations impact homeowners | HVAC.com).
Once the new system is up and running you are sure to see a difference in your home's comfortability as well as your energy bill! Small changes from a light bulb to a thermostat may seem simple but taking the time now to ready your home for winter can save you not only money but also worry and stress in the long run.
CLICK HERE to read another Carl Johnson original article where we covered even more smart home technologies!