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What is the Difference Between a Wi-Fi Thermostat and a Smart Thermostat? Which One Should You Get?

Thermostats keep getting more and more high-tech, and while this generally means better energy efficiency and money savings, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest and greatest thermostats on the market. With so many different options, it is hard to know just what each type of thermostat is, and which one would be more beneficial for you.

By this point, you have probably heard of Wi-Fi thermostats and smart thermostats and wondered what the real differences between the two were. Unsurprisingly, they aren’t the same thing, but they do share similarities.

Wi-Fi Thermostats vs. Smart Thermostats

Both Wi-Fi and smart thermostats connect to the internet, but that doesn’t mean that they work in the same way. A smart thermostat can learn and make decisions for you. A smart thermostat, just like a Wi-Fi thermostat, can be controlled by a connected device, such as your cell phone, via an app. Wi-Fi thermostats, however, don’t have the ability to learn from your usage. Instead, a Wi-Fi thermostat can only be set to perform certain actions in specific situations based on a reading from a sensor.

A Wi-Fi thermostat can be told to ping you when your home dips below 70 degrees, and you can then log on and change the temperature settings, but the thermostat can’t do anything about your temperature settings on its own. A smart thermostat can be programmed to automatically change the temperature in your home at a certain time.

Let’s say that you aren’t home between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day, and you think it is okay to let the temperature dip a little during that time as long as it is back up to 70 degrees when you get home at 6 p.m. A smart thermostat will automatically drop the temperature to a more energy efficient temperature at 8 a.m., but gradually increase the temperature back up to 70 degrees by 6 p.m. when you walk in the door. Also, if the smart thermostat senses that you aren’t home, even though it is 6 a.m., it can apply those same temperature settings starting at 6 a.m.

Basically, all smart thermostats are also Wi-Fi thermostats, but not all Wi-Fi thermostats have all the capabilities that smart thermostats have.

Should You Consider a Wi-Fi or Smart Thermostat?

If you are considering an internet-connected thermostat, Cates Heating and Cooling recommends going with a smart thermostat. Not only are smart thermostats capable of more, but they are also going to give you more bang for your buck in the long run.

Smart thermostats are designed to make your life easier and save you money on your energy bills. Once a smart thermostat is installed in your home, you can program it in any way you would like and let it do all the work for you.

Before purchasing a smart thermostat, it is a good idea to have an HVAC technician come out make sure that your current HVAC system is compatible with a smart thermostat. If it isn’t, you can either upgrade your HVAC system, which often helps with energy savings, or skip the smart thermostat upgrade.

If you already have a Wi-Fi thermostat (not a smart thermostat) or a programmable thermostat, you may not want to make the switchover just yet. You may not be able to do all the things you could with a smart thermostat, but you are still getting energy savings, so the additional cost for purchase and installation may not be worth it.

Smart Thermostats from Cates Heating and Cooling

Cates Heating and Cooling is proud to offer the ecobee4 smart thermostat to residents of the Kansas City Metro Area. The ecobee4 comes with a room sensor that can help manage hot and cold spots in your home. Unlike some of the other smart thermostats on the market, the ecobee4 monitors the performance of your heating and cooling system to let you know if your air conditioner or furnace isn’t properly keeping up with the demand.

The ecobee4 also comes with the Amazon Alexa Voice Service built in, which allows you to do all kinds of things, like order groceries and hear the news. Alexa can also answer questions for you just like it would with the Amazon Echo. Since the ecobee4 is still mainly a thermostat, you can also ask Alexa to control the temperature for you. If you are away from home, however, a phone app allows you to make any changes to the temperature of your home that you would like. You can also set the ecobee4 up to send you alerts if anything is wrong with your heating and cooling system.

As a smart thermostat, the ecobee4 is designed to help you save money on your energy costs each year. Some people have even reported up to 23 percent savings on their heating and cooling costs per year. One way to help save energy with the ecobee4 is to set up home and away modes. When the ecobee4 senses that nobody is home, it will change the temperature to the away setting that is designed for saving energy.

At the end of each month, you can also get a free energy report that lets you know how much you have conserved and how you can save more. This report can also show you if anything is wrong with your HVAC system.

To learn more about smart or Wi-Fi thermostats, set up a consultation with Cates Heating and Cooling for an ecobee4 installation. To set up a consultation for a smart thermostat installation, call Cates at 913-888-4470.

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