Smart Home

How can a smart thermostat help me save on heating bills?

gray Nest thermostat displaying at 63
Hot stuff: smart thermostats can help cut bills

With the price of gas rising so fast it might be cheaper to burn printer ink, anything we can do to reduce usage is going to be worthwhile.

If you’re lucky to be using smart thermostats – Hive, Nest, Tado, etc. – then we’ll share some ways to use this smart tech to save money, without having to wear an extra jumper.

What smart thermostat features can help me save money?

Smart thermostats have different feature sets, but here are some of the features that could help you save money on those heating bills:

  • Smart scheduling, where the thermostat learns the best time to turn the heating on and off during the day to get the temperature you desire.
  • Automatic recognition of the house being empty, so the heating can be turned down or off when nobody is at home.
  • Intelligent activation of your heating. The amount of time it takes to get your home to the desired temperature will vary due to internal and external temperatures. Smart thermostats can take this into account, making sure your house is at the right temperature at the right time. With standard thermostats, people will often have them set up for the worst-case scenario, so the house is warmed before it needs to be, particularly the case for first thing in the morning.
  • Turn the temperature down a touch. It’s the usual cliche, you can turn the temperature down, and with a smart thermostat you can often get a greater degree of control than you would with an old dial. Some thermostats let you turn down the temperature by half degrees. Half a degree is unlikely to be noticeable and, yet, will save you money.

Where should you place a smart thermostat?

The placement of your smart thermostat is important. Don’t have it too close to the radiator and have it in a room that’s an appropriate yard stick for the temperature of the house – after all, this is going to dictate when the heating needs to come on. So, for example, if you have it in the hallway, your heating is likely to come on every time the front door is opened on a cold day. Main living areas are the best location.

Add thermostats to the radiators

As well as having a thermostat to control the heating for the entire house, it’s possible to add thermostatic valves (known as “thermostatic radiator valves” or TRVs) to individual radiators – these will turn off the radiator when the room reaches a desired temperature.

For example, if you have a loft extension or back bedroom that’s always colder than the rest of the house, you can heat that individually when it dips below a set temperature. Likewise, you could heat the bedrooms at night and the living areas by day, saving you from heating rooms when they’re not being used. This alone could have a massive impact on your energy bills.

Manual ones can be found for less than £8 but, if you want to push this up a notch is terms of technology, connected TRVs are available. These enable you to control them via the heating system’s app, including adding schedules and other automations. These will cost £40 or more, each, but if you have TRVs already, they can be switched out by yourself, no plumber required.

One note of caution – it’s best not to add a thermostat to the radiator nearest your thermostat as this should be set to full temperature at all times.

Hive thermostat

Hive Heating Plus

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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