We use an awful lot of energy heating our homes here in Canada. And by 'an awful lot of energy', we actually mean that, if your home is anything like the average Canadian home, 63% of your energy bill goes towards just heating the place. That's a big part of your energy bill going to just one use. In fact, the second highest energy expenditure, water heating, clocks in at a distant 17%. We'd say that basically makes your energy bill a heating bill.
So, if you're trying to spend less money on your energy bill, it only makes sense that heating is the best area to tackle. You can do that with practical fixes like fixing worn weather-stripping, caulking exterior holes, and installing double pane windows, but there's also a simpler fix: buy a smart thermostat.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A smart thermostat is a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that makes programming very easy and lets you do so from an app on your smartphone. They can do things like adjust the temperature in different rooms, create a schedule such that heating gets diminished when your home is empty, and gives you easy-to-read data about your energy consumption. Some examples of smart thermostats include ecobee3, Nest, and Honeywell Lyric.
We should note that smart thermostats can also lower your spending by adjusting air conditioning in the summer, but Canadians spend next to nothing on cooling compared to heating, so we're focusing on heating.
The Little Numbers Add Up
If you turn down the temperature in your home by 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit every day (either when you're asleep or when the house is empty), a simple programmable thermostat will cut your heating bill by 10 per cent or more.
Smart thermostats increase the savings by learning your routine, either by tracking your smartphone or with sensors that can tell if someone's in the room. Say you don't come home after work on Wednesdays because that's your recreational hockey night with the boys. Your smart thermostat will learn that you aren't home until 9 instead of 6, so it'll start to delay heating by three hours, saving you money.
By far the coolest thing about smart appliances is that you don't need to be home to use them. You just need your smartphone and an app. That way you can make adjustments when you're not around and tell your thermostat to warm up the house before you get home. Say you're going out for a parent-teacher conference and it's December. The old strategy of turning down the temperature before you leave and turning it back up when you return, all to save a few bucks, seems silly now. When you control your thermostat via an app, though, it's easy and you can turn up the thermostat a half-hour before you're back with just a few taps on your smartphone. That way you come home to a warm house and dollars off your heating bill.
The big takeaway about smart appliances and heating is that there's money to be saved by shaving off a few hours of heating here and there and app-enabled smart thermostats make doing so a piece of cake.
After all, if you can lower your heating bill by 10% and all you need to do is tap a few buttons on your smartphone every now and again, why wouldn't you?