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Smart thermostats: what are they and are they worth investing in?

Smart thermostats are the latest gadgets in home heating technology. But what are they, what do they do and are they worth investing in?

Smart thermostats: what are they and are they worth investing in?

These days you can do pretty much anything with your mobile phone, from your shopping, music and video streaming, through to booking your holiday and commenting on what your friends are eating for tea. We can now add to that extensive list: controlling the heating in your home.

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What is a smart thermostat?

A smart thermostat is essentially a device that connects your home’s heating system to the internet and allows you to alter the temperature or turn the heating on or off, remotely. So say, for example, you have your heating set to come on at 5pm every day during the winter. One evening you might find yourself delayed or decide to be out for the evening instead. With a smart thermostat, you can delay the heating coming on, or turn it down, or switch it off completely from wherever you are, via your phone.

Manufacturers claim this can cut your heating bills by 25%, although there is a cost to buying and installing the thermostats, which start at around £140.

What are the benefits of a smart thermostat?

Some smart thermostats have other features such as controlling the hot water, or ‘multi-zoning’, where you can control the temperature in different rooms allowing you to have a warmer living room, cooler bedrooms and the heating switched off in unused rooms, such as guest bedrooms.

Providers claim that this can save you a further 20% on your bills, although you can turn off or turn down most radiators manually without a smart thermostat. It’s also worth noting that ‘multi-zoning’ requires additional kit at an additional cost.

Other features include draught detection (your phone will alert you if you’ve left a window open); holiday mode (the heating will come on automatically to stop pipes from freezing if the temperature drops below a certain point) and ‘geofencing’, the controversial feature of detecting when you enter or leave your home, which in this case will automatically turn the heating on or off.

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Smart thermostats are also compatible with smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, so if you reallycannot be bothered to get off the sofa to turn down the heating, then they can be voice controlled too.