Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat? Choose One of These
With so many smart thermostats on the market today, it can be difficult to determine which one is best for you. You want one that is going to be easy to install, simple to program, pleasing to look at, and probably most important, one that will save you money.
One of the most attractive selling points of Google’s Nest is its ability to actually learn your habits and adjust accordingly. Aside from temperature, it can also measure ambient light, humidity, and motion. After about a week, it will create a program specific to your routine. And if your house has multiple Nest units, they can communicate via Wi-Fi to manage schedules for different areas of your house. Top that off with the ability to control it from your smartphone or web browser from literally anywhere with internet access, and you’ve got an impressive device.
Similar to the Nest, the Ecobee3 uses motion and proximity sensors to determine whether you are home or away. With the ability to install up to 32 remote sensors that measure temperature and occupancy of the room they’re in, you will have complete control in fine-tuning the temperature of your house. Coupled with your smartphone, tablet, or computer, you will be able to adjust the settings and modify the temperature with ease.
Unlike the previous two thermostats, the Lyric was designed with a “geofencing” algorithm to sense if you are home or away. With a radius ranging from 500 feet to seven miles, the Lyric can tell when you enter and exit the predetermined range, and adjust the temperature according to your settings.
As you can see, the retail prices of these three thermostats are very similar, but don’t forget to take the cost of installation into consideration as well.
Nest claims that three out of four customers are able to complete installation in 30 minutes or less. After reading many online reviews that have agreed with this statement, I am going to consider installing a Nest as a DIY project, hence the $0 price tag.
Installation of the Ecobee3 and the Lyric can vary between professional contractors, but I have discovered that $150 is the average for a basic smart thermostat installation. If you’re simply looking to replace your old thermostat and sync the new one with your house, you can expect to pay somewhere around this amount. If you go beyond these services, like installing more than one thermostat, you may end up writing a larger check.
Now, on to the energy savings.
According to NYSEG, a typical New York resident spent a yearly average of $1,032 on natural gas in 2013. Seeing as most residents consume natural gas to heat and cool their homes, I’ll use this amount as a base number.
The chart below shows the average annual savings each thermostat is likely to save, as stated on the manufacturers’ websites.
The Ecobee3 is the clear winner in this category, saving you an average of 23% on your annual heating and cooling bill. The Nest comes in a close second with an average annual savings of 20%. In this case, the Lyric saves $170 per year, which calculates to less than 17%.
The Bottom Line
Although the Nest has the best initial cost after installation, the Ecobee3 claims to have the greatest energy savings. But since the two are very close in the latter category, after 10 years, the Ecobee3 would provide an extra savings of just over $300, which isn’t a huge amount.
Overall, your best bet lies with the Ecobee3 or the Nest. Although the Lyric is intricate, it does not deliver comparable savings. In this battle, the Lyric can’t even compete.
Keep in mind that these calculations are a rough estimate and will vary depending on your location and specific needs. They do not include potential rebates that may be offered through your local utility.
So which smart thermostat strikes your fancy? Do you plan to jump on the Nest bandwagon, or go with the Ecobee’s long-term energy savings? Or maybe you’ll even take a chance on the Lyric. Let us know in the comments section below!
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