When it’s cold, we turn on the heater. When it’s hot, we turn on the air conditioning. In the quest to make our homes comfortable, most of us rely on these two appliances with notoriously high energy consumption.
For those of us who live in extreme weather, it is survival (or freeze to death in the cold or die of heatstroke).
As a result though, at the end of each summer or winter months, we rack up eye bulging electric bills that make us look for alternatives (other than moving somewhere with more temperate climates) that are easier on the pocket and the environment.
Popular Nest & Honeywell Thermostats
(the links above will take you over to Amazon)
Smart Wi-Fi Thermostats: The Basics
Smart Wi-Fi thermostats are used to control the heating or air conditioning system in a home. They are basically your programmable thermostat—only they can be connected to the internet and can be accessed remotely.
Just like your regular programmable thermostat, you use your smart Wi-Fi thermostat to control the temperature of your home throughout the day by setting a schedule.
For example, you might want a nice, cool temperature when you wake up, so you won’t get all sweaty and sticky while having breakfast and getting ready for work.
Unlike your regular programmable thermostat though, the smart Wi-Fi thermostat is connected to the internet. This means it allows you to adjust your home’s heating or cooling settings using other devices that are also connected to the internet, such as your smartphone or your laptop.
So say it is freezing, you can easily access the smart thermostat through its app on your way home, and arrive in a warm and toasty house.
Or if it’s summer, you won’t have to wait for your air conditioning unit to cool your house down when you arrive. Open the door and experience instant relief from the sweltering heat outside.
Save Money and Energy
Most smart thermostats also show you information about your HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system, like how long it has been running, the energy consumed, and even if you need to change the air filter already.
If you love playing around with data, then this will save you a lot of money on your energy bill. For example, you can plot out how much more you can save in a month by adjusting the temperature a few degrees here and there.
Are Smart Thermostats Worth It?
Admittedly, regular programmable thermostats may cost a lot less than a smart thermostat, but most people buy them and end up not using them simply because they just aren’t as convenient to use, or as versatile.
Besides, with the money you’ll save, it should pay for itself in no time.
Nest Learning Thermostat Features
Your HVAC can make up half of your energy bill. Having a smart device to regulate ventilation, heating and cooling whether or not you’re at home would mean being able to save not only money, but energy as well. Extra cash and reducing your carbon footprint—sounds like a great deal, yes?
When it came out in 2011, the first generation Nest Learning Thermostat rose to popularity when it was recognized as “one of the most revolutionary energy-saving products of our time.” It is also the first thermostat to earn Energy Star.
This little device packs a lot features, but is easy to use. The design is simple yet intuitive— you won’t have to read a manual or mash buttons just to figure out what’s going on. Rotate the dial and press to choose.
Now the Nest Learning Thermostat is in its third generation, and has evolved to integrate more features that make it even easier and more convenient to use.
Because it is connected to the internet, you can literally use your smart device or laptop as your HVAC system remote control via the Nest Thermostat’s app.
So even if you are away from home—or even out of the country—you can adjust your home’s heating and cooling as long as you have an internet connection.
With the Auto-Schedule feature, the Nest enters a “learning process” where it observes your habits for about a week or so, and programs itself accordingly to adapt to your lifestyle. Of course, you can manually adjust it if needed.
Here’s the scenario: you usually set the temperature to 68 degrees around 6am when you wake up, then turn your system off when you and the kids leave the house at 8am.
Your kids get home at around 2pm, and set the temperature to a comfortable 65 degrees. By 9pm, you turn it down to a cool 55 degrees to get ready for bed. Rinse and repeat.
Except for weekends, when you wake up later at around 8am, and set the temperature to 60 degrees.
The Nest will “learn” your family’s habits, and after a week or so, it will do these things on its own. You can put the matter of setting temperatures and turning your HVAC system on and off completely out of your mind.
The Nest Thermostat also has a Home/Away Assist feature that automatically turns off or turns down your HVAC system to an Eco Temp while you’re away, enabling you to save even more energy.
But the best part of this feature is its ability to track your phone location—and your family’s as well—and automatically turns the thermostat down when you’re away.
With the 3rd generation Nest Thermostat, you don’t even have to tap the device in order to get an update on temperature, weather or the time. If you have the Farsight option on, the Nest will automatically light up once it “sees” you enter the room with its 150-degree activity sensors.
It also has light sensors that adjust the screen brightness, making sure you’ll see it clearly from across the room.
The Nest Sense is what makes this thermostat so smart. First of all, using its learning algorithms, the Nest Thermostat “learns” how long it’ll take your home to heat up or cool down to a certain temperature.
Once it learns your schedule and the temperatures you like, and at what times. It’ll then adjust on its own to achieve what you want using the most energy-saving ways possible.
For example, did you know that your air conditioner’s compressor will continue to generate cold air for five to ten minutes after it’s turned off? The Nest then uses the fan alone to blow the cold air still being produced by your compressor throughout your house. That will save you about ten minutes of energy.
It also has a feature appropriately called Sunblock, which blocks the heat coming from the sun shining directly onto the device. This is to avoid false temperatures, to avoid turning on the cooling system on a cold day, just because sunlight happens to shine through your window and directly onto the Nest.
The Nest can also use your heating and cooling systems to regulate the humidity inside your home. This promotes a healthier living environment. In humid areas, it prevents too much moisture and mold from growing inside your home.
On the other hand, in dry areas, it makes your home a bit more humid to make it easier for you to breathe.
The Nest also helps you keep an eye on your home, in case it gets too cold or too hot. The app will send an alert to your smartphone once it detects these issues, preventing incidents such as bursting pipes from the cold or a system overheat.
The Nest also alerts when your filters need to be changed, thus making your HVAC more efficient and saving you more energy.
Works with Smart Assistants
The Nest is fully integrated with Amazon Echo devices and Google Assistant. Not only does this makes voice control possible, but also brings out a myriad of additional features to work with other smart devices. You can even create your own “recipes” using IFTTT.
Ironically, considering the Nest was created by Tony Fadell of Apple fame, the Nest currently does not work with Apple Homekit and Siri. Luckily, a workaround has been found by diehard Apple fans.
One feature of the Nest is it will charge its batteries automatically. So how is this a problem?
The device needs a C wire (common wire) hooked up to it, or it’ll turn on the HVAC system in order to charge its batteries. If this is the case in your home, you can try installing it yourself or contact a professional ASAP to fix this problem.
Honeywell Thermostat Features
Over a hundred years into the business, Honeywell offers a bigger range of options to match your budgets and needs. In this article, we’ll be featuring the:
- the Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000
- the Smart Wi-Fi
- ...and the Lyric
Honeywell Smart Wi-Fi (RTH9580WF)
Once you’ve setup your Honeywell Smart Thermostat with your Wi-Fi connection, all you have to do is register your product onto the Honeywell Total Connect Comfort website. As long as you’re connected to the internet, you can access your thermostat anywhere in the world.
Auto Schedule: 7 Day Programmable Smart Scheduling
With this feature, you can program your thermostat as either a business or home. You can then input your preferences for the next seven days. For example, you can input what time you wake up and what temperature you want, so you’ll never have to wake up to a freezing house.
Geo-Fencing (Honeywell Lyric only)
The Honeywell Lyric has the zoning feature, which gives it the ability to cool or heat individual rooms instead of the entire house. Since you don’t waste energy in empty rooms, you end up saving energy and money.
Smart Response Technology
Honeywell smart thermostats have the ability to calculate how long it will take to heat or cool your home. This enables it to deliver the right temperature at the exact time you want it. You save energy, while staying comfortable all throughout.
Honeywell Thermostats have the capability of sending alerts to your connected devices in case of unexpected weather changes, extreme temperature alerts, and when to change your filter to maximize energy saving.
Works with Smart Assistants
The Honeywell Thermostat works with iOS, Alexa and Android devices. This provides voice control even if you don’t get the voice control capable model. You can also use IFTTT to bridge your smart thermostat with working with other smart devices.
Integrated Voice Control (Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 with Voice Control only)
All you have to say is “Hello, Thermostat” to turn on the thermostat’s listening ability. It can respond to a number of voice commands, such as “raise (or lower) the temperature by x degrees”.
The mic’s pretty sensitive too, and can hear you clearly from across a busy room.
Lyric T5 Thermostat
Nest vs. Honeywell Smart Thermostats: Conclusion
Nest 3rd Gen Thermostat Features:
- Remote Control
- Auto Schedule
- Home/Away Assist
- Auto Alerts
- Works with Smart Assistants
Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 Features:
- Remote Control
- Auto Schedule
- Integrated Voice Control
- Smart Response Technology
- Auto Alerts
- Works with Smart Assistants
When it comes to the Nest and Honeywell Smart thermostats, it really depends on what kind of home you live in, and your expectations.
If your priority is ease of use and a hands-off approach on regulating your home temperature, then the Nest may be the better choice for you. Its detailed information on energy saving will make it easier for you to decide where to cut down to save money too. Its full integration to smart assistants practically makes it voice-controlled as well.
If you live in a big home, then the Honeywell Lyric with its geo-fencing capabilities will save more money for you. It can turn individual appliances in different rooms on and off for you, thus saving more energy.
Thank you for reading this article! We hope you enjoyed it, and found it informative. Feel free to share this article if you liked it, and don’t forget to leave a comment or ask questions in the appropriate section below!