What makes a thermostat smart? In our connected world, a smart thermostat is one that grants access to itself via the internet. Whether that access is a website, a phone app or voice control via google or alexa, if you can control it’s basic function remotely, it’s a smart thermostat. All of the thermostats in this category have the ability to set a program, usually 4 defined time periods with separate temperature setpoints. (WAKE, DAY, HOME, SLEEP). the WAKE and HOME are typically 1 to 2 hour transition periods to get the indoor temperature moving in the desired direction for the long periods in the next cycle. It is important to know your comfort level and to get these settings tweaked for your home.
Predictive, Adaptive, or Learning Technology:
This function (mostly) takes control of the WAKE and HOME periods mentioned earlier. In the northern winter you can set your thermostat to 60 during the day and want it 70 when you get home. A learning stat can, depending on outdoor temp, turn your heat on 15 minutes or 2 hours early to make the temp you set by 5PM when you get home. But what about in the Clearwater, Florida area? If you set your thermostat to 85 during the day and want 75 when you get home in the summer, it will take several hours for the home to fall those 10 degrees, and your home will be filled with humidity. The savings are minimal over using targeted WAKE and HOME settings, and the possible discomfort is horrible.
Next Level Smart:
Trane smart thermostats have full color, easy to read screens. when you link to the Trane Diagnostic portal you get full secure phone app and web browser control. Trane Diagnostic saves a month of historical data. It graphs run times, temps, humidity, even sensor telemetry on hi-end communicating models. If an error is detected it sends an email to your registered, authorized Trane dealer. If your systems struggled yesterday or last week, we (your installing dealer) have access to the data to help us diagnose the cause. Amazon Alexa or Google Home integration gives your thermostat voice control. Communicating functionality allows all this control run on only 3 control wires where it used to take up to 8.
Duke Energy is already offering Smart Thermostat Program enrollment in other markets. Excerpt from Duke Energy Website(Indiana): “Participants agree to brief adjustments to their thermostats during peak electric demand periods from May 1 through Sept. 30. Adjustments to the thermostat typically last no more than four hours and will not occur on weekends or holidays, except in the rare event of a system emergency”. They offer a $75 signup bonus and a $25 annual bonus. Trane will be taking steps toward this power company intergration in early 2022.