Almost every home turn to thermostats for their heating and cooling needs. Thermostats provide the convenience of having a comfortable temperature and humidity all year round.

But how do you describe a smart thermostat? How does a smart thermostat differ from a programmable thermostat? What makes it much more convenient and efficient?

To know the answers to these questions, read much further, and understand what a smart thermostat does.

What are Smart Thermostats?

Smart thermostats are a relatively newer model to adjust heating and cooling preferences at home remotely. Its use is catching on with homes all over the world.

These smart thermostats may have gained in popularity over time, and many energy companies praise them for potentially helping save on heating costs all year round.

Controlled Remotely

A smart thermostat allows you to control your home’s heating and cooling system remotely. It works well with your home’s HVAC system, and some are compatible with remote temperature sensors.

It also has several features available that differ from a programmable thermostat. The convenience factor is one of the main draws for people who currently use a traditional thermostat and want to make the switch.

You can turn it off automatically or set it to a certain time to regulate your home with the right temperature. Some of the models of smart thermostats can be adjusted using voice command products.

Using these devices like Alexa and Google Assistant adds to the convenience of using a smart thermostat. Depending on the thermostat model, you may also be able to look at your home’s energy cost in real-time.

Controls the HVAC System

You can also connect smart thermostats to your HVAC system and switch your heating on and off via your smartphone device with the app. If you’re not that into the technology of mobile devices, you may pick a basic unit with remote control.

A notification will prompt as soon as it detects and electricity spike available or notice a pattern. If you aim for less energy usage and to save money, installing these smart devices might be a good idea. After all, the goal is to save money in the electric bill.

There are dozens of smart thermostat brands you can find, and it can be hard to choose which one is the best to get. To make buying easier for you, I go over the top 5 cheapest smart thermostat options, check it out and see if you’ll find anything you like.

How Does a Smart Thermostat Work?


Now that you know what a smart thermostat has to offer and its efficiency, you have to understand how it works. This will allow you to fully appreciate everything that your new smart thermostat can do for you.

Heating the temperature inside your house represents one of the biggest chunks of your resident’s utility bills, and it can go up drastically in colder weather.

Wi-Fi Connection

Once you install your smart thermostat, you connect it to your home’s Internet through a Wi-Fi connection. You can change or adjust the temperature with your phone even when you’re away from home.

Most of these smart devices offer a brand-specific app that you download onto your tablet or phone. The app will offer a step by step guide to set up your thermostat and program it the first time you open it.

The app will offer you to take control and check your thermostat even when you’re away from home or wherever you go. You can switch it on or off and adjust to your preferred temperature as long as you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.


With a click of a button, you can change it to the right temperature without having to touch the thermostat physically.

Also, some smart thermostats let you program it to automatically switch on and off, or start on programming itself depending on the temperature indoors and outdoors.

It’ll work just like your regular thermostat found in most homes. The difference between a regular and smart thermostat is that you can do this all from your smartphone instead of being home and manually making the adjustments. Don’t forget to check the compatibility with your HVAC system before purchasing a new one.


Different models of smart thermostats can start to control themselves by tracking you through GPS (this is called Geofencing programming) or picking up on any patterns you may have.

This learning feature allows your thermostat to be lower during the day and to switch on when you’re on your way home. So you have a warm house to come back to.

The learning systems of smart thermostats study your patterns, preferred temperature, and routine. It will learn your schedule and will even learn your habits.

Other Features

weather forecast

On your device, you could also create a power schedule, programming instructions, and temperature, and you may access this setting in your mobile app.

  • Energy Tracking: You may also get a smart thermostat that will show you a detailed breakdown of your home’s energy consumption with reports so you can track your usage. This is a great way to potentially save money on electric bills in the long run. Wi-Fi thermostats like the expensive Nest, Ecobee, and Honeywell offers this specification.
  • Weather Forecast: It also reads your local weather forecast. Having a thermostat that forecasts the local weather is useful so you will know when to bring an umbrella or when to wear a coat.
  • Self-adjusting: Smart thermostats learns the heating and cooling patterns of the household and adjusts on its own. This means the air conditioning and heater self-adjusts in different times of the day.
  • Energy Star Certified: All of these smaller features and settings can be used to add up and help you save money all year round. You need to invest in an Energy Star certified smart thermostat to potentially save money on the electric bill. The potential savings are another reason why these devices have gained in popularity so quickly over the past five years. [1]

You’ll be surprised to know that you can buy learning thermostats at an affordable price. Again, not all smart thermostats can do this. This is why you need to read about all of the settings and systems included and comparing various smart thermostats to see which model has the most features you’ll like.


Now you have the answer of what a smart thermostat is, plus more information on how they differ from programmable thermostats.

Hopefully, this post gave you enough information to help you decide on whether or not this type of smart thermostat will work for your home or if you should stay with your programmable thermostat.

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Joe Castro

Joe Castro is the Director of Trusty Joe. Under the guidance of his father, a general contractor, Joe has been involved with a lot of handyman projects from a very young age. He combined this love for building with another passion of his, creative writing. Trusty Joe allows him to merge these two interests and offer the best of both worlds.