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What is a Smart Thermostat?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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A smart thermostat is a modern electronic element that functions as part of an optimized energy system for heating and cooling or related home and commercial applications. In general, a thermostat is a device that regulates the operation of mechanical or electronic systems in relation to temperature; they are particularly prevalent in heating/cooling systems to deliver a set temperature result. A smart thermostat brings some new and innovative functionality to these devices by employing microprocessors to adjust temperature settings and other functions automatically, and to maintain different environmental conditions at different times of the day, or even different days of the week.

Experts commonly define a smart thermostat as a programmable thermostat with digital design. These types of thermostats differ from older mechanical or analog thermostats, many of which do not include programmability, adaptability, or even in some cases, advanced temperature controls. The advent of the smart thermostat changes the way that electricians and other professionals implement these items into a comprehensive home heating and cooling installation.

Smart thermostats and related devices are part of a larger “smart energy grid” concept. Government groups around the world, as well as private companies, are thinking about how to create and implement solutions for cutting down on energy consumption and waste. Both homes and commercial spaces can benefit from smarter energy use. Smart thermostats are part of this overall equation, since they can more accurately direct home or commercial energy systems to work less based on need.

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One main feature of modern smart thermostats is that many of them work through a home wireless network or “wifi” center. This allows users to operate the smart thermostat remotely, and to set it in a variety of more flexible ways. Some smart thermostats will include handy remote software applications that help operators to control heating and cooling through easy visual display programs. These can cut some of the waste out of heating/cooling a space during any given day.

Along with automated controls and smart meters, smart thermostats are part of what is driving innovation in heating and cooling, which is a major component of energy use for most families and businesses. In the long run, this will save resources and help to combat global climate change. These incentives are driving the creation of more smart heating and cooling technologies, and the production and distribution of a smart thermostat or other similar device.

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