What are the Types of Smart Thermostats?

October 20, 2020

Learn About the Types of Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat provides a convenient way for you to control the temperature of your home in Greenville, TX. If you’ve been using an old manual thermostat until now, you’ll be impressed with the features offered by a smart thermostat. Read on to learn about the types of smart thermostats, how they work and what they need in order to communicate with your home’s heating and cooling system.

Dealer-Based Versus DIY

Some smart thermostats are only available through a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company such as ours, Ken Parker Service, Inc. in Greenville. These thermostats are designed to work with specific makes and models of heating and cooling systems installed by our technicians. The manufacturers have coordinated the smart thermostats and heat pumps, air conditioners or furnaces to ensure compatibility.

The other type is a DIY smart thermostat. Anyone can buy or install these, but it’s always a good idea to have a skilled technician install it for you.

Learning Algorithms

One type of smart thermostat uses learning algorithms, and it works like a regular programmable thermostat. You input the basics of your daily schedule, such as when you wake up, leave for work or school, return home and go to bed. These smart thermostats have the ability to adapt to changes in that schedule. They will make automatic adjustments to the timing of heating or cooling cycles in order to optimize your comfort and lower your home’s energy usage.

They also feature an automatic “away” setting. This lowers the temperature during the heating season and raises it during the cooling season. It can detect if you’re actually home when you had programmed a schedule that indicated you would be gone. The system makes automatic adjustments for your presence.

Thermostats that use learning algorithms include the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat. The latter is available with voice control.


Geofencing is a process in which the smart thermostat detects the location of your smartphone and uses its GPS coordinates to plan heating and cooling cycles. You can adjust the away setting to 500 feet or 7 miles. When your phone is outside of that range, the smart thermostat reverts to the away settings. In the summer, this reduces the number of cooling cycles, and in the winter, it reduces the number of heating cycles.

Examples of smart thermostats that use geofencing technology include the Honeywell Lyric and Lyric T5. If more than one member of your household installs the app on their phone, this may confuse the system’s geofencing feature. If you often forget your phone at home, this can also throw off its energy-saving functions.

Motion Sensors

The third type of smart thermostat uses motion sensors to adjust the schedule you program into its interface. You can place the motion sensors in areas of your home where you spend time while awake. For example, you may want one in the kitchen, one in the main bathroom and one in your family room. If the motion sensors don’t detect any movement for 30 minutes, they send a signal to your phone. If your phone is at home, the system assumes you’re home but asleep. If the phone isn’t in the home, the thermostat triggers the away settings. The Ecobee3 uses these sensors.

What Smart Thermostats Require

All smart thermostats have some basic requirements. They need a C-wire connection to your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The thermostat also needs a battery. The battery powers the back light, touch screen and memory chip. Smart thermostats must have a connection to your home’s Wi-Fi. They use this connection to download software and algorithm updates and to receive data from or transmit information to the web app and the app on your phone.

Keep in mind that not all smart thermostats are compatible with all heating and cooling systems. Our technicians at Ken Parker Service, Inc. can make a recommendation, or you can use a manufacturer’s website to find out which makes and models of heating and cooling systems are compatible with each model of smart thermostat.

Ken Parker Service, Inc. is the trusted installer of smart thermostats in Greenville. If you already have a smart thermostat, we’re also ready to provide you with high-quality heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, replacement and installation services. Our indoor air quality solutions are designed to ensure your health and well-being. To learn more about smart thermostats, call us at Ken Parker Service, Inc. today.

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