IoT Devices in Seniors’ Homes – Part 2

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are WiFi-connected thermostats that learn and adapt from a user’s manual settings, daily routine, and the changing seasons. Smart thermostats can also be remotely controlled from your phone or tablet using an app. The Google Nest is the best-known brand among smart thermostats, but there are others to choose from, including Ecobee, Honeywell, and Bosch. The newest generation of smart thermostats has the same onboard digital assistants as smart speakers: Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Assistant.

This post is part of the series Protecting Senior Citizens Online.

Nest smart thermostat
Google Nest Smart Thermostat

How do you choose a smart thermostat?

PC Magazine did a 2019 roundup of 10 smart thermostats comparing all their features. Do you want motion activation? Does it support multiple zones? Does it support smart home integration? Your selection will depend on your answers to these questions, the desired combination of features, and your budget.

But before buying one, the first thing to determine is whether the thermostat wiring in your house is compatible with a smart thermostat. The Nest, for example, is not compatible with high voltage systems (120V or 240V), or systems using multi-strand or “stranded” wire.

Multi-strand or Stranded Wire
Multi-strand or Stranded Wire

Nest provides a compatibility checker that also supplies a wiring diagram to help with installation. You can consult with an HVAC contractor or IT professional if you want help with installation. However, it’s worth noting that the PC Magazine roundup indicated all 10 of the smart thermostats reviewed could be user installed. Their installation how-to video makes it look pretty straightforward.

What value does a smart thermostat provide to seniors?

Programmable thermostats are between $50-$150. On the high end, touchscreen models are within the price range of a smart thermostat.

Smart thermostats’ main selling point is energy savings over time. But according to many articles, smart thermostats don’t achieve greater savings than standard programmable thermostats.

The main advantage of having a smart thermostat is remote access using an app on your smartphone or tablet. Remote access has many applications, such as while traveling, or if you have a vacation rental like an Airbnb. A smart thermostat enables adult children and caregivers to check temperature, settings, and user changes remotely. It also enables remote caregivers to change settings if their senior is ill, disabled, or requires greater monitoring due to a health condition.

Do some reading – including customer feedback from actual users – before making a purchasing decision.


Copyright © 2020 Prime of Life Tech, Patrick M. Baker