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Everyone wants to save money on their heating and cooling bills, but not everyone needs all the features and add-ons that a Nest Learning Thermostat or an ecobee4 bring to the table. For someone who is looking for a way to take control of their energy usage, the Emerson Sensi Wi-Fi thermostat is a great entry level option.
This thermostat is easy to install, and Emerson Sensi encourages users to install it on their own. By downloading the Sensi app, it will walk you through the full installation. They estimate that it should only take you about a half-hour to fully install and begin using the Sensi Wi-Fi smart thermostat.
This thermostat is compatible with the following HVAC systems. It should be noted that all of them require a C-wire;
● Conventional up to 2 stage heat/2 stage cool
● Gas, Oil, and Thermoelectric
● Geothermal and Dual-Fuel
● Heat Only
● Cool Only
● Heat Pump with or without an accessory, up to 4 stage heat/2 stage cooling (an accessory is something like a humidifier that is attached to your heat pump)
The Sensi Smart Thermostat is not compatible with the following heating systems:
● Line Voltage like baseboard heat
● Millivolt (mV) such as fireplaces (but they can be made compatible with the installation of a 24 volt transformer)
● Remote Sensors
● Proprietary Systems
When it comes to using the Sensi, it is very easy to program. You can use the app on your smart device, or you can do it directly from the unit. If you do want to set the schedule on the thermostat directly, you do have to disable the Wi-Fi first, which is a bit of a pain. But luckily, the app is very easy to use, so it’s easier to do it there.
The Sensi offers a full seven day schedule with multiple events individually for each day. If you don’t want to set a schedule, the Sensi has geofencing capabilities that let your location determine what comfort level your home will be at. This thermostat has a bright touch screen that is easily readable as well.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a way for your thermostat to know where you are. Essentially, it uses your phone’s GPS and location tracking to keep track of where you are in relation to your home. When you travel beyond a set distance, the thermostat will turn off, and when you enter back inside this range, the thermostat will restore the comfort settings to where you had them.
With the Sensi Smart thermostat, that distance is 3 miles. Think of it like an invisible fence that is in a 3-mile radius around your home. When you go outside the fence, your thermostat will raise or lower the temperature by 3-degrees to save you money.
How Else Do Smart Thermostats Save You Money?
Smart thermostats save you money by operating on one simple principle.
● The Less Energy You Use, The More You Save
So how do they make sure you use less energy on your heating and cooling bills? There are many ways, and some thermostats have proprietary ways, like Nest’s eco-leaf. But in general, this is how it works:
● You set a schedule for your thermostat that sets multiple temperature comfort levels. Examples of different events during a schedule day include:
o waking up
o leaving for work or school
o coming home
o going to bed
● Each event has a corresponding temperature set with it. The idea is that when you are not at home, the temperature is set higher in the summer and colder in the winter. That way, you aren’t using energy to cool or heat a home that is empty.
● Smart thermostats allow you to change these settings at will from anywhere. If you leave early, you can turn the thermostat to your away setting from the app. Likewise if you’re coming home early.
● As you learn to use the smart thermostat and all of its features, you can save up to 23 percent or more on your energy bills.
● Easy to install with step by step instructions from the app
● Named “Best Overall” smart thermostat for three years in a row (2017, 2018, and 2019)
● Flexible scheduling lets you set each day for how you need it instead of being locked into a set schedule
● Energy Star Certified
● Smart Alerts and Air Circulation option
● Programming at the thermostat requires turning off Wi-Fi
● Geofencing distance is locked at 3-miles
As an introduction to how a smart thermostat can save you money, the Sensi Smart thermostat is a great option. By using the schedules and the app, you can quickly see a real difference in your energy usage right away. Adding in other features like geofencing and Early Start will only enhance how you save money. If you’d like to read about other smart thermostats and how they can help you save money, we have reviews and buying guides here.