Pros & Cons of a Smart Thermostat

Have you ever thought about installing a smart thermostat at work? We take a look at the pros and cons of a smart thermostat in your business.

There are plenty of pros and cons to a smart thermostat, especially when it comes to installing one in your small business. A smart thermostat connects to the internet and allows you to monitor your heating on the move, using your phone, tablet, or other devices. In theory, being able to keep a constant eye on your heating helps you use less energy and save money on your gas bills.

But smart thermostats aren’t cheap to install, especially for small businesses contending with Covid-19. So are they worth it? We take a look at all the pros and cons of a smart thermostat in your business.

What is a smart thermostat?

First, the basics. A smart thermostat connects to the internet and allows you to monitor and control your heating on your phone, tablet and other devices, usually through an app or a website.

It is not the same as a smart meter, which connects to the internet and sends your meter readings to your energy supplier. A smart meter is usually installed for free by your energy supplier and can affect any energy switching you do in the future.

Unlike a smart meter, a smart thermostat is entirely under your control. You buy it yourself, arrange the installation yourself, and it has no impact on your ability to switch your business energy supplier.

The pros and cons of a smart thermostat in your business

The Pros

1. Smart thermostats allow you to automate your heating schedule

Even traditional thermostats allow you to automate your heating system, so what makes smart thermostats so special? We’ve already mentioned that smart thermostats allow you to automate your heating schedule from your phone, tablet and other devices.

But more than that, smart thermostats allow you to be much more flexible and granular in your schedule. For example, Hive allows you to adjust your heating in five-minute increments, hour by hour, day by day. That means you can set your heating to come on at 21C at 7.35am on Tuesday, and at 19C at 6.05am on Wednesday, and so on. You can really vary your schedule according to your needs, something you can’t do with a traditional thermostat.

This is a major benefit if your business operates flexibly and your team are in and out of the office at different times every day. It’s an even bigger benefit now that so many of us are working from home so much and going into the office every now and then.

2. You can monitor your energy use with a smart thermostat

Most smart thermostats provide an app that you can use to monitor your heating on your devices. These apps tell you your thermostat’s temperature setting. But did you know that some of these apps also show you the ambient temperature in your workplace, too?

This means that you can see when your office has reached the right temperature, so you know not to increase your heating (and your energy bills).

3. A smart thermostat can help you use energy more efficiently

You can be more energy efficient at work just by really making use of your smart thermostat’s flexibility, so you aren’t heating your workplace when you know there’s nobody there. But some thermostats will also send you alerts when your workplace is too warm, allowing you to turn your heating down. Some will also let you know when the thermostat detects draughts, so you can close windows and doors and stop wasting heat.

The Cons

1. Smart thermostats aren’t 100% reliable

No technology is 100% reliable and smart thermostats are no different. The functionality is entirely dependent on your internet connection, so if your internet is a bit dodgy and prone to outages, your smart thermostat won’t operate at its best.

The thermostats themselves can also catch you out. For instance, if the batteries in your thermostat die, you may not notice for a couple of days if you don’t check your app regularly.

Sometimes the device that connects to your boiler can go offline and needs to be rebooted and, again, you may not notice immediately.

It’s not a major problem, but when you get caught out on a chilly day, it can be annoying.

2. Smart thermostats are expensive to install (and don’t always save you money)

Many smart thermostats cost in excess of £200 to purchase and install. Under normal circumstances, this figure probably wouldn’t be too off-putting for most businesses. But after months of Covid-19, lockdown and difficult trading conditions, many small businesses might consider that figure beyond they reach.

Beware, too, any claims you see about smart thermostats and saving money on your bills. While they will definitely help some businesses save money by helping them to reduce their energy use, as usual the best and most effective way to make real savings on your energy bills is to switch your business energy supplier.

3. Following through on the smart thermostat information takes commitment

Smart thermostats give you a lot of information on how you use energy and how you can use it more efficiently. But following through on that information well enough to actually make savings takes some serious time and effort. That kind of time investment simply won’t make sense for every business.

Are smart thermostats worth it?

There are so many pros and cons to a smart thermostat in your business that it’s hard to say. On balance, if your business runs flexibly and you need the powerful scheduling functionality that a smart thermostat offers, it’s probably worth the investment. But if your business operates with fixed hours and your team works fixed shifts, you can probably make do with your traditional thermostat.

One thing is certain: if you’re looking to make savings on your business energy bills, the best way is to shop around and switch to a cheaper energy supplier. We’re happy to help – give us a call on 0808 164 2222 or email to book a callback from one of our business energy experts.