Your smart thermostat is designed to save you money without your having to think about it. Of course, that doesn't mean that you don't have any say over how it works and how much money you save. We'll look at tips you can use to keep your energy bills as low as possible.
How It Works
The good news is that even if you never adjusted your smart thermostat, the defaults are designed to reduce your electricity consumption at every turn. However, the more quality information you provide to the thermostat, the better off you (and the planet) will be. In addition, make sure you're allowing for some degree of trial and error in the beginning. It would be difficult for anyone to program it perfectly the first time around.
Electronic Eyes Vs. Calendar
If you have a smart thermostat with electronic eyes, it will 'know' when you're in the home and when you've left. Other systems might have you fill out a calendar so you can input everything from your work to sports practice schedules.
No matter which one you choose, the thermostat will get used to when you're gone so it can adjust the temperature and then stabilize it to your desired level; upon arrival. This back-and-forth is not so excessive that will overtax the system, but not so subtle that you won't notice a difference in energy savings.
When you pick your ideal temperatures, remember that you're dealing with contrasts and acclimatization. Even 80° indoors will feel quite cool if it's 100° outside. A setting of 68° can also be comfortable in the winter, especially when you first enter the home from the comfort of a warm car.
Movement in the Home
Electronic eyes can tell if you're at home, but they're not so advanced to program the thermostat based on what you're doing at home. On the days when you're working out at home or cleaning up a storm, the idea is to set your thermostat so that you're comfortable during all this activity. This might work to your disadvantage during the summer but can balance out during the winter. And if you happen to have a few lazy days during the warmer months, you can safely turn up the thermostat too.
How Much Can You Really Save?
In the winter, you might not notice your savings as much (usually up to about 5% savings). This is not a knock against the smart thermostat so much as it is a nod to furnace standards of the day. They're more efficient than ever, which means that you'll see less waste either way.
The real savings tend to come in the summer months. Even if you wanted to keep your home ice-cold, you can save up to 10% on bills by raising your thermostat between 7 and 10° for eight hours a day. So if you were at 78°, the thermostat will be able to go up to 88° when you're not there and still have room to subside by the time you're back home.
Smart thermometers can pay for themselves sooner than you might think. You'll also feel more comfortable and more at ease without having to remember to change important settings manually.