When it comes to using smart thermostat data to regulate the boilers and other heating/cooling systems, most of us are barely scratching the surface. During the recent surge of boiler installations that come with a Nest thermostat or other smart thermostat models, we’ve noticed that most consumers will pick the most convenient mode that requires the least effort from them.
Although the new generation of thermostats are supposed to be smart, you won’t get the maximum benefit out of them unless you learn how to use smart thermostat data to help you save even more money.
Of course, since smart thermostats are connected to the internet, there’s a lot of data exchange happening. Although it’s anonymous, the manufacturer receives data from your household and then uses the data to improve their hardware and software.
Would you be able to use this data to make your own improvements? Yes, and you definitely should!
To correctly optimise your heating system using data from a smart thermostat you need the following:
- A thermostat that allows you access to your data
- At least a year’s worth of temperature data collected from multiple temperature sensors
- Access to weather data
Without knowing what’s happening outside, you won’t be able to use the data in a meaningful way. You can download weather charts from openweathermap.org and most households will find that their free option is good enough. To dig even deeper, you might also want to add your electrical demand data at 15 minute intervals. If you have a fairly new electric meter, this should be easily achievable – speak to your utility company. Then you can start to look at demand vs. temperature, time of day and other conditions.
If you’re using NEST thermostat, you can download your historical data from this link and then use Excel to add weather data, occupancy records and other bits as desired. Or if you consider yourself a geek and you’re looking for a more sophisticated solution, check out this Nest data logger.
If you’re away from home for longer periods of time, your best bet of saving on energy bills is to turn the temperature down to an optimal minimum, however, what is this optimal minimum and when do you start running a risk of getting your pipes frozen and burst? The most obvious answer is to install another temperature sensor next to the weakest place in your piping system. Only then you can confidently play with the temperature knowing that the pipes won’t freeze.
Treat your smart thermostat data as a goldmine because once you have accumulated the data, then you can really start optimising your heating system and saving serious amounts of cash on your fuel bills.