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What is a Wi-Fi Thermostat?

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choosing a smart thermostat

Wi-Fi Thermostats Hit the Market in Sacramento

One of the coolest things to hit the HVAC market is Wi-Fi thermostats.  As you can imagine, these are not your normal thermostats, but at the same time, they act much like the thermostats you are already used to.  You know, like the white box the new home builders hung on your wall?  Smart thermostats, or Wi-Fi thermostats, use a wireless internet connection in your home to speak with your new Wi-Fi thermostat.  Any tablet, phone, or other smart device can link right up to a smart thermostat, too, making it very usable for everyone in the family.  A lot of these Wi-Fi thermostats have a learning feature on them that recognizes your daily routine.

Choosing a “smart thermostat” is not that hard.  You can find them in the big box hardware stores, on Amazon and other electronics retail outlets online, or at the brick and mortar stores.  Fox Family Heating and Air sells these thermostats as well if you need professional installation of your new Wi-Fi thermostat.

Choosing a Model

I tell people to find one that you like to look at first.  I personally love the look of the Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi thermostat.  It’s got a vivid color display, with big numbers so you can see them clearly.  It also shows you the indoor temperature and humidity levels in the home as well as outside, using your local internet weather station.  Consumer Reports rated it the easiest to understand and use when out and about.

In a recent storm, we lost power.  Of course, the thermostat shut down too, right?  Later, when the lights came back on, the thermostat picked right back where it left off when the power went out.  That’s really convenient to not have to reprogram everything in the thermostat in situations like that.

Smart Technology

My favorite thing about a smart or Wi-Fi thermostat is that you can use it with your smart phone from wherever you are in the world, as long as there is a Wi-Fi or phone signal around.  When you’re in bed and it’s too chilly, grab your phone and adjust the temperature if you want to.  If you are leaving work and your home is 80° inside during the summer, just grab your phone and set it to 75° so it will be nice and cool for you when you get home.  That’s so convenient, isn’t it? — programming the schedule so the thermostat knows your routine, as you like it, not the thermostat’s understanding of your schedule.  For practical reasons, still, I like to be able to set up the days of the week and let it know what time I wake up, go to work, come home from work, and when I go to bed.

There are several other models on the market that also utilize wireless technology.  Some of my favorite Wi-Fi thermostats, based on aesthetics and operation, are:

  1. Honeywell 9000 Wi-Fi
  2. Honeywell IAQ Wi-Fi
  3. Ecobee 3 Lite
  4. Nest Thermostat
  5. Emerson Sensi

White Rogers, Lux, Braeburn, and Aprilaire are other suggestions for top name brand Wi-Fi thermostats.

Cost Savings: What to Expect

A lot of people think they will save a lot of money using their new Wi-Fi thermostat, but it realistically won’t save that much money.  I say this because so many people who have regular thermostats already use the programmed schedule on it.   Smart thermostats will cost more money than regular thermostats just because the technology is a little more advanced.  I would say today, in 2019, you can find a Wi-Fi thermostat for anywhere from $100 to $250.  Nest and Honeywell make up those more expensive ones, whereas lesser know names like Emerson Sensi and Lux Wi-Fi thermostats can sell it at a lower price.  Lower price is great of course, but I truly believe the display on the Honeywell 9000 has the best screen of them all, AND you can change the colors on the backscreen to match the color of your home’s interior or get crazy and light it up with fluorescent colors!  Totally fun!


Now that you know what a Wi-Fi thermostat is, maybe go out to the big box stores and check a few of them out.  Now, installing those thermostats is another topic.  But I will say this about installing these.  The majority of the problems that come with the installation of the new thermostat involve the common wire not being hooked up to the control board at the furnace and running to the C terminal on the base of the Wi-Fi thermostat, where it mounts on the wall.  Check out my video on YouTube where we discuss this common wire situation.

Professional Installation Services

I hope you get your Wi-Fi thermostat soon!  If you need any help installing yours in the Sacramento area or you can’t figure out the common wire issue, give us a call and we’ll help finish installing it for you.  Our phone number at Fox Family Heating and Air is 916-877-1577.  Thanks so much for reading this today and as always, stay here for more excellent HVAC content.

Fox Family Heating & Air serves Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, and all of Northern California. If you’re looking to schedule HVAC service in these areas, give us a call!

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