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Heating and air conditioning systems have become much more efficient in recent years, but an efficient HVAC system isn’t the only factor that helps customers save money on their utility bill. Besides having adequate insulation and ensuring proper sealing of doors and windows, a smart thermostat can help make a significant difference in boosting energy efficiency.

With the growing interest in smart home devices, consumers are looking to smart thermostats — also sometimes referred to as setback thermostats, programmable thermostats or Wi-Fi thermostats — as a way to ensure energy-efficiency in the home during summer and winter. We’ve rounded up four key energy-saving features of smart thermostats that can help you explain the value of adding one to a customer’s home.

1. Wi-Fi connectivity

One of the most basic, yet important, features in a thermostat is Wi-Fi connectivity. A Wi-Fi thermostat connects to the customer’s home network and the internet, which allows it to be controlled remotely from a mobile device like a smartphone or tablet through a mobile app. Certain models also let a user have control through a web browser. This gives the user much more flexibility in control versus a traditional model. For example, if a user forgets to adjust the temperature to a more efficient setting after leaving home for work, they can adjust it from virtually anywhere without having to go back home.

2. Automatic scheduling

Many Wi-Fi thermostats can learn the user’s heating and cooling habits based on their schedule. These models notice patterns based on how temperatures and changes are made over a few days. The thermostat learns what temperatures the user prefers and how the user’s home heats up or cools down based on environmental conditions and times of day, and then makes these changes automatically. A model with this type of feature is commonly one of the anchor products of a smart home.

3. Home/away assistance

Home/away assistance, or geofencing, is a feature that uses a smartphone’s location services feature to communicate to the thermostat when a user has entered or exited a virtual perimeter around the user’s home. Once the preferred home and away temperatures have been set, the thermostat gets triggered to adjust the temperature accordingly when the user enters or leaves the perimeter. This helps save energy and eliminates the need to manually change settings.

4. Usage reporting

Usage reporting is another practical feature that can help increase energy efficiency in a user’s home. Depending on the thermostat model, this feature lets users see historical views of how often the HVAC system is running, how long it takes the system to reach a target temperature and what the outside temperature is during those time periods. This gives the user a better idea of how outside temperature conditions impact the system, and how they can adjust their settings to improve energy savings.

Other notable features

Additional common energy-efficient features in many thermostats include vacation scheduling capabilities, air filter replacement reminders and power cycle alerts that let the user know if the system is not acting normally.

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Tips for selling smart thermostats

Look for cross-selling or upselling opportunities. If you’re installing other smart home devices, and the customer doesn’t already have a smart thermostat, take the opportunity to cross-sell a model that will complement their other smart products. If they already have a smart thermostat installed, consider the possibility of upselling to an upgraded or newer model with improved features.

Determine customers’ energy concerns. Ask your customers if they have any concerns regarding energy efficiency in their home or if they’ve noticed any spikes in their utility bill. If you see that they’re looking for ways to reduce their energy costs, offer a smart thermostat as an option and as part of an overall energy-reducing plan.

Offer different options depending on needs and budget. Plan to offer three or four different thermostat models so that you can always find the best fit for their needs and desired price range. You can also suggest three different options categorized in a good, better and best format, and let your customer decide which one is the right fit for them.

Keep up with the latest trends and product knowledge. Knowing the latest features, trends or products will ensure you can communicate the value of a smart thermostat. ADI offers a wide range of content and training opportunities to keep you informed and up-to-date on smart home devices, from product guides to free webinars.

Go the extra mile. After installation, take the opportunity to provide your customers with top-level service by offering to demonstrate in detail how their smart thermostat works and everything it can do for them. You can even offer a guarantee on your installation or a technical assistance program as an added recurring revenue opportunity.

Looking for other smart home devices to add to a residential install? Visit our Smart Home Guide to explore how to design a connected home.

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