When the word ‘Smart’ seems to preface every other product these days, it can sometimes be a difficult and confusing task to decide which new products are going to offer you practical functionality in an ever-changing digital sphere of products.
“Smart Home” devices have been gaining popularity over the last number of years in the Irish market, the most popular of which is the smart thermostat. Hence, in this article we’ll compare four of the leading available models in Ireland like-for-like, to see what they do, how they can save you money and see which model offers the best value for money. These are Climote, Hive Active Heating, the Nest Learning Thermostat and Netatmo.
Let’s kick things off by taking a look at Climote...
Climote is a Smart thermostat system which as the company itself puts it, is “the digital version of the time-clock on your wall”.
With Climote you can control your home heating from anywhere via an app on your phone. Whatever the weather or wherever you are, Climote gives you the ability to reset, boost your heating or turn on your hot water from anywhere (providing you have an internet connection). You can also control these features via the Climote Hub on your wall at home (which will replace your existing timer switch) or via your computer.
Unlike the other devices listed here, Climote seems to function as is and does not offer interaction with other smart home devices.
At the initial purchase and installation stage, you’ll pay €399 for a Climote system if you buy directly from Climote. This includes a €19 fee you’ll pay for remote access for your first year.
Remote access costs €36 per year for subsequent years.
You can buy Climote directly from Climote or if you sign up for the system as an Electric Ireland or SSE Airtricity customer, you can make significant savings.
Existing Electric Ireland customers can get Climote for just €90 and a €149 installation fee but there’s even better news for customer new to Electric Ireland. Switch to the supplier and get Climote for just €90 and no installation fee!
The remote access fee is also covered for the first year of your subscription in both cases, after which you’ll need to pay €36 per year.
Sign up for any of SSE Airtricity’s two year plans and get Climote for free!
Like Climote, Hive Active Heating is a Smart thermostat system which allows the user to control both their heating and hot water tank from their smart device with a beautifully designed thermostat.
Hive Active Heating offers much the same features as Climote, giving you complete remote control over your home heating. Never heat an empty home, or come home to a warm one. Set schedules and interact with other Hive devices. The company claims that it can save you up to €120 a year on your home energy bills.
Hive Active Heating is designed to work in tandem with a whole host of other smart products in the Hive family including home security cameras, sensors as well as smart light bulbs and plugs (at an extra cost of course).
A Hive Active Heating Kit costs €299 upfront (including installation) or €199 (not including installation).
If you’d prefer not to pay the cost upfront, you can spread the cost of your Hive Active Heating over 24 months at 0% financing.
As above, the Nest Learning Thermostat allows energy users to control their home’s heating easily and remotely. Nest is one step smarter as is uses smart technology to learn what you like based on previous interactions with it to automatically adjust to different settings depending on a variety of factors.
As its name would suggest, the Nest Learning Thermostat is a learning smart device. What does that mean? Well, it means that after a few days of interacting with it, Nest will pick up on your particular preferences and create a personalised schedule for you. That’s how the Nest Learning Thermostat saves energy.
For example, Nest will learning that you like eating your breakfast at 20C so it adjusts to that temperature at 8AM and so on…
Similarly, you’re off to work. The Nest Thermostat can use sensors and your phone’s location to check if you’ve left, then sets itself to Eco Temperatures to save energy.
Since 2011, Nest claims to have saved over 8 billion kWh of energy in millions of homes worldwide.
Like Hive, the Nest Learning Thermostat is designed to work with a variety of other home smart devices including but not limited to your home appliances like your oven and fridge, smart plugs and light bulbs, home security system, pet cameras and more.
The Nest Learning Thermostat costs €249 upfront.
Customers can purchase the Nest Learning Thermostat from Nest itself, or Electric Ireland customers (both new and existing) can get it from €130 (including installation).
Netatmo is the final smart thermostat we'll discuss here, which like the others on the list, allows you to remotely control your heating from wherever you are.
The Netatmo smart thermostat can be easily and quickly connected to your home wifi and works with your existing home heating system (providing that your existing home heating system meets certain criteria).
Once installed you can control the Netatmo thermostat via your smartphone, computer or tablet.
The manufacturers claim Netatmo can help you to save up to 37% on your bills.
Netatmo features several innovative functions including an auto adapt function where the device predicts when it needs to switch on the boiler based on outside temperature.
The cost of a new thermostat with installation from the manufacturers is €249.
You can purchase Netatmo directly from the manufacturers but you can get it and installation for free if you sign up to selected offers as a new customer with Energia. You can give Energia a call on 1850 300 700 for more info on these offers and the eligibility criteria.
Trying to stay green? A smart thermostat could be just the product for you. Any one of the products mentioned above, when used effectively, should help you keep your energy consumption down (not to mention save you money on your bills!).
It’s also very tempting to invest in smart home devices when we see energy suppliers like Electric Ireland, SSE Airtricity and Bord Gáis Energy partnering with them, making for even greater savings as we’ve seen above.
As always, here at bonkers.ie we advise checking out all options thoroughly before making any commitments.
Here are some other ways you can lower your energy bills:
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