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First Step to a Connected Home

Tech  /   /  By Richard Melick

Smart homes seem to be the latest rage, and as I read about all the new and innovative products that have been released these days, I admittedly find myself yearning for that latest and greatest. I browse new home builds in Colorado, tour the communities, and take in all the technology that is being implemented direct into the homes. I am jealous as I sit in my house, built in 1993 with its manual everything, outdated this, and last-generation that. I think about selling, moving up, getting further in touch with my always connected side.

But this is still my home, where I have lived comfortably, safely, and financially smart over the last 5 years. Would giving it up for a few new features really be worth it? No, of course not. Yet I find myself wishing more and more. So what can I do?

Then I started thinking different; what if I didn’t look at my house as outdated but as a platform to implement the new tech? I may not be able to get everything under the sun, but many of the products I love are implementable into older homes with little to no modification to the existing services, and with a few tweaks, I could get all that connected lifestyle I have been wanting with a far less investment than a new home, and honestly with a bigger return on it as well. And the first place to start? My biggest money hog of them all – my heating and cooling system.

Living on the road, I have been relying on a programmable thermostat to handle the basics, but a bit more was needed to ensure efficiency. So I took the dive with the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat from Schneider Electric. Beyond just looking great, the technology behind the thermostat and its Eco IQ™ self-learning technology really caught my eye. While I wanted connectivity and control, the idea of data-driven optimization for comfort appealed as does the energy savings focus. This isn’t just the thermostat, but an energy management computer and THAT is awesome.

To say this was a simple installation and setup would be an understatement. I had my old thermostat uninstalled and the new one placed and booting up in less than 20 minutes. As my home was older and the AC was not original I did verify all my wiring connections on the furnace before assuming it was all correct, but afterward was ready to go. Simply following the easy-to-read instructions, I applied the proper connections to each point on the panel, popped the faceplate on, and got it all started. It actually took longer to connect my phone to the thermostat and get programming done than the physical installation which was equally impressive.

On the wall, this little box glows with happiness. I say happiness as I focus my energy usage on savings and minimal changes so that backlight glows green most the time. But as the temperature decided to drop 30 degrees overnight last week, I finally saw the yellow glow as it started heating the house up. It was a great notification of what was going on with the house without having to physically be next to it. And with the Wiser Air app connected, I was able to make the little adjustments necessary on the Eco IQ™ program to get the optimal comfort settings for the house.

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My favorite part was this morning, sitting at the airport, realizing I had left it in HOME mode even though I would be away for a few days. Before, it was just acceptance of the wasted energy and money, but now it was as easy as popping into the app, selecting the AWAY profile and setting when I would be returning. Simple as that and I was on my way with zero concerns.

What would a connected thermostat be without other cool, connected features? The other night as I was heading to bed I received a notification of a winter storm watch in effect for my region, and with the onboard weather forecast, I could see exactly how cold it was getting outside and what the future might hold. With that information appearing on both the thermostat and the phone app, as well as the data being used for the Eco IQ™ programming, I knew the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat was preparing for what was coming. Not only is that forward thinking, but incredibly smart as the heat no longer had to compete late to the game with sudden drops in the temperature outside, meaning more savings for me.

It’s only been a few weeks and my energy profile is still being built, but for the first time, I am excited to see my energy bill at the end of the month. I have a feeling that I am going to be impressed even more with the financial results. If someone had told me a month ago my home would have heating and air controls that were not only connected, but using data from inside and out to build an optimal profile, I would never have believed it to be true. But as I see the glowing box on my wall, I am reminded that technology is amazing, and with a product like the Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat, very obtainable as well. The Wiser Air Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is available for purchase on Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, the Microsoft Store, New Egg or BestBuy.com

This is a sponsored post. The opinions and facts are my own.

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Richard Melick
About the Author

Co-founder and Editor of FactoryTwoFour.com. I am a writer and photographer with global travel ambitions. I never shy from a new recipe, adventure, or experience. I write about what I love.

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