Spending the winter in a warmer climate is far better than being in frigid New York, but those same freezing temperatures you’re fleeing can damage your home. Snowbirds need a way to monitor and protect their homes from anywhere and a smart thermostat is a fantastic option.
What Is a Smart Thermostat?
A classic thermostat relies on manual controls to raise or lower the temperature. Programmable thermostats follow a schedule you set such as raising it before you wake up in the morning, lowering while you’re at work, and then increasing again a half hour before you come home from work. But what happens if you deviate from your usual routine? You’re wasting energy with higher temperatures when you’re not home. That’s where a smart thermostat provides more flexibility.
Smart thermostats start off similar to a programmable thermostat, but after a short period of time, it learns your patterns and habits so you don’t have to set them by hand or change any programming. It also has an internet connection that allows you to control it remotely and receive information such as weather forecasts. Smart thermostats pay attention to the time, day of the week, and your patterns along with sensor data to make saving energy and staying comfortable easy. Manual override is still possible if circumstances demand it. Many smart thermostats even come with movement sensors to detect if you’re home or not, allowing it to turn down the temperature to save money and energy while you’re gone.
Even better, smart thermostats let you alter settings remotely through your smartphone, tablet or laptop. So no matter where you are and no matter how your plans change, you can raise or lower your smart thermostat accordingly, such as if you get stuck at work or in heavy traffic. Just delay when your heat goes back up in preparation for your return.
How Do Smart Thermostats Help Snowbirds?
The scary part about being in a warmer climate during winter is wondering what’s going on with your home in the north. In the past, homeowners had to guess the safest temperature, hope it was right, and that excessively cold temperatures didn’t make things worse.
With a smart thermostat like the Lennox iComfort thermostat we sell and install at Tragar, you can completely monitor your home’s temperature and the smart thermostat’s sensors allow you to be more confident about that information. Is the weather unseasonably warm? You can change your designated setting remotely or the smart thermostat can be set do this on its own from learned behavior. This will depend on how long you’ve had it and whether it’s learned your preferences. Is an Arctic blast coming? You can turn up the heat to ensure your pipes don’t freeze. And if you have multiple heat zones, you can adjust them separately so you can set the temperature higher in the part of your house that gets less sun or is more exposed to wind.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
What should you do if you don’t yet have a smart thermostat and a pipe freezes? Act quickly – or have someone do it for you if you’re away – and you can avoid a lot of damage.
- Turn the Heat up Higher
- Use fans to direct heat into the room or area with the frozen pipes
- If exposed, warm frozen pipes with a blow dryer
Infrared heat lamps can also be useful. When faced at a wall that contains the frozen pipe(s), an infrared heat lamp can direct heat at that wall without heating the air in front of it. This means less heat loss and more going to the wall to thaw the frozen pipe(s).
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes:
- Keep your house at a proper temperature
- Open cabinets and vanities so warm air can get to the pipe
- Remove garden hoses in the winter, even if they’re “frost proof”
Water sensors in your basement, in the room with your hot water heater or under cabinets are also smart for snowbirds. Modern versions of such devices are connected to the internet so you can check them remotely whereas old models just beeped, making them useless for those away from home.
Tragar Can Keep Your House Safe & Warm
Tragar is your winter heating ally. Talk to us about installing smart thermostats, ductless heating, radiant heating, and boiler heating systems. In addition to these services, we also offer furnace upgrades, repairs and maintenance, oil delivery, BioHeat, and much more. Contact us today.