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What is a Z-Wave Thermostat and Why Would You Want One?

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What is a Z-Wave Thermostat and Why Would You Want One?
January 7, 2021
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What is a Z-Wave Thermostat and Why Would You Want One?

Increase your comfort and energy savings with a Z-Wave thermostat

A Z-Wave thermostat allows you to control your home’s temperature from anywhere using a smartphone. But that’s just a basic benefit of these devices. Not only can you ensure that your house is always the perfect temperature when you step inside, but you can also truly monitor and control its energy usage—meaning big savings on heating and cooling costs.

No more worrying if you left the HVAC system running full blast when you left for work or vacation; simply raise or lower the temperature remotely. You can program your thermostat to operate on a set schedule for daily use. Tap your smartphone to kick on the heat when you leave the office for a warm welcome as you arrive home on a cold winter evening—or have the thermostat automatically adjust when it senses your phone leaving work.

And when you integrate Z-Wave equipment with a Frontpoint smart home security system, all of your smart home devices are managed through a single app.

What is a Z-Wave thermostat?

Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol that enables smart home devices to “speak” to the system using radiofrequency waves. Z-Wave radio transmitters can be embedded into a wide variety of home electronics devices and systems, including “smart” thermostats.

By connecting a Z-Wave thermostat to the internet (via a central control panel, also known as a “hub”), you can control the device through a mobile app or website. Z-Wave thermostats can also interact with a range of other smart home and security devices, like motion detectors and door sensors.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of installing a Z-Wave thermostat:

Heating and cooling your home can be an expensive proposition

Air conditioning and heating account for over half of energy usage in U.S. homes (51%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By comparison, lighting accounts for only 5% and refrigeration stands at just 3%. The biggest impact you can make on your energy usage—and the most amount of money you can save—is by using these heating and cooling systems less and more efficiently.

Chart of Energy Consumption in US HomesChart of Energy Consumption in US Homes
Heating and cooling systems use the lion’s share of energy in U.S. homes. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

One “smart” way to reduce your HVAC system’s energy usage is to create different thermostat settings for times when you’re away from home. For example, you might allow your home to remain significantly cooler in the winter or warmer in the summer during the eight or more hours a day that you’re at work.

If you take an extended winter vacation, you may want to set your home’s temperature just warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing. And if you’ll be gone for several days in the summer, you can turn your air conditioning off until you return.

With a basic thermostat, you have to remember to manually change your temperature settings or turn your HVAC system off before you leave. And whatever settings you applied to your thermostat when you left the house will still be in effect when you return.

Smart thermostats enable you to walk into a warm or cool house every time you come home—and ensure that you’ve always lowered your energy usage while you’re gone. Schedules, event-triggered rules, or a manual command from the app gives you the control to use these systems far more efficiently.

Picture of House Covered in SnowPicture of House Covered in Snow
Source: Pixabay

A Z-Wave thermostat allows you to see your home’s temperature and adjust the HVAC settings from anywhere. So, if you forget to lower your thermostat’s temperature setting before leaving for work—or can’t remember if you turned the air conditioning off when went on vacation—all you need to do is pull up a mobile app and make necessary adjustments.

And if you set your home’s temperature to 62° on a cold December morning before you left for work but you’d prefer to arrive home to a balmy 72°, open the app and raise the temperature before you start your drive home.

Remotely monitoring your home’s temperature can save you money in other ways as well. If your furnace fails while you’re visiting relatives over the holidays, you will be able to see that the temperature in your home is dropping long before it’s so cold inside that your pipes freeze. You can take immediate steps to deal with the problem, potentially saving thousands of dollars in repair bills.

Z-wave thermostats can also be tied to schedules or events

Managing a Z-Wave thermostat with remote commands is very convenient, but you can also program a schedule for heating and cooling your home. This minimizes your energy costs without having to remember to check on the temperature and manually turn your thermostat up or down.

You can create schedules with different temperature settings for days and nights, weekdays, weekends, vacations, and more. Your home will always maintain the optimal temperature for the situation.

If you have a varied schedule or don’t want to bother programming a heating and cooling schedule, Z-Wave thermostats that integrate with certain smart home systems allow you to use geo-services instead. Here’s how this works: you set a geographic boundary, such as two miles from your house. When your smartphone’s GPS crosses the boundary, it communicates with the smart home hub, which in turn tells your thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature settings.

And if you integrate a Z-Wave thermostat with a Frontpoint smart home security system, you can even use the system’s Motion Sensors to trigger the thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when no motion is detected—or program the temperature to change when a Garage Door Tilt Sensor detects that you’ve left for work.

Optimize your Z-Wave thermostat settings with Smart Schedule Activity Patterns

Integrating a Z-Wave thermostat with a Frontpoint home security system provides a unique feature: Smart Schedule Activity Patterns. These patterns allow Frontpoint users to optimize their thermostat settings with data collected over time by the system.

With this insight, users can schedule their heating and cooling systems to run more efficiently—saving money on electric bills and reducing energy waste. And as we should all be aware, a lower bill isn’t the only benefit; reducing energy usage positively impacts the environment and reduces strain on our aging and overtaxed energy infrastructure.

Maximize comfort and convenience with a range of Z-Wave devices

Managing the thermostat from anywhere is incredibly convenient. But this is just one Z-Wave device that can be controlled using your smartphone or another device. You can even command a range of smart equipment with your voice using Apple’s Siri or an integrated Amazon Alexa or Google Home smart speaker.

There were more than 2,600 Z-Wave devices—from smart thermostats to smart fan controls to smart blinds—on the market as of January 2019. And since all of those devices are “Z-Wave-certified and interoperable,” they are compatible with similar equipment regardless of manufacturer. You can integrate any Z-Wave device into a Frontpoint smart home security system to experience the ultimate in convenience. Frontpoint’s Hub—the “brains” of the system—can support up to 232 different Z-Wave-enabled devices.

What is the best Z-Wave thermostat?

Here’s a checklist of important questions to ask yourself when searching for the best Z-Wave smart thermostat:

  • Is it easy to install yourself? You shouldn’t be spending more money hiring an electrician.
  • Can you set a target temperature or range based on your comfort level? Never get too hot or too cold in your home again!
  • Can you personalize your own heating/cooling schedule and preferences? Save the planet AND your hard-earned money.
  • Does it have smart humidifying mode? Take control—no more waking up with dry mouth.
  • Can you customize the notifications to your smartphone? Make sure you’re not getting inundated with unnecessary notifications or missing out on important ones.
  • Does it detect when something is wrong? You shouldn’t have to wait for your next HVAC check-up to find out.
  • Is it compatible with most HVAC systems? A good Z-Wave thermostat should work seamlessly with your current system.

Fortunately, Frontpoint’s Smart Thermostat has Z-Wave Plus technology AND checks off every box on this list. You can save money and achieve customized comfort without even thinking about manually adjusting the thermostat. Smart heating and cooling involve a lot more than the ability to change the temperature.


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