Freelance contributor, TechHiveDec 3, 2015 3:00 am PST
Nest Labs pioneered the smart thermostat that knows when you’re home and when you’re gone. But like most thermostats—smart or not—the Nest only monitors the temperature in the immediate area where the thermostat is mounted. If the thermostat isn’t installed in an optimal location, your HVAC system won’t keep you as comfortable as it could.
One solution is to mount remote sensors in different rooms that relay the temperature in that room to the thermostat. This is the tack that the security and connected-home service provider Alarm.com has taken with its Smart Thermostat, which the company began offering in May 2015.
Alarm.com is a software-as-a-service company that supports large and small connected-home service providers, including Frontpoint Security and Link Interactive. These companies purchase hardware and services from Alarm.com and resell or rent them to their own customers.
When the sensors are combined with Alarm.com’s Smart Thermostat, you can create schedules that will monitor the temperatures in different rooms at different times during the day. You could set it up to monitor the temperature in the kitchen or living room during the day, for instance, and switch to a sensor in the bedroom at night to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.
Alarm.com’s Smart Thermostat can also monitor motion, door/window, and other sensors in your home to learn when you’re home and when you’re away, and it can use geo-fencing technology to turn your HVAC system off when you leave your home and back on when you return.
Why this matters: Smart thermostats are all the rage, but many of them lack the ability to measure temperature other than where the thermostat is located. Ecobee launched its own smart thermostat ($249) with remote sensor capabilities in September 2014, and the $200 Nest Learning Thermostat will work with the $299 WallyHome Sensor system. Alarm.com’s Smart Thermostat can operate in concert with an entire connected-home/home-security system.
The downside to Alarm.com’s solution, on the other hand, is that you must acquire that entire connected-home/home-security system and the monthly service plan that goes with it—you can’t buy just the thermostat and call it a day.
For those already invested in an Alarm.com-supported system, the Smart Thermostat sounds like a good product if it’s price right. You’ll need to query your dealer to answer that question, as you can’t acquire the hardware directly from Alarm.com.