Smart Thermostats

 

Several years ago, Jonathan replaced the basic thermostat in our home with a nice programmable thermostat. At the time, Consumer Reports was recommending the Venstar ColorTouch, so we went with that. Over the first year he fine-tuned the program schedule, and since then it’s worked really well.

Now I see there’s a new class of “smart” thermostats (e.g., Nest, Ecobee) on the market that use occupancy sensors and more sophisticated software to automatically manage the home temperature.

We’re still happy with the Venstar, but curious to hear what others think about the newer smart thermostats. How well do they work? Do you see significant advantages over a programmable thermostat?

~Angela

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"Smart" thermostats.

Our thermostat is some 25+years old but is still programmable. We can set an "away" period where it will hold some set temperature for a set duration (we have used up to 3 weeks) and then return to the program. So you do not need a wi-fi set up for that function.
This is not a put down of other comments, really just a post to keep my windmill alive!!

If you forget to turn it own before you leave

dougcutler wrote:

Our thermostat is some 25+years old but is still programmable. We can set an "away" period where it will hold some set temperature for a set duration (we have used up to 3 weeks) and then return to the program. So you do not need a wi-fi set up for that function.
This is not a put down of other comments, really just a post to keep my windmill alive!!

That is like the programmable one we had. It was good. But in our old age it is nice to be able to look on our phone and see if we did turn it down. We forget to turn it on standby sometimes when we leave so it is nice to be able to check if we did.

Also, once we were away and the weather changed from what they were predicting and we logged in and turned the thermostat a little higher because of the freeze. Ours tells us what the temperature is outside too.

Just whatever your needs are is if you need a smart one. I think that a lot are like me and just like to have one because it is available. I do like technology and almost always want the next item to come out. smile

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

I see you do need your windmill back

dougcutler wrote:

This is not a put down of other comments, really just a post to keep my windmill alive!!

The windmill does have a way of hiding from us sometimes.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

So True..

mgarledge wrote:
dougcutler wrote:

This is not a put down of other comments, really just a post to keep my windmill alive!!

The windmill does have a way of hiding from us sometimes.

It does like to hide on all of us!!

I have been thinking of getting a Wi-Fi one.. Also something to turn on or off lights, etc.. and even a doorbell with camera So much stuff out there!

--
Bobkz - Garmin Nuvi 3597LMTHD/2455LMT/C530/C580- "Pain Is Fear Leaving The Body - Semper Fidelis"

Front door lock

I want a lot of the smart stuff too.
Front door lock
Camera for gate
Light switch
Just to name a few.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Geek

mgarledge wrote:

I want a lot of the smart stuff too.
Front door lock
Camera for gate
Light switch
Just to name a few.

Mary, you are such a gadget geek razz (Like no one has ever accused me of that exclaim )

--
Alan - Android Auto, DriveLuxe 50LMTHD, Nuvi 3597LMTHD, Oregon 550T, Nuvi 855, Nuvi 755T, Lowrance Endura Sierra, Bosch Nyon

Yes I am and sometimes it gets bad

alandb wrote:
mgarledge wrote:

I want a lot of the smart stuff too.
Front door lock
Camera for gate
Light switch
Just to name a few.

Mary, you are such a gadget geek razz (Like no one has ever accused me of that exclaim )

I want every gadget I see. My husband is easy going with me most of the time he lets me have them. He does put his foot down if he thinks it is something I won't use.

So far the only thing I don't want is a watch. I thought I did until my daughter bought my husband a cheap Fit watch to see if he like it. He used it once and gave it to me. I used it once. It didn't do much and not something I wanted to use. I don't know if the watches do any more than that so I haven't looked at them since.

--
Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)

Note to Arizonans with APS

For those in Arizona getting their electric power through APS, I see that APS offers a $75 rebate check by mail when purchasing a qualifying smart thermostat. See:

aps.com/thermostat

Security and this thread

This thread has had a few comments about security and potential hacking of smart devices, etc.

I just read an article online with several good tips. The one I'd never have considered is to have all smart devices connect to the internet through your wireless router's Guest network so that a hacker of a smart device will not have access to more important devices like laptops, printers, etc.:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/6-key-tips-for-keep...

Have a nice one..

that came with the new heat pump and furnace. Can use wifi so you can control via smart phone. Never followed through to hook it up.

I sometimes change

I sometimes change temperature right from my bed on my Nest thermostat using my phone. There are nights when you feel too cold or warm and need to change the temperature. So not only from distance but some time even from bed it is so convenient to change temperature at night. Rather than coming down to ground floor to change temperature, do it from your bed. I know some guys will laugh at it but believe me it is convenience.

--
Iphone XR, Drivesmart 61,Nuvicam, Nuvi3597

To me just having the

To me just having the ability to control the thermostat from your smartphone makes it very convenient and worthwhile.

If I want to change the temp

I do not want to find my phone. I have a 7 day Honeywell programmable thermostat and I just push to buttons to temporarily change the temp. I have hot water heat system with a boiler and internal hot water. I just increase the temp right before I jump into the shower, then reset it when I'm done.

I have a heated vent/fan in my bathroom

GeoC320 wrote:

I do not want to find my phone. I have a 7 day Honeywell programmable thermostat and I just push to buttons to temporarily change the temp. I have hot water heat system with a boiler and internal hot water. I just increase the temp right before I jump into the shower, then reset it when I'm done.

No need to mess with the thermostat when showering. grin

--
Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

how about this

CraigW wrote:

I've always used a dumb thermostat and feel that the way I use it saves as much or more than a trained smart one

I haven't got the time nor expertise to install a hot water heater (I know it's one of the simplest things a homeowner can do and who doesn't like to save money)

I had a choice, for the same price, 12 yr. / 40 gal., there was a pilotless one with wifi, which I didn't go for.

I am used to that if for some reason power is lost, we still have hot water, and can shower cook whatever with flashlights. I didn't want to go pilotless, and I don't need my hot water heater on wifi. I believe it can be potentially $12 more per year, to run that pilot light. Do I want to save, of course, but I went with the traditional for the above reasons (we're talking about $600 for the heaters)....

Some need to

camerabob wrote:

No need to mess with the thermostat when showering.

Speak for yourself. The genius who designed my house put the tub and shower for the master bedroom out of the end of a long skinny finger. I keep a thermometer right over the tub and it can be easily very low 60s when the bedroom is a much more habitable temperature. Fortunately running the bedroom wing furnace at stage II heat rate for about 15 minutes makes the experience a bit less challenging.

--
personal GPS user since 1992

haha

archae86 wrote:
camerabob wrote:

the bedroom wing

haha my buddy has a 10,500 sq ft home, and he too says it's challenging to heat and cool it

I hear that

I have a double split. I have to heat and cool the entire thing. There really isn't a single floor I could do... Happily, I'm about 7500 square feet shy of your friend.

--
Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

I'm waiting for the Hackers

all these "Smart" phone gizmo's, hackers will have a ball turning things on and off, lol.

How does a heated vent

temporarily increase your water temperature?

Nest introduced two factor

Nest introduced two factor authentication now. This makes hackers more difficult to hack.

--
Iphone XR, Drivesmart 61,Nuvicam, Nuvi3597

Ahhhhh....

rookie8155 wrote:

Nest introduced two factor authentication now. This makes hackers more difficult to hack.

But the NSA & CIA still want to know how hot it is in your house!razz

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

Even worse, ...

BarneyBadass wrote:
rookie8155 wrote:

Nest introduced two factor authentication now. This makes hackers more difficult to hack.

But the NSA & CIA still want to know how hot it is in your house!razz

Even worse, FSociety of Mr. Robot TV series fame, will take over your house as happened to the general counsel from E Corp. Believe me, you don't want FSociety to hack your home. cool

http://www.theverge.com/2016/7/13/12178410/mr-robot-season-2...

Hold Function

dougcutler wrote:

Our thermostat is some 25+years old but is still programmable. We can set an "away" period where it will hold some set temperature for a set duration (we have used up to 3 weeks) and then return to the program. So you do not need a wi-fi set up for that function.
This is not a put down of other comments, really just a post to keep my windmill alive!!

Our thermostat is programmable, but does not have an Away function. We just set a temperature and hit Hold. When we return, we release the Hold. It takes a bit of time to get warm or cool depending on the weather, but no big deal.

WiFi thermostats don't have enough security for me to risk some having some hacker turn off my heat in the middle of winter.

--
NUVI2555LMT, NUVI350

But...But...But...

GPSgeek wrote:

WiFi thermostats don't have enough security for me to risk some having some hacker turn off my heat in the middle of winter.

Frozen pipes in the house are so much FUN and cause enough excitement for a year!! twisted

--
Never argue with a pig. It makes you look foolish and it anoys the hell out of the pig!

my feeling

is that the less things that can be hacked, the better. As mentioned, does anybody really need a hot water heater that's connected to wireless, and accessible to a smartphone, or is it more keeping up with the Jones? People complain when things are hacked--like a couple years ago when people were talking creepy to babies through the cams. Parents were horrified.

We seem to be in this mindset now where the more things we can connect to the internet, the better. Just look at the allegations over the last election.

I get it, with air conditioning, when it's properly sized, you can't simply come home when it's 100 F, turn it on, and expect to be comfortable within even 3-4 hours. So you leave the a/c at a temp that is higher than normal. my .02.

Most of us are not programmers, so we have to take someone else's word that a device is secure. Usually, people who write things leave a back door for them to get in, for legitimate reasons. That back door is usually how others get in, for illegitimate reasons.

Maybe

johnnatash4 wrote:
CraigW wrote:

I've always used a dumb thermostat and feel that the way I use it saves as much or more than a trained smart one

snip

I didn't want to go pilotless, and I don't need my hot water heater on wifi. I believe it can be potentially $12 more per year, to run that pilot light. Do I want to save, of course, but I went with the traditional for the above reasons (we're talking about $600 for the heaters)....

If you use propane then your figure of $12/yr is probably right. But if you use natural gas your figure is off by about $12/yr. There is a monthly minimum charge on your bill with includes more gas per month than the pilot light uses.

Now my windmill should start spinning again.

Watch your microwave!

BarneyBadass wrote:
rookie8155 wrote:

Nest introduced two factor authentication now. This makes hackers more difficult to hack.

But the NSA & CIA still want to know how hot it is in your house!razz

Experts are now recommending that we cover our microwave oven door windows with contact paper or black tape, since it was recently announced by the government that hackers can turn your oven into a camera and spy on you and your food. grin

LOL

johnc wrote:

Experts are now recommending that we cover our microwave oven door windows with contact paper or black tape, since it was recently announced by the government that hackers can turn your oven into a camera and spy on you and your food. grin

Thanks for the laugh!

What????

phillyguy19020 wrote:
johnc wrote:

Experts are now recommending that we cover our microwave oven door windows with contact paper or black tape, since it was recently announced by the government that hackers can turn your oven into a camera and spy on you and your food. grin

Thanks for the laugh!

Do you mean its not true???

Can anybody tell me how to get this contact paper off my door?

I has to be true.

It's not April first and you read it on the Internet!

--
Striving to make the NYC Metro area project the best.

So it must be true then.

Because whats posted on the internet is always true!

camerabob wrote:

It's not April first and you read it on the Internet!

--
Nuvi 2460LMT.

don't follow

jackj180 wrote:
johnnatash4 wrote:
CraigW wrote:

I've always used a dumb thermostat and feel that the way I use it saves as much or more than a trained smart one

snip

I didn't want to go pilotless, and I don't need my hot water heater on wifi. I believe it can be potentially $12 more per year, to run that pilot light. Do I want to save, of course, but I went with the traditional for the above reasons (we're talking about $600 for the heaters)....

If you use propane then your figure of $12/yr is probably right. But if you use natural gas your figure is off by about $12/yr. There is a monthly minimum charge on your bill with includes more gas per month than the pilot light uses.

Now my windmill should start spinning again.

Cliff notes: Two identical hot water heaters, first has a pilot, second is wireless, AND pilotless. The latter uses less energy. I didn't want the latter, because I'm used to having a pilot light, and hot water, when the power goes out. And, I don't need wireless.

The $12 more per year is the delta between the two energyguide yellow stickers, on the respective hot water heaters.

Ours says $263. The assumption is 242 therms @ $1.09. Of course there is a monthly minimum, what does that have to do with the price of tea? Whether or not the FTC uses the correct assumption on their bright yellow sticker, that is only to be removed by the consumer, is not really my concern. For this amount, I'll just look at the yellow label with the giant numbers....

Try to find an exclusive WiFi channel

My new Ring Pro video doorbell was frequently failing to broadcast live video feeds. I downloaded the Netgear Router Genie program and discovered that my neighbor's AT&T cable system was sharing channel 11 with my router. I switched to a channel no one in range was using and it appears to have solved my problem.

--
Zumo 550 & Zumo 665 My alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.

Or, Or Maybe

pwohlrab wrote:

Because whats posted on the internet is always true!

camerabob wrote:

It's not April first and you read it on the Internet!

Or maybe it's the russians fault! Yeah that's it ....must be that! razz

--
If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem quickly resembles a nail. (Maslow's Hammer)

WiFi Thermostats are useful

My Emerson WiFi programmable thermostat (Sensi brand) allows me to control my HVAC from the upstairs bedroom, in the kitchen or in the car. When we leave town, I can check that the heat is still working and the pipes aren't going to freeze. I can stop the automatic program when we leave on vacation and set the furnace to a tolerable setting for the houseplants. As we head home, I can turn the heat back to auto and it will be warm and toasty for my girl when we arrive home.

--
Zumo 550 & Zumo 665 My alarm clock is sunshine on chrome.
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