Wifi Thermostat??

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marc515
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Wifi Thermostat??

Post by marc515 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:31 am

I've been looking at Wifi Thermostats, and so far the ecobee3 looks to be about the best.

The main concerns I have is reliability, and longevity; I'm wondering if these newer smart thermostats will last as long as the less-smart thermostats.

What are you guys using, and how do you like it?

Thank you
Last edited by marc515 on Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

NorthDakota
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by NorthDakota » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:49 am

I have had two nests in my house for the last year and have been very happy with them. The app and online access are top notch based on my experience.
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PatSea
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by PatSea » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:17 am

I have a RadioThermostat wifi stat. It was one of the first wifi stats to come on the market. It works great. We travel a lot so it's easy to set back the temperature, then set back to program on way home. We spend weeks in Florida each winter and it provides great peace of mind being able to monitor my Ohio homes indoor temperature. I'm sure we have saved energy cost with it, but it is difficult to quantify.

PowDay
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by PowDay » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:16 am

I have a Nest, and love having a wifi thermostat, but would not recommend paying the premium for the Nest brand. With baseboard hot water heat, the warm up times are just to long to use any of the "smart" functions. I've turned them all off and simply use it as a web accessible programmable thermostat.

The big benefit to the ecobee is the remote temp sensor.

jstrazzere
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by jstrazzere » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:47 am

I have a Nest for my vacation home. I'm happy so far.

One criterion that was important in my particular situation was my desire to use the current 2-wire setup, rather than having to run an additional wire to power the thermostat. That was a requirement for all the other internet-connected thermostats I examined at the time. But Nest, while more expensive, had a unique solution to that requirement, which made it the right choice for me.

It was extremely simple to install. I'm moderately handy, but still appreciate simplicity.
It lets me check in remotely using a browser or using my phone to see if the system is functioning and read the current temperature.
It also lets me adjust the temperature remotely. I have in-floor radiant heat which takes a long time to come up to temp. Setting it remotely allows me to get there and have it already warm and toasty.

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powermega
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by powermega » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:11 am

I'm using a Honeywell thermostat. I'm very happy with it and love being able to tell the thermostat to return to its normal schedule when I'm on my way back home after a long weekend where I turned the heat down. The house is nice and comfy when I arrive.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

PowDay
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by PowDay » Thu Jan 15, 2015 11:15 am

Be careful with two wire installs, though Nest claims compatibility, many furnaces can not tolerate a leaching power this way resulting in the main furnace circuit boards frying. I decided this gamble wasn't worth it and ran new wiring before I installed my nest.

jstrazzere wrote:I have a Nest for my vacation home. I'm happy so far.

One criterion that was important in my particular situation was my desire to use the current 2-wire setup, rather than having to run an additional wire to power the thermostat. That was a requirement for all the other internet-connected thermostats I examined at the time. But Nest, while more expensive, had a unique solution to that requirement, which made it the right choice for me.
.

RollTheHard6
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by RollTheHard6 » Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:55 pm

I have a Honeywell also and am very happy with it. I considered the Nest, but it seemed too concerned with "learning" our patterns/schedules and adjusting itself accordingly. My family operates variable schedules, coming and going at all sorts of times every day, so that technology wouldn't really work for us.

We bought this one instead:http://www.honeywellstore.com/store/pro ... gQod7ZQAzg
And really like it, but would now like to install a whole house humidifier. The install service places I've called said they'll replace our (very new) thermostat as part of their process. Does anyone know if these smart therms can be used with a humidifier? Our gas heat makes the house way too dry, but I really down want to go back to, or pay for, a dumbed down thermostat.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:37 pm

I suspect a Nest will last longer than the WiFi standard it requires. E.g. at some not too distant time we will all be told to stop using 802.11n because it has a series security hole/wastes radio spectrum/is not complient with new rules/makes you look like a fossil. At that point your Nest is useless.

PatSea
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by PatSea » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:54 pm

I just installed a new Lennox furnace and A/C with their whole house humidifier. I was able to continue to use my RadioThermostat wifi stat. The humidifier has its own control on the unit. I cannot control the humidifier from my stat, but that's not an issue because I rarely change the humidifier setting.

mchop
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by mchop » Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:59 pm

In researching my own issue today about my gas fireplace - i stumbled upon a blog by a guy named Steve Jenkins and he has a pretty extensive review on the ecobee3 if interested.

TravelGeek
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:16 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:I suspect a Nest will last longer than the WiFi standard it requires. E.g. at some not too distant time we will all be told to stop using 802.11n because it has a series security hole/wastes radio spectrum/is not complient with new rules/makes you look like a fossil. At that point your Nest is useless.
No doubt at some point in the future WiFi will become obsolete.

But think about the many billions of devices that are being used every day that use WiFi. Laptops, tablets, phones, Rokus, refrigerators, picture frames, Teslas, door locks, airplanes (with GoGo)... do you really think there will be a "rule" forcing everyone to stop using WiFi technology in the foreseeable future?

A Nest is a $299 item. If I really had to replace all my Wifi devices, that would be a drop in the bucket.

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bottlecap
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by bottlecap » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:40 pm

I looked into this and went with the Honeywell that goes for about $95. It is a great Thermostat. It doesn't learn your behavior, but it does learn when it needs to fire up to get the house at the right scheduled temperature. It doesn't have the fancy feedback of the Nest or EcoBee, but it is wireless, is more reliable, more accurate and a hell of a lot cheaper when you need two.

My "techie" sister loved her Nest for about 6 months, then became disillusioned and sold it. I still like the Honeywell.

JT

tbradnc
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by tbradnc » Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:22 pm

ecobee Smart SI here. Love it.

bbqguru
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by bbqguru » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:16 pm

We have a Sensi wi-fi thermostat. Love everything about it. Was fairly inexpensive ~100 bucks and easy to install and program. Wouldn't trade it for anything.

miles2go
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by miles2go » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:24 pm

PatSea wrote:I have a RadioThermostat wifi stat. It was one of the first wifi stats to come on the market. It works great. We travel a lot so it's easy to set back the temperature, then set back to program on way home. We spend weeks in Florida each winter and it provides great peace of mind being able to monitor my Ohio homes indoor temperature. I'm sure we have saved energy cost with it, but it is difficult to quantify.
I also have radiothermostats. The apps from the iPhone and iPad occasionally are a little buggy but the convenience of wifi and ability to control from anywhere are great. Also, no monthly fees with these unlike some others. Recently they added ability to view runtimes from within the apps which is interesting.
...and [many] miles to go before I retire.

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praxis
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by praxis » Sat Jan 17, 2015 3:49 pm

[url]http://www.bayweb.com/url]

We leave our mountain cabin's $200 Bay Web thermostat at 45 degrees. Our plumber installed it on our American Standard furnace 3 years ago. It works great on my iPhone or laptop and texts me whenever any of my parameters are reached. I drain our pipes and shut our main valve, but at 9000' it often reaches subzero for a week or two and would break pipes and tubing (dishwasher, ice maker, on-demand water heaters, sink sprayer) if our furnace went off. Being able to adjust the temp on our way to the cabin is convenient but checking that the system is on is our main advantage.

We were in the cabin last week and the furnace started blowing cold air. I reset the furnace and it came on and didn't happen again. Our plumber said that propane is troublesome at high altitudes and the system will shut off if the ignitors don't ignite all three rods after the third try. We opted to order a backup Rinnai 35,000 BTU propane heater and set it at 40 degrees. It's 12"X20"X40" and fairly unobtrusive in the great room. If our main furnace goes out for reasons other than power or propane outage, the backup will kick on and run at 40. That's still enough time to get a service call before the temp drops low enough to freeze the pipes.

[url]http://www.diycontrols.com/p-6020-inter ... my4ASA/url]

Before the Bay Web, I used a $100. non-wifi, telephone-based Canadian product called Freeze Alarm that called 3 numbers in turn when a parameter is reached. I got tired of being warned at 3AM that my backup 9 volt battery was getting low, but it always worked as promised.

Cash
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by Cash » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:14 pm

Like others in the thread, I bought a Honeywell last year:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FLZ ... UTF8&psc=1

I have had zero issues so far and it is fully programmable by an app on my phone. I considered Nest, but decided that I am too much of a control freak to rely on Nest to determine my comfort level. I much prefer to set my own heating/cooling schedules based on the seasons and our presence at home.

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just frank
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by just frank » Sat Jan 17, 2015 4:43 pm

I had a nest for a couple years, and found its function to be poor from a comfort perspective (large temperature swing) and that the smart and energy-saving features like 'auto-away' simply did not work as advertized. I abandoned it for a Ecobee SmartSi a year ago, and been much happier.

Right now the Ecobee3 is the best, and costs the same as the nest and has a remote sensor....to put in the area you spend the most time.

Ecobee has been around and doing wifi stats for a few more years than nest. Nest was notorious for hardware failures related to using FETs in their output circuits instead of old-fashioned relays. The FETs would often fail, and unattended houses would freeze or get overheated. The problem has been traced to certain HVAC system that are too 'hard' for the nests FETs to handle....those users who get their nest replaced will then have the new one fail the same way shortly thereafter. Some folks with more sensitive systems, like heat pumps, have had their system damaged and require replacement after these malfunctions.

That said, 98% have had no problems with nest at all.

Ecobee3 is still new, but I have not heard of the same sort of problems. I had an e-chat with their CEO and he said that they DID use FETs in the ecobee3, but they had studied the nest problem thoroughly, and over-engineered their outputs so they have no concerns about them being a problem.

Long story short, for the same money, get the Ecobee3. The website and app is at least as good and the energy data logging to the cloud is much more detailed and useful.

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by bmsuter » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:00 pm

Cash wrote:Like others in the thread, I bought a Honeywell last year:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FLZ ... UTF8&psc=1

I have had zero issues so far and it is fully programmable by an app on my phone. I considered Nest, but decided that I am too much of a control freak to rely on Nest to determine my comfort level. I much prefer to set my own heating/cooling schedules based on the seasons and our presence at home.
+1. I've had mine for about 8 months. Works great,

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This is not the 1940s

Post by davebarnes » Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:40 pm

Technology changes rapidly.
Be mentally prepared to replace everything every 7 years and you will be OK.
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by LeeMKE » Sun Jan 18, 2015 12:49 am

I've had 6 Nests now. Love them.

The motion detection is good enough to change the program, I hardly ever have to turn them to the away settings because it notices pretty reliably. I love being able to check the temp when we are away and turn it up on the way back home.

I also like the humidity monitor and filter replacement monitors. Mine have paid for themselves in 10 - 18 months, depending on the setting. The worst/best return was in a conference room that had a wall of glass. Left alone, it was always too hot or too cold and took too long to come to temp. With the Nest, we could turn it on 30 minutes before a meeting and it would shut itself down once people left the room. It only took two weeks to learn the regular meetings and start adjusting the temp in anticipation without pre-programming. That room and it's next door room were costing us plenty in utilities and the Nest both slashed the bill AND allowed us to ditch those nuisance traps that lock up the thermostat so no one can make adjustments.
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by obgraham » Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:46 pm

Just last month I installed a Honeywell wifi thermostat. Mostly chose that one because the prior was a Honeywell, and it was literally a 5 minute install -- unscrew 5 wires, mount the new one in the old holes, and reattach the 5 wires.

It works very well. We are away a lot, in fact just about to leave for 2 months. I can check the house temperature via the simple app, and cancel the hold to warm up the place just before I return.

I don't want a machine trying to learn my temperature needs -- they're the same every day. So no Nest for me!

nwbum
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by nwbum » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:19 pm

I just installed the "Honeywell RTH6580WF Wi-Fi 7-Day Programmable Thermostat" at the shore house this past Saturday, paid $91.50 at Amazon. Took about an hour overall to install, with much of the time spent in attic to connect a "C" wire in the heater to pick up 24v power supply for unit. Everything seems to be working fine, and I am happy with the thermostat so far.

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by bloom2708 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:29 pm

I have the ecobee3 with 4 sensors. Very happy with it.

There is only so much you can do with a one zone two story house like ours. But the ecobee3 has a good list of features. The phone apps are very good.
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38,000 ft
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by 38,000 ft » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:38 pm

I have the Ecobee3 and like it. HomeKit (Siri) compatibility is nice to have when it works, which is most of the time. That is probably more Apple's fault than Ecobee's per my research. But overall we like it. Web console and apps are pretty full featured and have great data tracking and history, and the unit itself seems to operate smartly. Remote sensor is a nice feature, particularly for a multiple story home.

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by inbox788 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:06 pm

Recently, I had a thermostat fail, so I looked into Wifi, but was paralyzed by the complexity and choices available. Decided to go with old fashioned Honeywell programmable for around $10, and it's on default settings which are working out very well for me right now heating up a couple of hours in morning and at night. When it gets too cold I turn i up a little manually for a short time, and either turn it down or it automatically resumes programming at the next time interval. Good enough for me for now. No need to remote control things when away, but that seems like the main reason to use these things (pre-heat or cool the home before arrival).

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by Leeraar » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:44 pm

RollTheHard6 wrote:I have a Honeywell also and am very happy with it. I considered the Nest, but it seemed too concerned with "learning" our patterns/schedules and adjusting itself accordingly. My family operates variable schedules, coming and going at all sorts of times every day, so that technology wouldn't really work for us.

We bought this one instead:http://www.honeywellstore.com/store/pro ... gQod7ZQAzg
And really like it, but would now like to install a whole house humidifier. The install service places I've called said they'll replace our (very new) thermostat as part of their process. Does anyone know if these smart therms can be used with a humidifier? Our gas heat makes the house way too dry, but I really down want to go back to, or pay for, a dumbed down thermostat.
I just had my humidifier serviced today. It is a top of the line GENERALAire 1137, first service call in 10 years. It has nothing to do with the thermostat. Is there any reason a whole-house humidifier needs an IP address?

L.
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DonCamillo
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by DonCamillo » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:03 pm

I have had a Nest for my downstairs zone since they first came out, and bought a second for my upstairs zone a few months later.

When the Nest battery runs down, it does not turn on the furnace. The first time this happened, my solution was to charge it using the USB mini port connector from my GPS.

It happened again due to a crack in a circuit board at the furnace, which kept the heater in hot water priority mode. I have a two-wire circuit, with two Nests and three zones. My circuit has a priority switch for hot water, so while the hot water is heating, there is no power to the Nest. The nest battery failed again. Fortunately, there was someone home at my house both times when the heat failed. In the 40 years before this, I never lost heat due to a thermostat failure. Now it has happened twice to me and once to my sister.

My sister was not as lucky. When her Nest battery ran down after a power failure, she was away from the house for a few weeks and her pipes froze.

Nest does have very responsive online and phone serves, which quickly established what to do in the case of my two failures. The second required a service call from my oil dealer, as the fault was not with the Nest.

There is something to be said for the old fashioned mechanical thermostat with mercury switch on a metal coil. You don't have to gut your house and replace all your pipes every time the batteries lose their charge. :oops:
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by Khanmots » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:30 pm

I've got the ecobee smart si. Love the thing.

As for smart thermos, the question is what kind of smart are you looking for?

1) A thermo that will figure out what your patterns are and set temps accordingly. You just tweak the thermo up or down and it'll figure out your schedule from that.
2) A thermo that will figure out how your house responds to internal and external inputs (i.e., HVAC and external temp/wind) in order to figure out when to turn on/off. You don't tell it when to turn the heat up... you tell it when you want the temperature to be X and it'll figure out when to turn on to get there.

Personally, I would be annoyed to no-end by #1, it's the savings/convenience from #2 that I want.

From what I remember, Nest focuses on #1. Ecobee focuses on #2. Nest might do some of #2, not sure. This might have changed in the past couple years.

Ecobee has a slick method of programming from your computer that makes it really quick and easy. I just adjusted off of my holiday schedule and it took about 30 seconds to set it to drop the temp while I'm away during the week; including the time to login. None of the mess with old programmable thermos and cycling through menus. And after it spent the first few weeks experimenting, it's been doing a bang-up job of hitting target temps at the target time.

As for the person complaining about batteries... the Nest doesn't leech power from the lines to it and relies on batteries? Ew.

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just frank
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by just frank » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:27 am

Khanmots wrote:I've got the ecobee smart si. Love the thing.

....

As for the person complaining about batteries... the Nest doesn't leech power from the lines to it and relies on batteries? Ew.
Just to clarify, if you have 3 or more tstat wires, one is a 'common' and provides power, and the Ecobee or the Nest will run on that.

If you don't have a common, Ecobee tells you to install one so it will run reliably. Nest will take your money and tell you their stat can 'power steal' from the 2 wires to run its rechargeable battery. That it, it can draw a small amount of current, mostly when the furnace is off, to power itself.

Two problems:
1: If it draws too much, some furnaces see this as a call for heat (caused by drawing a lot of current on the two wires). These furnaces will act erratically with Nest in 2 wire mode.
2: If it draws too little, the battery will run out of juice and the stat will shut off. Sadly, since it gets less power when the furnace is running than when it is off, this naturally happens on the coldest days of the year when the furnace is running a lot! Nest has probably frozen thousands of houses since it went on the market...their company forum and facebook page have a number of such stories, posted every January.

If you have a 2 wire system (Edit: and live in cold weather country), pull a new common wire and get an Ecobee.

Ecobee is from Toronto. Nest is from Palo Alto. They have different attitudes about heat reliability!
Last edited by just frank on Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

joebh
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by joebh » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:28 am

just frank wrote:
Khanmots wrote:I've got the ecobee smart si. Love the thing.

....

As for the person complaining about batteries... the Nest doesn't leech power from the lines to it and relies on batteries? Ew.
Just to clarify, if you have 3 or more tstat wires, one is a 'common' and provides power, and the Ecobee or the Nest will run on that.

If you don't have a common, Ecobee tells you to install one so it will run reliably. Nest will take your money and tell you their stat can 'power steal' from the 2 wires to run its rechargeable battery. That it, it can draw a small amount of current, mostly when the furnace is off, to power itself.

Two problems:
1: If it draws too much, some furnaces see this as a call for heat (caused by drawing a lot of current on the two wires). These furnaces will act erratically with Nest in 2 wire mode.
2: If it draws too little, the battery will run out of juice and the stat will shut off. Sadly, since it gets less power when the furnace is running than when it is off, this naturally happens on the coldest days of the year when the furnace is running a lot! Nest has probably frozen thousands of houses since it went on the market...their company forum and facebook page have a number of such stories, posted every January.

If you have a 2 wire system, pull a new common wire and get an Ecobee.

Ecobee is from Toronto. Nest is from Palo Alto. They have different attitudes about heat reliability!
I've had a Nest on my 2-wire system for the past few years. I've never had a problem, the furnace has been fine, the battery has never run out of juice. With the Nest, you can remotely check the remaining battery power.

Perhaps I've just been lucky, or perhaps the worry is overblown. Either way, you could pull a common wire and use it with a Nest if you were worried.

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just frank
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by just frank » Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:58 am

I am sure that a overwhelming majority of Nest users with 2 wires do not have a problem, so you needn't be lucky. But many of the people who report problems with Nest have two-wire systems, and discover their problem in January. I also think a lot of early adopters are using them at second homes, and may not be living there in January. Times a half million Nest thermostats, your guess is as good as mine.

If I didn't live in pipe-freeze territory, I wouldn't sweat a two-wire system.

As for real stats, they are hard to come by....Nest is quite secretive. In one published early utility study in Oregon, however, the utility halted the study because several (out of 100 or so) Nest thermostats on heat pumps failed in the first few weeks, and one killed the compressor in the process.

Cwise
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by Cwise » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:16 pm

NorthDakota wrote:I have had two nests in my house for the last year and have been very happy with them. The app and online access are top notch based on my experience.
Might want to consider this - http://www.engadget.com/2016/01/14/nest-software-bug/

new2bogle
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by new2bogle » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:22 pm

I am wondering is someone is going from a programmable thermostat to a Nest, is he or she actually saving money? I can see the convenience of turning AC, etc ON/OFF from your phone but what about the bottom line - is it worth the cost?

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by mnsportsgeek » Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:00 pm

I thought about purchasing a Nest several weeks ago. I actually bought one and then ended up returning it.

Bought myself a used Honeywell programmable thermostat for $20 and am very happy. I'm intrigued by the idea of a smart home, but we're not there yet. I want everything integrated together, and Apple's Homekit seems to be way ahead of the game. I'll probably purchase an ecobee3 sometime down the road, but I want to see how the Smart Home phenomenon plays out before I invest some cash into it. We'll see if homekit is still on top in a couple years.

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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by tacster » Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:17 pm

Cash wrote:Like others in the thread, I bought a Honeywell last year:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FLZ ... UTF8&psc=1

I have had zero issues so far and it is fully programmable by an app on my phone. I considered Nest, but decided that I am too much of a control freak to rely on Nest to determine my comfort level. I much prefer to set my own heating/cooling schedules based on the seasons and our presence at home.
It's worth clicking that link just to read the first product review. :)
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DonCamillo
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Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by DonCamillo » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:24 am

Here are two articles on adding a third power wire to a Nest Thermostat, with a description of the wiring and the problems.

http://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/ ... thermostat

http://cafbit.com/entry/nest_learning_thermostat
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davehica
Posts: 28
Joined: Sun May 18, 2014 3:07 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by davehica » Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:15 am

+1 for the Emerson Sensei. Super simple, affordable, and just works.

amarone
Posts: 459
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:39 am
Location: Atlanta

Re: Wifi Thermostat??

Post by amarone » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:29 am

I bought a couple of Honeywells 2 - 3 years ago and have been happy with them. However, if I were starting now I would not look at thermostats in isolation. I would determine the best home automation system or standard and then choose thermostats compatible with that.

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