Wifi Thermostat

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
cartman
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:56 pm

Wifi Thermostat

Post by cartman » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:57 pm

I am interested in switching my current thermostat to one that has WiFi capability. My preference is to complete the work myself. I would value hearing from anyone that has installed this type of thermostat and share their experience with the level of complexity. I'm fairly comfortable doing electrical and plumbing work within our house.

As always, thank you.

bloom2708
Posts: 2667
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:58 pm

ecobee3 or ecobee4 would be good to look at.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

frogmaster
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:11 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by frogmaster » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:02 pm

See the Ecobee 3 LITE :sharebeer
Mr. Frog | :beer

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 4910
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bottlecap » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:06 pm

I installed a Honeywell wifi thermostat myself. It was pretty simple.

And they cost $90 a piece at the time. I think they are closer to $75 now.

JT

cashisking500
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by cashisking500 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:13 pm

I have the Ecobee 3 (self-installed) and it works great. It provides run time reports, etc. online once you set up your account.

123
Posts: 2408
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by 123 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:14 pm

One of the first things to consider is how many wires (and their colors) your current thermostat uses versus your expected replacement. With the manufacturer and model number of your existing model you can likely find installation instructions on the web. Those will likely tell you how many wires the old one required and the colors. The colors each identify a different purpose. Some thermostats and furnace systems use more wires than others. Makes a difference if you're furnace only or furnace and air conditioning. Look up the installation manual of your expected replacement model, if you don't have all the wires needed you may be paying for features in a thermostat model that you don't need or can't use.

How old is your existing furnace/thermostat? Is the furnace multi-stage?
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

Liberty1100
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:36 pm
Contact:

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Liberty1100 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:19 pm

I am a big fan of Nest Thermostats. I have installed two for my family with ease. Their wiring diagram and mounting hub is "stupidly" simple. They provide you with wire labels and simple setup instructions. I want to say I did it from their online instructions where I the instructions were customized from the wires. It won't take you long at all.

Also, the mobile app and the algorithms for energy efficiency work well.

bobandsherry
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bobandsherry » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:36 pm

Liberty1100 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:19 pm
I am a big fan of Nest Thermostats. I have installed two for my family with ease. Their wiring diagram and mounting hub is "stupidly" simple. They provide you with wire labels and simple setup instructions. I want to say I did it from their online instructions where I the instructions were customized from the wires. It won't take you long at all.

Also, the mobile app and the algorithms for energy efficiency work well.
I also like Nest thermostats. The new "Nest E" is much less costly and does the job just as well. Simple to install, can even use web tool from Nest to verify compatibility and an easy to understand wiring diagram.

https://nest.com/support/article/How-to ... mode=guide

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 5608
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 pm

What security is built into these things? Is this as simple as a Jeep Grand Cherokee to break into and get into someone's home computer? I think that would be my first question.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

User avatar
rustymutt
Posts: 3632
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by rustymutt » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:30 pm

Make sure you've got good reliable wi/Fi signal where you need it. Wired is always better in my engineering book.
:beer
Knowledge is knowing that the Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing better than to put the tomato in a fruit salad.

User avatar
Toons
Posts: 11916
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Toons » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:34 pm

Honeywell wifi thermostat here.
Had it installed with new heat pump.
Watched the installation,
fairly easy :happy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMpK1GcG9yw
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

mmarreco
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by mmarreco » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:36 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 pm
What security is built into these things? Is this as simple as a Jeep Grand Cherokee to break into and get into someone's home computer? I think that would be my first question.
All can be hacked. It is recommended to connect them to a guest network, not to the main wi-fi.

I have installed some Nests and I am a big fan of them.

aqan
Posts: 231
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:07 am

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by aqan » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:40 pm

mmarreco wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:36 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 pm
What security is built into these things? Is this as simple as a Jeep Grand Cherokee to break into and get into someone's home computer? I think that would be my first question.
All can be hacked. It is recommended to connect them to a guest network, not to the main wi-fi.

I have installed some Nests and I am a big fan of them.
Good to know. How does connecting to guest network help tho?
Or is that the hacker won't be able to sneak into your main network/computers thru the thermostat?

mmarreco
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by mmarreco » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:54 pm

[/quote]
Good to know. How does connecting to guest network help tho?
Or is that the hacker won't be able to sneak into your main network/computers thru the thermostat?
[/quote]

Correct. It keeps your computers and shared folders/files isolated from the IoT devices that can be hacked.

Easy Rhino
Posts: 3185
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:13 am
Location: San Diego

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Easy Rhino » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:44 pm

I got an ecobee SI installed free by my utility company's contractor. He had to run an extra wire so I'm glad I didn't have to mess with it.

It's not that flashy, but nicer than our old one.

the Wifi-ness isn't honestly useful unless I forget to turn the AC off when I leave the house.

123
Posts: 2408
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:55 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by 123 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:18 pm

I got really turned-off to Wifi thermostats when I read the terms and conditions connected with one version awhile back. The wifi service in that instance required an account on a server operated by the manufacturer. The T&C said that while the service was currently provided without charge there was no guarantee about how long free service would be provided.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

luckybamboo
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:56 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by luckybamboo » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:32 pm

We have two Honeywell Wi-Fi Thermostat. Really nice and simple. The app lets you program and control thermostat remotely which is very handy.
We have had no issues with it

Tamarind
Posts: 606
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:38 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Tamarind » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:15 pm

A Nest is ridiculously easy to install. They intend for it to be done by homeowners rather than contractors.

I've been very pleased with the Nest up until the last software update, which rendered it unable to see my wifi. It still works great as a smart thermostat but it's annoying not to be able to use my phone to control it until I find time to walk through troubleshooting with their customer service.

mervinj7
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by mervinj7 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 6:26 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:18 pm
I got really turned-off to Wifi thermostats when I read the terms and conditions connected with one version awhile back. The wifi service in that instance required an account on a server operated by the manufacturer. The T&C said that while the service was currently provided without charge there was no guarantee about how long free service would be provided.
Which model was this?

TravelforFun
Posts: 754
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by TravelforFun » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:07 pm

I installed my Nest myself. Very easy.

User avatar
samsoes
Posts: 358
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:12 am

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by samsoes » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:19 pm

One of the critical items to mention (which I'm quite surprised that nobody has) is that there needs to be a "C" wire ("Common") present at the thermostat in order for the device to draw power from the heat equipment (furnace, boiler, heat pump, etc.) WiFi thermostats can't be powered with batteries since they'd be drained in very short order due to the power requirements of the WiFi circuitry.

Older homes such as my own (1956) don't have such a wire and would require an electrician to run one. Not worth it, IMHO. :moneybag

Make sure you check for the preexistence of a "C" wire before spending money on a nifty new WiFi t-stat.

(Alternatively, there are kits available that allows the simulation of a "C" wire by plugging them into an electrical outlet near the thermostat. In such a case, there'd be a wire running from the thermostat in plain sight, with a transformer, plugged into an outlet nearby.)
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren at Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

User avatar
just frank
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by just frank » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:39 pm

I have had a Nest 1.0 and an EcoBee3. Both are similarly simple to install, but the EcoBee is a far better unit. Nest phone support used to be horrific...perhaps it is better now. EcoBee was helpful.

User avatar
rustymutt
Posts: 3632
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: Oklahoma

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by rustymutt » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:47 pm

mmarreco wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:36 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:47 pm
What security is built into these things? Is this as simple as a Jeep Grand Cherokee to break into and get into someone's home computer? I think that would be my first question.
All can be hacked. It is recommended to connect them to a guest network, not to the main wi-fi.

I have installed some Nests and I am a big fan of them.
It's best practice to use a private network, if at all possible. Wired first, only then consider using wi/fi at all. Many modern intelligent switches use private/public networks. Hard to crack into private networks, properly setup for max security.
Knowledge is knowing that the Tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing better than to put the tomato in a fruit salad.

killjoy2012
Posts: 891
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 5:30 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by killjoy2012 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:11 pm

Also note that if you have a modulating furnace, odds are the wifi thermostat will downgrade it to a 2 stage. I'm not aware of any network-enabled thermostats that also work with fully modulating furnaces.

3dream3
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:53 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by 3dream3 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:56 pm

samsoes wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:19 pm
One of the critical items to mention (which I'm quite surprised that nobody has) is that there needs to be a "C" wire ("Common") present at the thermostat in order for the device to draw power from the heat equipment (furnace, boiler, heat pump, etc.) WiFi thermostats can't be powered with batteries since they'd be drained in very short order due to the power requirements of the WiFi circuitry.
This. I installed two Honeywell thermostats and ended up running new wires for both floors instead of buying one of those kits that creates a 5th C wire. Our house was only 5 years old at the time so I was a little surprised that the builder didn't run at least a 5 conductor wire to both floors... but then again, to save money I can see why. Other than that, these have been great. It's funny that my wife and I always adjust the temp from our phones. She likes it hot and I like it cold... so you can imagine how that goes.

User avatar
bogleblitz
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:51 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bogleblitz » Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:08 pm

i have nest and i like it.

any of the other wifi thermostat would work fine as I heard good things about all of them.

forevernaive
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 3:46 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by forevernaive » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:36 am

Wireless thermostats are great. I have one on my home, another up at the family cabin, and have installed them with friends/family at their homes as well. As a confirmed electronic gadget geek, I was an early adopter several years ago when most of the latecomers like Nest, Ecobee, Honeywell weren't in the market yet. I use older ones from Radio Thermostat Company of America at http://www.radiothermostat.com and they've been great.

But there have been improvements and newer models from RTCOA and elsewhere have cool new features like geofences to automatically turn up or turn down your furnace when you leave or come home. For my old basic devices, I have to pull out a smart phone to turn down or up the heat (or AC) when traveling. Still, it's nice to walk into a warm house or not have to turn around to turn the thermostat back down.

As to installation: As other posters have said it isn't hard but you need to gather facts re your existing setup. I've installed them multiple times, and in at least one case I had to pull new 6-wire cable to replace the existing 2-wire. While the thermostat would have worked with two wires, the extra wires meant I could power the thermostat from the C terminal on the furnace and it wouldn't eat batteries as they would just provide backup power. I did have to figure out if the furnace was 24 volt (most newer ones are) or 12 volt and set jumpers correctly. It was mostly a simple matter of reading the owner's manuals, though knowing how to use a multimeter was helpful (though not 100% necessary). Beware: some new high efficiency multi-stage furnaces may require specialized thermostats to control them, though I have gotten one to run a moderate efficiency 2-stage furnace.

The most complicated installation I have done has a wireless thermostat to run a two-stage furnace, and central AC. Adding AC was easy and has proved reliable, but getting the two stage to work properly was tricky. I was successful for a while but the next year the furnace grew cantankerous and I had to change the furnace back to single stage heat for a while. After I couldn't solve it, the real issue turned out to be a bad side in the two-sided pressure switch on the furnace (main stage still worked but the first stage side didn't). That was eventually diagnosed by a several hundred dollar service call to replace a $15 part.

I recommend taking copious and careful notes when doing this kind of home maintenance. In my experience most low-power HVAC electronics are pretty simple if you work on them all the time. I don't, so I keep careful records on Evernote (or similar) and reread my notes again each time before I start. (And when I get a competent service guy out I also pick their brain and write it all down too.) Some people might prefer to pay someone, but I dislike sweltering or freezing with a broken system until the HVAC guy can show up. Over the years I've learned to change the relays and capacitors on central AC, diagnose and replace failed thermocouples on various gas appliances, clean the coils etc. I draw the line at gas or freon repairs though.

I second the suggestion about running a guest network on your router, especially with the more modern wireless thermostats that are Internet of Things ready. More features seem to mean more prone to hacking. Even so, a wireless thermostat really beats what I had growing up: an X10 powerline system with a phone gateway connected to a landline... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X10_(industry_standard)

LifeIsGood
Posts: 605
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:43 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by LifeIsGood » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:57 am

All of the above advice is good (esp. RE: the C wire). I installed a Sensi and it works great. Check with your local utility company for rebates. Mine paid for 1/2 of the thermostat's cost.

Bacchus01
Posts: 1049
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Bacchus01 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:35 am

Just installed, by myself, and Ecobee3 last weekend. It needed a C as mentioned, but the kit came with an adapter you install at the furnace for this. That took me another 5 minutes to install. Very easy.

Liberty1100
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:36 pm
Contact:

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Liberty1100 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:30 am

just frank wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:39 pm
I have had a Nest 1.0 and an EcoBee3. Both are similarly simple to install, but the EcoBee is a far better unit. Nest phone support used to be horrific...perhaps it is better now. EcoBee was helpful.
Ecobee3 released a year ago and Nest 1.0 released 5 years before that. I don't think you can compare the two.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2308
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by lthenderson » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:38 am

I have a first generation Nest thermostat and it was easy to install with provided instructions. I absolutely hated the Nest in the beginning because it was full of bugs (I had to completely reprogram it three times) and kept losing connection rendering the wifi part a moot point. Eventually after a couple years, they got that fixed through numerous patches so it is always connected these days unless the electricity is out. My only other complaint is that after four years, the dial is becoming hard to turn which makes it difficult to manually adjust it. Fortunately I mainly use the app on my phone to do any adjusting so hasn't been a huge issue.

clutchied
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by clutchied » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:25 am

cartman wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:57 pm
I am interested in switching my current thermostat to one that has WiFi capability. My preference is to complete the work myself. I would value hearing from anyone that has installed this type of thermostat and share their experience with the level of complexity. I'm fairly comfortable doing electrical and plumbing work within our house.

As always, thank you.
I have a 3rd gen Nest and I love it.

It takes awhile to get used to it and it also takes awhile to learn what you want but it's a great little tool. It's easy easy easy to install.


My wife hates it but it's saves us tons of money b/c the women in my home (wife / mother-in-law) don't manage or pay attention to anything. The Nest shuts off the air when they're gone and I end up with lower bills. I am now deaf to their complaining and enjoy my $ savings.

I can also turn it on or check it with my phone whenever and wherever I want. Awesome!

They do hate it though...

mmarreco
Posts: 159
Joined: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:54 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by mmarreco » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:35 am

clutchied wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:25 am

They do hate it though...
That's a great point. I have in laws who are clueless and would set the AC at 58 degrees whenever they were feeling warm. The AC would run for the whole day nonstop. With the Nest I can set the limits of how far the temperature can be adjusted and this ended the nonsense. It does create conflicts though...

clutchied
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 12:11 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by clutchied » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:54 pm

mmarreco wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:35 am
clutchied wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:25 am

They do hate it though...
That's a great point. I have in laws who are clueless and would set the AC at 58 degrees whenever they were feeling warm. The AC would run for the whole day nonstop. With the Nest I can set the limits of how far the temperature can be adjusted and this ended the nonsense. It does create conflicts though...
a bit of conflict for me. I'm not a zealot and I don't restrict anything(not controlling) so they can adjust it when they want to but it does turn off when they leave and go to "eco" or whatever.

I basically set defaults to get it where I want it and I'll let the Nest teach the monkeys in my house how to behave.

It's actually working quite well.


Next step is light switches with motion sensors...

User avatar
cockersx3
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 3:55 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by cockersx3 » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:25 pm

I installed a Honeywell WiFi thermostat on my own, for my combo furnace and AC system. Very easy to install, took less than 30 minutes total. My HVAC system was not very old and had the C wire (ie 24V feed from furnace) to power the unit, so no issues with the setup. Just took the old thermostat off (after taking lots of pictures of setup!), then just matched the wire colors against the requirements of the new thermostat.

Only issue I've had since was when I eventually replaced the router to which the thermostat was connected. It still worked and followed the originally programmed schedule, but it took some searching for me to figure out how to get the unit to search for another WiFi signal. Not a huge issue or anything, but took some detective work to resolve.

Good luck!

lazydavid
Posts: 1081
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by lazydavid » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:57 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:11 pm
Also note that if you have a modulating furnace, odds are the wifi thermostat will downgrade it to a 2 stage. I'm not aware of any network-enabled thermostats that also work with fully modulating furnaces.
The branded ones will. I had to replace my Nest with a Lennox iComfort when we installed our modulating furnace (Dave Lennox Signature SLP98V, 35-100% output in 1% increments). It is 100% functional with the modulating feature, and is controllable from my phone.

User avatar
bertilak
Posts: 5603
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bertilak » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:24 pm

killjoy2012 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:11 pm
Also note that if you have a modulating furnace, odds are the wifi thermostat will downgrade it to a 2 stage. I'm not aware of any network-enabled thermostats that also work with fully modulating furnaces.
My brand new Carrier includes a smart WiFi thermostat which supports 5 cooling stages, variable fan speeds and humidity controls. I think there are multiple heating stages too.
Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once. (There! I've said it.)

TallBoy29er
Posts: 226
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2013 9:06 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by TallBoy29er » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:32 pm

bertilak wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:24 pm
killjoy2012 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:11 pm
Also note that if you have a modulating furnace, odds are the wifi thermostat will downgrade it to a 2 stage. I'm not aware of any network-enabled thermostats that also work with fully modulating furnaces.
My brand new Carrier includes a smart WiFi thermostat which supports 5 cooling stages, variable fan speeds and humidity controls. I think there are multiple heating stages too.

New Carrier w/ variable cooling speeds here as well. Called ecobee, and nest, and both told me they did not support my model. I asked about a particular Lenox model as well, and had the same response. Point is, some systems have proprietary thermostats that the off-the-shelf options won't work with.

Saving$
Posts: 1499
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Saving$ » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:52 pm

1. The posts noting the wiring issues are correct. You need a C wire. On a typical split system (furnace for heat/electric AC), this means more than 4 wires. If your existing wiring does not include a C wire, your options are to run new wire, or to forgo the setting on which your HVAC fan can run without either the heat or the cooling. I never used that function, so I just used that wire - you also need to revise the wiring at the air handler controller. This is simple to do, and many of the wifi tstats come with instructions.

2. There are different types of wifi tstats. The Nest has a sensor in it to sense when someone is home, and programs itself based on your household habitats for supposedly optimum usage. As your habitats change it reprograms itself to adjust. If someone is able to hack it, they will get a very good idea of your habits.
The standard $75 Honeywell type wifi tstat does not have this functionality - you need to program the t-stat yourself, and the tstat will run on your program until you change it. If someone hacks it, they can learn the settings you programmed into it, but not much else.

3. With the Honeywell the interface you use to program the tstat is a Honeywell website. You need to create an account. Honeywell will take any address, so I put in a fake address with my non standard email (both in case their accounts get hacked).

Programmable tstats, which I've used for years, can save you considerable operating costs by not conditioning your home when noone is there to enjoy it. The wifi t-stats allow you to program the thing from a website or via an app on your phone, which is far more convenient than pressing a series of buttons on the tstat to program it. If you leave town and forget to set it on the away setting, you can do so from your phone or a computer.

The other nice side effect is the tstat will send you an email if it loses internet connectivity, and another once connectivity is restored. In a recent storm I lost power and internet. When (while at work) I received an email stating my tstat connection was restored, I knew my power and internet were both back on.

Diogenes
Posts: 492
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Diogenes » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:23 pm

I'll add to the recommendations for the Ecobee. I had one installed in a house I don't live in 6-8 months of the year and it has been trouble free. Even paid for itself once when it notified me via email that the temperature had dropped too low in the Winter. Furnace broke. But without it I wouldn't have known for awhile.
It has a good iPad interface and reconnects to the network well after a power outage.
Still, as a backup I place a small thermometer in a room that I can see with one of my dropcams, in case I want to check it.

User avatar
just frank
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by just frank » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:50 pm

Liberty1100 wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:30 am
just frank wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:39 pm
I have had a Nest 1.0 and an EcoBee3. Both are similarly simple to install, but the EcoBee is a far better unit. Nest phone support used to be horrific...perhaps it is better now. EcoBee was helpful.
Ecobee3 released a year ago and Nest 1.0 released 5 years before that. I don't think you can compare the two.
Ecobee3 came out three years ago, same as the Nest 2.0. And the 2.0 had all the same problems as my 1.0, so I switched.

Don't believe me...check out a few thousand amazon rankings.

tbradnc
Posts: 1472
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:30 am

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by tbradnc » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:54 pm

3.5 years ago but here's my experience with a Nest and Ecobee SmartSI.

viewtopic.php?t=129619

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 40435
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by LadyGeek » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:12 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (thermostat).
To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

LeeMKE
Posts: 1581
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:40 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by LeeMKE » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:17 pm

I use Nest Thermostats. I don't know anything about the EcoBee.

One thing not yet mentioned is the motion detection on the Nest thermostats. In addition to noticing when you are gone and using the alternative "away" program, the Nest Thermostats have motion detection that will switch back to the "At Home" schedule.

This was very helpful at my first installation, which was a conference room with a wall of glass. The room would get very hot and very cold because of the window wall. But rather than constantly run the system, we'd people adjust the temp when they entered the room, knowing it would revert to "away" 30 minutes after they left the room. After a few weeks, the thermostat learned that there was a regular meeting there on Thursday nights, and would start bringing the room to a comfortable setting about 30 minutes before the meeting time. Saved us buckets of money.
The mightiest Oak is just a nut who stayed the course.

ProfLA
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 5:45 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by ProfLA » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:50 pm

Have not read the replies so apologize if this is redundant.

I had a 3rd generation Nest installed. I always thought a Nest sounded gimmicky but now that I have one, I love it. It looks fantastic (I have mine set to display an analog clock) and is relatively cheap. I like being able to turn the system on/off when not at home. If you are worried about hacking, you do not have to connect it to wifi and it will function like a simple thermostat.

I had an electrician install mine, and I would recommend you to consider doing the same. My electrician is highly skilled and adept and he took about 30 minutes to install it (he had no reason to prolong this as we had already agreed on price of installation which was bundled with some other electrical work being done.) I passed by while he was doing it and it did not seem very easy to me at all. There was a mass of wires back there and I was grateful that a little bit of money saved me the time and hassle of aspiring to be something I am not (i.e. an electrician).

User avatar
just frank
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2014 4:13 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by just frank » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:00 am

LeeMKE wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:17 pm
I use Nest Thermostats. I don't know anything about the EcoBee.

One thing not yet mentioned is the motion detection on the Nest thermostats. In addition to noticing when you are gone and using the alternative "away" program, the Nest Thermostats have motion detection that will switch back to the "At Home" schedule.

This was very helpful at my first installation, which was a conference room with a wall of glass. The room would get very hot and very cold because of the window wall. But rather than constantly run the system, we'd people adjust the temp when they entered the room, knowing it would revert to "away" 30 minutes after they left the room. After a few weeks, the thermostat learned that there was a regular meeting there on Thursday nights, and would start bringing the room to a comfortable setting about 30 minutes before the meeting time. Saved us buckets of money.
One problem I had with the nest motion sensors is that my single stat location is in a hallway at one end of our house. Later in the day, we can be home and not walk by it. So we were never able to use the auto-away feature...it thought we had left when we had been home the whole time, and if we did go out, it didn't notice that we came home.

The Ecobee comes with small remote sensors that in addition to reading temps, also detect motion. So we can place those where people are, and it does reliably detect when people are in the house or not.

For the same or lower price.

bloom2708
Posts: 2667
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:46 am

lazydavid wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:57 pm
I had to replace my Nest with a Lennox iComfort when we installed our modulating furnace (Dave Lennox Signature SLP98V, 35-100% output in 1% increments). It is 100% functional with the modulating feature, and is controllable from my phone.
Do you have the iComfort S30? Or another iComfort model?

We have the SLP98V furance. I love the ecobee3, but am wondering if I am missing out on the benefits of the incremental stage adjustments that my furnace offers, but the ecobee3 cannot handle.

I have 2 stage (very low and full power). I am seriously considering going away from the ecobee3 and trying the iComfort S30.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

User avatar
vinnydabody
Posts: 66
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 7:25 am
Location: Chicagoland

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by vinnydabody » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:14 am

123 wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:14 pm
One of the first things to consider is how many wires (and their colors) your current thermostat uses versus your expected replacement. With the manufacturer and model number of your existing model you can likely find installation instructions on the web. Those will likely tell you how many wires the old one required and the colors. The colors each identify a different purpose. Some thermostats and furnace systems use more wires than others. Makes a difference if you're furnace only or furnace and air conditioning. Look up the installation manual of your expected replacement model, if you don't have all the wires needed you may be paying for features in a thermostat model that you don't need or can't use.

How old is your existing furnace/thermostat? Is the furnace multi-stage?
This is big. Just about all wi-fi thermostats need a "C" wire to provide power. If your current wiring doesn't have a "C" wire you may need to run some 5-conductor wire from the thermostat to the furnace circuit board. If your current system doesn't support a "C" wire then the functionality of your new thermostat will be limited (like losing the ability to switch the blower fan off).

lazydavid
Posts: 1081
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:37 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by lazydavid » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:14 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:46 am
Do you have the iComfort S30? Or another iComfort model?

We have the SLP98V furance. I love the ecobee3, but am wondering if I am missing out on the benefits of the incremental stage adjustments that my furnace offers, but the ecobee3 cannot handle.

I have 2 stage (very low and full power). I am seriously considering going away from the ecobee3 and trying the iComfort S30.
The S30 looks WAAAAAY nicer than mine. I have the first-gen iComfort, which we installed ours roughly 3.5 years ago. It was the only one available at the time.

I would definitely recommend looking into it. I might actually look into upgrading to the S30.

In the Winter, the furnace runs more or less continuously--it actually cycles a couple of times per day due to a design flaw in the furnace architecture that only allows it to modulate up, not down. So to drop from 63% to 61% output, it has to cycle off, and then ramp back up to 61%. Despite this one oddity, the temperature in the house still stays rock-solid.

bloom2708
Posts: 2667
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:55 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:14 pm
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:46 am
Do you have the iComfort S30? Or another iComfort model?

We have the SLP98V furance. I love the ecobee3, but am wondering if I am missing out on the benefits of the incremental stage adjustments that my furnace offers, but the ecobee3 cannot handle.

I have 2 stage (very low and full power). I am seriously considering going away from the ecobee3 and trying the iComfort S30.
The S30 looks WAAAAAY nicer than mine. I have the first-gen iComfort, which we installed ours roughly 3.5 years ago. It was the only one available at the time.

I would definitely recommend looking into it. I might actually look into upgrading to the S30.

In the Winter, the furnace runs more or less continuously--it actually cycles a couple of times per day due to a design flaw in the furnace architecture that only allows it to modulate up, not down. So to drop from 63% to 61% output, it has to cycle off, and then ramp back up to 61%. Despite this one oddity, the temperature in the house still stays rock-solid.
One feature I really like on the ecobee3 is that I can set the fan to run "for XX" minutes per hour. I have ours set to run for 50 minutes of each hour. That way, it keeps circulating/mixing the air at the lowest fan speed even if the heat/cool cycle is not on. I'm sure others have this. I am investigatig the iComfort s30 as a replacement option. Thanks for the information.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Post Reply