New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

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Strayshot
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New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Strayshot »

Hi Bogleheads,
My parents are mid-late 70’s and need (want actually, current one works fine but is like 30 years old) a new thermostat. Something highly visible, touchscreen, easy to use once it is all set up (I will install and set it up). They don’t care about WiFi, app control, etc although pretty much everything comes with that anyways. Furnace is new, installed around 2015.
Given that Black Friday is upon us and there are deals to be had, what would you recommend? Cost is not a factor.
Contenders are stuff like the:
Ecobee
Nest/google
Honeywell (like the smart color)
Others?
Thanks!
prd1982
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by prd1982 »

Key piece of information missing ---

Does the current thermostat have a C-wire? Without it, many high-end thermostats will not work
Topic Author
Strayshot
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Strayshot »

prd1982 wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:20 pm Key piece of information missing ---

Does the current thermostat have a C-wire? Without it, many high-end thermostats will not work
Good question! It is a Hunter set n save 1, but that probably doesn’t help.........if it doesn’t have a c wire, what are my options? Unlikely they pulled any additional wires when they installed the new furnace, home was built in ~1970-75
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Strayshot
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Strayshot »

Also, I found this:

https://smartthermostatguide.com/c-wire ... er-review/

Which seems to add a c wire if none exists? Will that work?
TimDex
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by TimDex »

I strongly urge you to consider a Luxpro thermostat. I just got a new furnace, and replaced the old Honeywell style round device. I did not want a complicated computerized bit of nonsense. The luxpro is excellent, accurate, and much easier to use than the old style round unit. I really like it. It’s easy to read and the digital numbers are really visible, even in the dark. And I am in my seventies....Tim

I believe the model number is psd011b prospec.
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prd1982
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by prd1982 »

Strayshot wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:29 pm Also, I found this:

https://smartthermostatguide.com/c-wire ... er-review/

Which seems to add a c wire if none exists? Will that work?
Clearly designed to solve this problem, but no idea if it actually works well. I do see that there are several products that promise to add the C wire by dual-purposing one of the existing wires. I chickened out and went with the old style programmable thermostat that ran on a battery.
BIGal
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by BIGal »

We have a Honeywell
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FL ... UTF8&psc=1
is wifi and we like it a lot. I am wondering why the 30 yo thermostat wasn't replaced when the new system was installed. Normally it isn't that difficult to run a new thermostat wire if necessary. Probably best to consider having it professionally installed unless you or your parents are comfortable with the task. Good Luck.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by bob60014 »

Many smart tstats include a "C" wire adapter with them or the adapter can be bought separately. Its easy to install.

OP, though they are mostly set and forget, a consideration for those getting older is the readability of the tstat display. Some tstats are better than others in this regard.
Last edited by bob60014 on Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Houe
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Houe »

Aprilaire has a high end stat that only requires 3 wires. 8920w.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I suggest keeping it simple, whatever you do. Do they need to adjust it during the day if they are home? Also, keep in mind that if they are ill at some point, they might want to be able to change the temperature without getting out a manual.
GrowthSeeker
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by GrowthSeeker »

TimDex wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:30 pm I strongly urge you to consider a Luxpro thermostat. I just got a new furnace, and replaced the old Honeywell style round device. I did not want a complicated computerized bit of nonsense. The luxpro is excellent, accurate, and much easier to use than the old style round unit. I really like it. It’s easy to read and the digital numbers are really visible, even in the dark. And I am in my seventies....Tim

I believe the model number is psd011b prospec.
Here it is on Amazon. I don't have this myself, but it looks pretty good for simplicity and large easy to read numbers.

But an advantage to a fancy wifi type would be (assuming the parents have wifi on all the time) that you could presumably check on their temperature remotely. Not sure how often that would happen.
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RetiredAL
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by RetiredAL »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:34 pm
TimDex wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:30 pm I strongly urge you to consider a Luxpro thermostat. I just got a new furnace, and replaced the old Honeywell style round device. I did not want a complicated computerized bit of nonsense. The luxpro is excellent, accurate, and much easier to use than the old style round unit. I really like it. It’s easy to read and the digital numbers are really visible, even in the dark. And I am in my seventies....Tim

I believe the model number is psd011b prospec.
Here it is on Amazon. I don't have this myself, but it looks pretty good for simplicity and large easy to read numbers.

But an advantage to a fancy wifi type would be (assuming the parents have wifi on all the time) that you could presumably check on their temperature remotely. Not sure how often that would happen.
+10 towards simplicity.

They use this thermostat, or one very similar, in my Dad's Assisted Living Facility and he finds it simple to use and it has a easy to read display. Getting too complex a stat will tax and frustrate a diminishing elder.

Being battery operated, it will work with 4-wire cable that has no "C" 24v source wire.
Mr. Rumples
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I guess I am a diminishing elder :). The unit mentioned above is much like what I have for my home with one more slot/position in case I have to use auxiliary heat instead of the heat pump in an emergency but my nephew painted that red so I would know it was for emergencies.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by JoeRetire »

Strayshot wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:25 pmif it doesn’t have a c wire, what are my options?
The Nest works without a C wire. That's the primary reason I chose it when I wanted a remote controllable thermostat.

But are you sure they actually want a touch screen? If so, why?
A good old fashioned analog thermostat can still be purchased and is suitable for most situations.
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gtd98765
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by gtd98765 »

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-thermostat/
A smart thermostat does the thinking you don’t want to do. It can learn your schedule, turn itself down when nobody is home, and balance temperatures around your home to make you comfier while using less energy (talk about win-win). Our extensive testing shows that the Google Nest Thermostat E is the best smart thermostat because it manages your home with the least amount of input, it’s simple to use, and it’s cheaper than higher-end Nests, yet it doesn’t sacrifice much functionality.

Our pick
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Are they mechanically inclined? My mother couldn't remember to put a tape in her vcr back in the day. When she got new systems, I insisted they install basic thermostats or price 24/7 support, because I refused to.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by aerofreaky11 »

I put a Sensi thermostat in my parents house. Instead of driving 4 hours to help them reset the schedule now all I do is open up my phone and make the adjustments on the app.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Bogle7 »

As a 71-year-old-fart, I say: a Honeywell programmable for $40.

P.S. 70s, no apostrophe
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RetiredAL
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by RetiredAL »

Mr. Rumples wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:51 pm I guess I am a diminishing elder :). The unit mentioned above is much like what I have for my home with one more slot/position in case I have to use auxiliary heat instead of the heat pump in an emergency but my nephew painted that red so I would know it was for emergencies.
I can relate. For my Dad, the bathroom heater switch got a red sticker to differentiate it from the exhaust fan. Since I did this, no more me finding the bathroom heater on when he thought he had the fan on. For the Heat-OFF-AC switch on the thermostat, I used a red sticker and a blue sticker. Before when he was at home, he always turned the Heater/AC on or off based on his need and only changed the temp occasionally. I did have to put a sign at his thermostat that he wants his room 79-80 degrees as the attendants would lower it to 72-74 thinking he would get hot over the summer. Little did they know that at home he never turned on the AC until the house temp got to 82 or 83, and then he promptly turned it off when it got to 80.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by RCL »

You can't beat this for a simple non programmable thermostat. So simple with large digits for us impaired vision people :D
https://www.amazon.com/HONEYWELL-ECC-CO ... =hi&sr=1-1
corysold
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by corysold »

It's easy enough to see if they have enough wires to run a common (C-wire). Just take off the front of the thermostat and see if there are more than 4 wires present. Sometimes the extra wires will be wrapped around the wire sheathing and tucked back into the wall, but they should be noticeable.

If you only have 4, as mentioned, you can use a "add a wire" to get a common. The ecobee comes with it and is the wifi model we usually put in. We haven't had the best of luck with Nest. Some people love them, but it seems just as many don't. Especially without a common wire, they seem to cause problems and will try to power steal off of the other 4 wires to stay on.

The Honeywell's are usually good. We put on the T4 a lot and most older folks are ok with the size of the numbers. It can be programmable or not depending on how it is set up.
regularguy455
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by regularguy455 »

Bogle7 wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:49 pm As a 71-year-old-fart, I say: a Honeywell programmable for $40.

P.S. 70s, no apostrophe
I agree with this. I considered buying a fancy one for years but just settled on a basic, backlit Honeywell. You can pick them up for nothing and it does 90% of what a Nest does.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by JoeRetire »

corysold wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:36 am We haven't had the best of luck with Nest. Some people love them, but it seems just as many don't. Especially without a common wire, they seem to cause problems and will try to power steal off of the other 4 wires to stay on.
Have had a Nest with a 2-wire setup for the past 6 years. No problem at all.

That said, if my late parents needed a new thermostat I'd have purchased a simple analog unit with large easy to read numbers.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Swansea »

Bogle7 wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:49 pm As a 71-year-old-fart, I say: a Honeywell programmable for $40.

P.S. 70s, no apostrophe
+1 I just adjusted my Honeywell...very easy for this 72 year old.
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Strayshot
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Strayshot »

Hi everyone, really appreciate all of the feedback so far! The requirements are tough, because honestly no matter what I do they will likely find a reason to complain but I would like it to be a smaller amount of complaining than with the current thermostat. I know my mom likes the touchscreen because I have one at my house, which is why I was leaning in that direction. The idea of being able to remotely manage things for them is appealing, hadn’t thought about that. It would be nice not to have to replace any batteries (to give you some context, my dad took down all of the battery operated smoke detectors because he was tired of them chirping when they needed a new 9v every few years, I replaced them with nest ones so that I know when the battery is low and can fix it).
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Strayshot wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:48 am Hi everyone, really appreciate all of the feedback so far! The requirements are tough, because honestly no matter what I do they will likely find a reason to complain but I would like it to be a smaller amount of complaining than with the current thermostat. I know my mom likes the touchscreen because I have one at my house, which is why I was leaning in that direction. The idea of being able to remotely manage things for them is appealing, hadn’t thought about that. It would be nice not to have to replace any batteries (to give you some context, my dad took down all of the battery operated smoke detectors because he was tired of them chirping when they needed a new 9v every few years, I replaced them with nest ones so that I know when the battery is low and can fix it).
Think very, very carefully about that. I can tell you from experience that being the solution provider for things for elderly parents can get overwhelming, especially as they start having memory issues.

My FIL never had cable. He had a rotating antenna on the roof, a string of VCRs to record more than one channel (second program would often have bad reception), etc. When he went to independent living, he asked for "all them cable channels". It was immediately overwhelming, he didn't grasp the concept of "On Demand" (how do they know to load the movie into the VCR for me), he couldn't work the standard or the elderly remote, he would hit the button changing input and I'd have to drive there and fix it, ... He wanted a cell phone to send text messages to the other residents, but his thought process was so slow (not dementia-related), that any subsequent steps in a process would be replaced with device resets. For example, even recording his message on his answering machine wasn't possible because he would not act fast enough before the system gave up waiting.

My mother couldn't load a tape into a VCR before becoming elderly... After getting her first PC, the endless calls began and never ended, until I finally said enough. She clicks on every link possible, refuses to restrain herself, and has compromised her PC many times. She calls Comcast and tells them her password within the first 60 seconds, and fell for the "This is Windows calling" scam a few years back. Loading paper, making sure one has ink, even is the power on can stump her. Deleting all emails after reading, then saying "can you send me that again?" When asked why she deletes everything, she says "because I don't want to run out of space." And it's not dementia-related.

When we got new HVAC systems, I insisted that the thermostats be simple, or the company provide 24/7 onsite support. They got the message.

I am now in good place - my mother deals with her own issues with another sibling, because I bowed out totally.

Be very careful what you wish for, it may create undo stress in your life, and in theirs.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by mervinj7 »

Strayshot wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:48 am Hi everyone, really appreciate all of the feedback so far! The requirements are tough, because honestly no matter what I do they will likely find a reason to complain but I would like it to be a smaller amount of complaining than with the current thermostat. I know my mom likes the touchscreen because I have one at my house, which is why I was leaning in that direction. The idea of being able to remotely manage things for them is appealing, hadn’t thought about that. It would be nice not to have to replace any batteries (to give you some context, my dad took down all of the battery operated smoke detectors because he was tired of them chirping when they needed a new 9v every few years, I replaced them with nest ones so that I know when the battery is low and can fix it).
With that in mind, I would strongly suggest using Nest Thermostats. We put them in our parents house. That way, me or any one of my siblings can adjust things if necessary. The rotary knob is simple enough to make adjustments right at the thermostat. Since you already have the Protects, it would be the same app.
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by GoldStarDude »

I would suggest purchasing a WiFi enabled thermostat, although they (you) are unlikely to use those features now.

Within a few years, either Mom or Dad will be unable to adjust the thermostat (eye sight, confusion, etc.), and you being able to fully control the thermostat (Heat and Air) remotely will become invaluable to both of you. I purchased and installed the Honeywell RTH6580 and it works flawlessly! I see now that Honeywell has expanded their line of WiFi enabled thermostats, so there are more options. I highly recommend Honeywell. Their app works very well.
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Strayshot
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Re: New thermostat for mid-late 70’s parents?

Post by Strayshot »

So I have procured both a Nest thermostat and an Ecobee smart thermostat. Going to give both for Xmas and see what happens.........Hopefully they will pick one and I will return the other, but this is an experiment. I am hopeful that they will pick the Ecobee and utilize Alexa voice control.

To be continued!
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