Wifi Thermostat

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LawEgr1
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:34 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by LawEgr1 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:50 pm

My disclaimer here is that I'm genuinely trying to understand the benefits of the WiFi Thermostats with actual data or targeted questions, so I can make a proper decision.


I have a hard time understanding the true benefits of the thermostats being discussed here. Here are my specific questions that I'm hoping you can address so I can understand if it's a good idea for me to go this route.

1) Can someone provide quantitative data showing their 'energy efficiency' gains through the use of such a device?
2) What value does this item have versus a standard 7 day programmable thermostat?
3) Why do I care if this device knows my patterns? See #2. If my pattern changes or I'm hot or cold, I walk 5 feet and change the temperature.
3a) Note: I have never accidentally left my a/c on or heat on high / low, so remotely changing the temp isn't useful. I'd call my neighbor if I was really concerned.
3b) If the house is 'cool' when I get home I change the temperature and it's better in <<15 min. (smaller house and this is vice versa for hot) Also see item 2.
4) Other than it 'looks cool' and provides a 'report' to which I need to understand better, what is there?

Plus, to boot, these items aren't cheap. (note: I have new a/c and heat but not variable speed)

I just can't help but feel I'm missing something, am I the only one? Thanks!

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

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by killjoy2012 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:25 pm

LawEgr1 - The challenge you're going to have with answers are that several of the popular models mentioned in this thread have differing functionality (e.g. motion sensors). I wish there was a wifi thermostat that my Rheem modulating furnace was compatible with, but no such luck. If there was, I'd switch in a heartbeat. Also I think you're going to find the cost saving significant for those of us in the Midwest & NE, and less so for those in more moderate climates.

My answers:
2) Being single, working a somewhat variable schedule M-F, having the ability to dynamically turn on the heat/AC from my phone as I'm walking out of work to drive home would be great. It could also alert me to the furnace failing (e.g. low temp) while I'm away. Or if I forgot to turn down the thermostat while rushing to get out of the house in the morning, I can correct it on the fly at work. Unfortunately, my life is not as structured as the programmable thermostat wants it to be.
3) If you're ok with walking into a 50* house in the winter, or 90* in the summer - sure, just turn on/up the HVAC when you get home. And a 20* correction throughout my house takes more than 15 minutes.

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bertilak
Posts: 5604
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:23 pm
Location: East of the Pecos, West of the Mississippi

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by bertilak » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:57 pm

LawEgr1 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:50 pm
My disclaimer here is that I'm genuinely trying to understand the benefits of the WiFi Thermostats with actual data or targeted questions, so I can make a proper decision.


I have a hard time understanding the true benefits of the thermostats being discussed here. Here are my specific questions that I'm hoping you can address so I can understand if it's a good idea for me to go this route.

1) Can someone provide quantitative data showing their 'energy efficiency' gains through the use of such a device?
2) What value does this item have versus a standard 7 day programmable thermostat?
3) Why do I care if this device knows my patterns? See #2. If my pattern changes or I'm hot or cold, I walk 5 feet and change the temperature.
3a) Note: I have never accidentally left my a/c on or heat on high / low, so remotely changing the temp isn't useful. I'd call my neighbor if I was really concerned.
3b) If the house is 'cool' when I get home I change the temperature and it's better in <<15 min. (smaller house and this is vice versa for hot) Also see item 2.
4) Other than it 'looks cool' and provides a 'report' to which I need to understand better, what is there?

Plus, to boot, these items aren't cheap. (note: I have new a/c and heat but not variable speed)

I just can't help but feel I'm missing something, am I the only one? Thanks!
My personal answer to those questions should be understood in the context of how I ended up with one: My 10 year-old system died so I decided to replace it with a new one. The local Carrier company sent out someone to give me an estimate. He gave me a few estimates from cheap to very expensive. I decided on the second most expensive. The most expensive had features that weren't important to me. For example I skipped the UV, humidify, and indoor/outdoor air exchange. I did opt for the whole-house filter whose element gets changed twice a year at $90 a pop from Amazon or $120 from Carrier.

I had a few complaints about my old system, besides it simply not working anymore:
  • Required expensive Freon, and it was about out.
  • Was basically on or off so either it was blasting very cold air or waiting for the house to heat up a bit more before turning on. My comfort rating? Low.
  • When it turned on it reminded me of that scene in Blues Brothers with the elevated trains going right past the apartment window, Not only was it noisy but it actually shook the house! (Movie quote: "Isn't that annoying?" "After a while you don't notice it.") I once had a ceiling fixture fall down and break the screen on my laptop. I am 80% convinced that over time the AC system simply shook it loose. It would wake you up at night.
The new system is nearly silent. It keeps the house cool and dehumidified without big temperature swings or lots of "wind." I can leave the display lit full time because it doesn't require batteries (except as power backup I think), The brightness of the display can be turned way down so it isn't obtrusive at night. The thermostat is smart in that it knows how to control all those comfort features -- primarily granularity and variability in cooling capacity and fan speed.

Most of the features that get all the press (wireless, remote display and controls on a smart phone) don't really matter to me. They all just came along for the ride and give the manufacturer something easy to brag about. I do like that if something goes wrong it lets me (and optionally the installer) know and keeps a log with error codes that I can look up in the manual.

I should add it has all the features that lesser, but above average (I think) thermostats have: 7-day programability with 4 phases per day: Wake, Leave, Return, and Sleep with settings also settable for Home, Away, Vacation. Vacations can be scheduled ahead of time. It automatically switches between heat and cool so no need to fiddle with it.
Listen very carefully. I shall say this only once. (There! I've said it.)

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

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by lazydavid » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:11 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:55 pm
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.
Mine definitely has this feature. You can either set it to run sporadically, from 15-45% of the time (default 35%), or to run all the time. Remember you have a variable-speed fan, so running at a very low speed doesn't consume much electricity.

Angelus359
Posts: 749
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 12:56 am

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Angelus359 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:23 am

Another vote for ecobee
I got an ecobee 3 on a black Friday sale making the price 200$, then got 150$ in cash back from a combo of electric company rebates and gas company rebates

Total price: 64$ after tax

The unit has been totally fantastic
IT-DevOps System Administrator

Championship0911
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Wifi Thermostat

Post by Championship0911 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:07 pm

I purchased the Ecobee 4 when there was a sale that included two additional sensors for the price of the thermostat only. We love it. The fact that you can put sensors in different rooms was the selling point over the Nest thermostat.

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