Oct 162014
 
Ecobee3_3

If you are planning to change your old thermostat, one of these smart models might just fit your needs.

When Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers exposed their first-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in the year 2011, they ignited interest in a previously overlooked part of the home. All of a sudden, folks were paying attention to more than thermostat functionality — they were looking at design and the possibility of integrating their heating and cooling systems into their app-centric connected worlds.

But, Nest (better Google’s Nest) did more than just showcase smart design and offer an outlet for tech savvy consumers; it also inspired other companies (ecobee, honeywell, etc.) to create their own versions of the DIY smart thermostat.

The innovative heat and AC incubators that have emerged are all slight variations on the same energy-efficient, customization-focused theme. Still, each one did something a bit different in terms of features and final execution. Take a look a the five smart thermostats we’ve reviewed so far to see if you might be ready for an upgrade.

All the listed thermostats below are the same price tag range (~ 250 USD); so the price won’t be a criteria for your decision. Look into the functionality, and the customer reviews.

Ecobee’s Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

The $249 Ecobee3 (as of October 2014) is a Wi-Fi and mobile app enabled thermostat that relies on its sensors to detect whether you’re home or away. You can still schedule the thermostat the old-fashioned way, but this thermostat’s adaptive sensors know that your routine can be unpredictable. So, it will automatically cancel Away mode if the motion and proximity sensors sense that you’ve come back home unexpectedly — all so that you can be as comfortable as possible. Isn’t this feature nice? And also, the researches show us that almost 75% of the programmable thermostat owners never program their thermostats (Unbelievable)! Ecobee’s thermostat does the work itself.

You can read more on Ecobee3 Smart thermostat here: A completely new design from Ecobee (which may disturb Nest)

Ecobee3_3

Continue reading »

May 282014
 
Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation - 6

Absolutely nothing impacts human beings comfort and ease or mood just like a comfortable, warm environment or a cool, energizing climate. However, with all the different technologies in your home, the humble programmable thermostat receives the the very least respect despite the fact that no one enjoys pricey power bills every month.

Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers (ex-Apple staffers) started transforming the understanding of the thermostat with Nest – one of the best smart thermostats in the market. By utilizing their own experiences from Apple (having been an employee on the legendary iPod), Fadell and Rogers elevated the unattractive home electronic to produce the Nest learning thermostat, a modern wall-mounted gadget built to make home energy management and automation attractive.

Since the time of Nest’s 2011 introduction, it has gotten plenty of curiosity, and not only just from customers trying to lessen their own power bills, increase performance or present a hot brand new product. Smart home companies such as Revolv and Control4 do business with Nest, and tinkerers cannot appear to keep their hands off it.

The thoughts range between basic smart watch applications to creative rewirings or even computer software hacks to increase Nest’s control and capabilities. Yet still, it really is amazing what can be done using the Nest smart thermostat when you use a small determined effort.

Basic Tricks

You can control the Nest smart thermostat through your smart phone (iOS or Android) or from the company’s website, and its automations enhance with time because the gadget understands your routines and personal preferences. Continue reading »

May 212014
 
Honeywell-Wi-Fi-Smart-Thermostat

These days Best Programmable Thermostats, come in two varieties: round and rectangular (everyone knows which ones are round ones :-) ). But we don’t care much about the shape, we are focusing more on programmable thermostats’ smart features. With characteristics such as electronic and touch screens, humidity sensors and even some which learn your own habits (these kind of smart thermostats can program themselves). Today I will write another review for Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat.

 

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat Features (Model number RTH9580WF)

Control from anyplace: Honeywell’s mobile application lets you program your thermostat from any internet connected device (your computer, tablet or smartphone), regardless if you are in another room or in another continent.

Easy Setup: The Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat’s easy setup walks you through a few questions to really get your 7-day program uploaded and functioning and help you save money fast

Personalized Color Touchscreen: The bright, easy-to-read thermostat screen can be customized to match your paint, or support your favorite team

Smart and Flexible Scheduling: The Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat provides flexible programming choices for commercial and household needs

Smart Response: Honeywell wi-fi smart thermostat actually finds out your own heating and air conditioning schedules to provide the ideal temperature, right when you need it

Advanced Fan/Comfort Control: This programmable thermostat enhances air flow so it helps control the temperature throughout your house

Auto Alerts: Excessive temperature notifications and filter replace reminders are delivered to your linked devices and are visible on your Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat, which means that you may be home or away, you will never miss an alert

Reliable Mobile application: Honeywell mobile application is available for iOS and Android devices

Indoor Humidity Sensor: Your interior humidity is shown on the screen

Locking Touchscreen: Enhanced locking capabilities and password options make available intelligent security and convenience (kids or your guests won’t be able to change the settings anymore)

Compatibility: Compatible with heating, cooling and heat pumps. However, does not work with heat pumps with electric baseboard heat (120-240V)

The thermostat comes with the following items:

 

Installation and Setup

I have to acknowledge, the Honeywell wi-fi smart thermostat was a little smaller than I had expected. The thermostat’s dimensions are 3 3/8 inch tall x 4 1/2 inch wide x 1 7/8 inch thick. This programmable thermostat is not the smallest thermostat out there, but yet definitely not the biggest.

The Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is created to be used having a 5 power line setup since the thermostat is actually operated by the HVAC system’s power instead of batteries. Still you can use with a four wire setup however it requires some re-wiring on the control board and also the loss of independent fan control, which means that you will need to keep this in mind.

A quick tip: We noticed when researching the four wire setup was the web address provided for video help in the quick start manual wasn’t correct. That’s why I add useful Honeywell wifi thermostat videos in here:

Determine your home’s heating & cooling system type

Watch this video to determine if your home’s heating and cooling system is compatible with a Honeywell Wi-Fi programmable thermostat.

Install your thermostat

With that being said, the 5 wire set up was a pretty hassle-free procedure. As explained inside the manual, basically, you remove your old thermostat and wall plate (if there is any), install the new wall plate, connect the wires and put the thermostat to the wall plate.

Watch this video first before the installation of Honeywell Smart Thermostat. The video explains how to determine the type of wiring you have, how to remove your existing thermostat, and how to install your new Wi-Fi smart thermostat if you have a C-wire. If you do not have a C-wire, you’ll be directed to videos for installations with other wiring options.

Connect Your Thermostat

Right after connecting all the required wires and turning the HVAC power on it was time to connect with the wireless network. Setup is easy, simply go through the on-screen directions and you’ll be advised once the programmable thermostat is linked. After connected you’ll be able to program your thermostat through the touchscreen or computer/mobile device.

Watch this video after you’ve installed your new Wi-Fi smart thermostat. This video explains how to connect your new Wi-Fi smart thermostat to your home wireless network.

Register Your Thermostat

Watch this video after successfully connecting your new Wi-Fi smart thermostat to your home wireless network. This video explains how to create a Honeywell Total Connect Comfort account with which you’ll be able to remotely view and set your Wi-Fi smart thermostat.

Alternate Wiring Videos for Honeywell Wi-fi Smart Thermostat

Watch this video if you do not have a C-wire, but you do have an extra wire in your bundle. This video explains how to use the extra wire to power your Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat.

 

Watch this video if you do not have a C-wire or an extra wire in your bundle. This video demonstrates an alternative option to power your Honeywell Wi-Fi smart thermostat.

 

Special Features

An attractive feature with this programmable thermostat in addition to the connectivity is the capability to change the display color to suit your home decor or feeling (or to match your favourite team colors). Along with a number of pre-specified colors and the choice to make your personal customized colors virtually anybody can find a color selection to match them. Modifying the coloring is actually as simple as looking to the menu and choosing the choice to do so.

Customized scheduling is really a function that has become crucial in today’s programmable thermostats (regardless they are smart or not). The capability to alter the temperature at your residence only a few degrees when you are not home often means big financial savings on electric or gas bill. Personalized scheduling can be performed through the thermostat or on the web interface (or mobile app).

The function which forced me want to test this programmable thermostat was the computer user interface. The ability to check the temperature when you are out of town or to adjust the scheduling remotely is a great feature to me. To connect with the thermostat through your pc go into the web page listed in the quick start guide and go through the steps. Essentially you generate a free account, complete the necessary information and after that hook up to your Honeywell thermostat by using the MAC ID and a MAC CRC. Honeywell provides these numbers on a Thermostat ID Card. Once signed up and linked you’ll be able to setup your thermostat and a schedule.

Honeywell also offers mobile apps for iOS (apple devices) and Android devices where you can gain access to your thermostat from anywhere you want to. To utilise these all you will have to perform is download the free mobile application for your gadget and sign in to the site with your login and password which you previously created. The mobile app is absolutely beneficial if you are coming back home earlier then your usual schedule or going to be out through the night and want to modify the thermostat’s schedule.

 

Conclusion

So what’s the bottom line here? At about $200 (as of May 2014) the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is on par or even a little lower price wise with compatible smart thermostats of its type. The display size is nice, the touch pad is successful and also the included capabilities are perfect. I’m a big fan of the internet connectivity and the capability to set and alter the thermostats programming from anywhere.

The single negative I can tell (and it is not unique to Honeywell) is basically that you need to do some creative or rewiring for older properties with 4 cable systems. In my view this should not really discourage anybody from having this (or any of the newer 5 wire thermostats), simply because in this times when new HVAC systems are certainly more efficient you would like to be able to utilize the financial savings you can gain.

Everything being said, I really like and enjoy this Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat.

amazon-buy-now

May 022014
 
honeywell's nest
honeywell's nest

honeywell’s nest

Do you have any idea what’s this we have here?

It looks a lot like a Nest programmable smart thermostat, and the only difference is that Honeywell brand name. Not much details yet, but this picture came from the Facebook page of a Honeywell employee. Or maybe soon-to-be-former Honeywell employee.

Honeywell has its own smart thermostats. They look like regular old thermostats, maybe a little larger and with touch screens, except they’re wifi enabled and mobile app controlled. This, if it is a real picture, is a very clear design change, one that looks very informed by Nest. Apparently gizmodo reached out to Honeywell for comment, and this is the response that they got:

We don’t comment on rumor and speculation – we have no comment at this time.

What do you think? Could this be a real product?

Apr 232014
 
Nest or Honeywell

This particular review is actually a comparison between Honeywell RTH8580WF thermostat and Nest 2nd Gen programmable thermostat, the main 2 thermostats which dominating the market these days.

With small number of choices on the thermostat market for a 7-day programmable thermostat having an user-friendly interface, an effective appealing small physical style and design, Wireless features, along with a reliable manufacturer, the Honeywell RTH8580WF thermostat has shown to be a lifesaver, and in my personal opinion, the best return for the money within these types.

Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation - 1Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation – 1

The history starts in Christmas time 2012 when I requested a Nest 2nd Gen programmable thermostat. The product was gorgeous, simple to use, and apparently the obvious option for almost all home owners trying to upgrade to a better thermostat. Nest is additionally very popular with homeowners who have an Apple device and take pleasure in the capability to check out and modify schedules from an Apple device remotely. Sadly, my personal passion for the Nest decreased rapidly. A phone call to Nest support team within the initial few days of ownership verified that the “set temperature” is simply regarded as “a desired ambient temp.” Which means that as opposed to Honeywell thermostats, THE NEST HAS A 3 or 4 DEGREE +/- SWING! This became cause many issues with programming within the forthcoming several weeks with Nest kicking ON the heat when it was cold (as it should), but then STOPPING the heating system 2-3 degrees BEFORE getting to my set temp! This particular main flaw (for me) became the downfall of the Nest. Almost all elements of interacting and looking at Nest are enjoyable using a truly amazing web/iPhone user interface, along with usage of very good quality glass and metal parts, which establish a legendary design/interface which sets apart the Nest from the competitors. This 3 degree +/- temperature swing from the set temp designed by Nest engineers to “help conserve power and reduce yearly heating and cooling expenses” with no solution to edit this from the set temp, well, next, I had to look elsewhere for a programmable thermostat which is in fact functional with regards to heating and cooling my home to an appropriate temperature.

After a couple of nice and useful calls with Nest customer service who eventually couldn’t fix my problem, I ended up returning my Nest to Amazon and starting my search for a alternative product.

Choosing an ideal product right after having a Nest turned out to be a really complicated task. Initially, absolutely nothing seemed to compare! It took a few days to eliminate thermostats by Venstar and Ecobee since the price tags were higher, the design and style was just alright, and what eventually affected my decision was the concern of incompatibility with my simple heating/cooling system and potentially requiring a professional to come in and perform the install. Following the problems with Nest, further complicating things with a costly install did not sound appealing.

Honeywell

I finally decided on the Honeywell RTH8580WF. For $149 price tag on Amazon (as of today – the price is $122 (April 23th)), I was capable of getting all the functionality of the Nest with simply a slightly sacrificed design. The screen is very large, sharp, and simple to understand – use. The touchscreen display is effective despite it appearing just a little dated in comparison to modern devices like the iPhone or iPad, on the other hand I appreciate that by default the product continuously glows a dim green color which can be read at night time or day and brightens up whenever you touch the display to make an adjustment. This particular setting can be turned off in order that the display is dark constantly unless the screen is touched (I guess you may want to turn it off, if the thermostat is located in your bedroom).

The web interface for the Honeywell is excellent. I had very low expectations in this department before having the product. For whatever reason though, it is simple to use, enjoyable to work with, and quite reliable. The setup procedure to get the Honeywell on my network was super easy. After installing the thermostat on the wall and connected, it did not take very long to get the system registered on Honeywell’s internet site and get started scheduling out my week from my personal computer.

The only possible issue that you may have is the ‘C wire’. My old thermostat used four wires: White, Red, Green and Yellow (W,R, G, Y). Nest also only required the same four wires to run. However, for Honeywell a “C wire” is REQUIRED to power the unit. Once I managed to add the ‘C Wire’ the unit started working and has been working like a charm ever since.

My only issue regarding the Honeywell is the fact that 7-day schedule for the week can’t be modified through the iPhone application. This is a minor complaint overall. The present temperature may still be modified through the Honeywell application, etc. just fine, and the application has a decent user interface and it is quite simple to use. It also displays the present outside temperature for my neighborhood combined with the five day forecast! Nest was lacking this built into their application.

Overall, I would personally highly recommend the Honeywell RTH8580WF programmable thermostat to any home owner planning to upgrade to a WiFi smart thermostat. In case you do not want or require the WiFi accessibility, the product is very attractive to look at on the wall and work with. Honeywell customer service was very punctual, polite, and very helpful when I called, precisely the same excellent support I received with Nest.

If you’re ok with the +/- 3 degree swing from the set temp of your thermostat and want a remarkably gorgeous piece of art and functionality on your wall, choose the Nest. On the other hand, in case you are like me and wish to be comfortable without continuously manually switching the heat on/off, choose the Honeywell which maintains your house within +/- 1 degree of the set temp.

I would like to talk about some customers’ concerns that I’ve read in a few reviews regarding a number of thermostats continuously switching on/off to preserve a set temperature and this being damaging to the heating unit. I haven’t noticed this to be an issue in my house with this Honeywell thermostat. The product simply switches on/off when needed – like a thermostat should.

I hope this review will help someone out there who is planning for an upgrade to a smart programmable thermostat.

   

Mar 252014
 
Honeywell RTH2300B1012

Honeywell thermostats have a worldwide reputation for both reliability and ease of use; and here is another example: Honeywell Home/Bldg Center RTH2300B1012 5/2-Day Programmable Thermostat. This programmable thermostat is a great tool for easily controlling home heating and cooling; without paying a lot of money to purchase the device. The Honeywell RTH2300B1012 Programmable Thermostat is a 5+2 Day programmable thermostat – one program for weekdays, a separate program for weekends. Maybe this is not the best programmable thermostat on the market, but definitely it does the job.

There is a known fact that I mentioned earlier in another review; many of the programmable thermostats are never being programmed. They keep running on the pre-set configuration! This particular thermostat comes with an efficient program, so you will not need to change much – if you wish :-)

Let’s look into the overall features of Honeywell RTH2300B1012:

  • One program for weekdays, a separate program for weekends-4 periods per day
  • Backlit digital display Continue reading »
Feb 272014
 
Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell thermostats have a worldwide reputation for both reliability and ease of use; and Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is not an exception. This programmable wi-fi thermostat is a great tool for easily controlling home heating and cooling. Thermostat giant Honeywell created this particular Wi-Fi enabled product in direct response to the revolutionary Nest Learning Thermostat.

So, what makes Honeywell’s Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat unique and better(or worse) than Nest?

In short, the Honeywell provides much more predictable design and style features, a significantly busier home display, and, in some cases, a bit more complicated set-up process. There are several additional minor deviations between models, but the design, style and set up will be the primary deal breakers. In which the Nest product packaging is quite like that of an Apple company product, (which has very good details; that I mentioned in my Nest review) the Honeywell is relatively no-frills. I would suggest the Honeywell Wi-Fi  Thermostat to anybody who values traditional design and doesn’t require hand-holding through the installation.

This Honeywell is really a a bit sleeker  version of the older  thermostat you most likely have at your home currently. On the home screen, the thermostat displays the date, time, the indoor / outdoor humidity and temperature, and up and down arrows so that you can adjust the temperature manually. If your current thermostat is bigger than this model and  since it doesn’t come with different size base plates, you may end up with clearly visible paint job on all sides after the installation.

Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat is currently #2 at Amazon Best Programmable Thermostat ranking (right after the famous Nest). I think we can consider that this is one of the best programmable thermostats in the market.

Let’s look into the overall features of Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat: Continue reading »

Jan 302014
 
Honeywell Prestige 2.0

Honeywell thermostats have a worldwide reputation for both reliability and ease of use; and Honeywell THX9321R5030 Prestige 2.0 HD Thermostat is not an exception. This programmable thermostat is a great tool for easily controlling home heating and cooling. The Prestige thermostat is a 7 Day programmable, high definition color touch screen thermostat that practically programs itself by asking you intuitive questions instead of a manual programming interface. This thermostat’s enhanced thermostat features and extended warranty (5 years of warranty) puts this one into a different position in this game; and this can be defined as one of the best programmable thermostats in the market.

There is a known fact : many of the programmable thermostats are never being programmed. they keep running on the pre-set configuration!  The Honeywell Prestige 2.0 has “Interview-Based Programming wizard” to easily and confidently schedule thermostat temperatures and times. I am sure, the customers who has this thermostat at home, indeed program their thermostats :-)

Let’s look into the overall features of The Honeywell Prestige 2.0:

  • Date First Available May 7, 2012 (being 1,5 years in the market and having 4.4/5 stars rating is a big “plus” for me)
  • Hazmat# UN3091 Lithium metal batteries packed in / comes with the equipment (battery-powered thermostat)
  • Configurable for residential and light commercial applications
  • wifi capable (but you have to purchase the Redlink internet gateway – which connects to your router). Then you can set temperatures from anywhere by computer/phone/tablet app.
  • Controls humidification, dehumidification, or ventilation (works with RedLINK™ accessories including the RedLINK™ Internet Gateway)
  • Portable Comfort Control, Wireless Outdoor Sensor and Wireless Indoor Sensor (they don’t come with the product, needs to be purchased separately)
  • Flexible enough for many different setups; meaning Honeywell Prestige 2.0 HD Thermostat can control just about any combination of HVAC and IAQ equipment that you might have :
    • Up to 3H/2C Heat Pump & 2H/2C Conventional
      • Up to 4 Cool Conventional using the universal outputs [commercial only].
      • Up to 3 Heat Conventional using the universal outputs.
      • Up to 4 heat/2 Cool Heat Pump using the universal outputs.
      • Up to 2 stages of Geothermal Radiant Heat using the universal outputs.
  • Alerts and User Interactions Log – Keeps a searchable history
  • USB port for transferring Installer Setup, Customizable Reminders
  • Precise temperature control (± 1 F) for reliable and consistent temperature

 

Honeywell Prestige 2.0 HD Thermostat Installation and Setup

You do not need to be an expert to install Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Thermostat, especially if you already have a C power wire. Which means you need a C wire for the installation. With basic knowledge of wiring, you can do it yourself with a little bit of research. But as I usually say; better to be on the safe side : If you are not really comfortable with the installation, please hire someone for this work. Yes, hiring someone will cost you some money; but spending some money is much better than to end up with a furnace problem or -even worse- with a fire…

If you have all the required wires (including the C wire), installation is pretty easy and isn’t any harder than any other thermostat. If needed, the installation manual is available on line if you search for it (not putting the link here, cause I believe still you are looking for a thermostat to buy – not ready for the installation :-) ).

 

 

Features:

Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Thermostat comes with many features. All these small and well thought features shows us that this is a well designed programmable thermostat. Here is the features of Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Thermostat:

  • Large, easy-to-read backlit full color display shows current indoor temperature and humidity, temperature setting, date and time on the home screen. Also displays outdoor temperature and humidity on home screen (if wireless outdoor sensor is installed)
  • 7 day programmable, configurable for residential and light commercial (meets commercial code and is title 24 compliant.), up to 3 heat / 2 cool heat pump and up to 2 heat / 2 cool conventional
  • Schedule holidays and custom events, remote setback, economizer and time of day. Continue reading »
Jan 072014
 
Honeywell RTH6450D1009

I will continue the programmable thermostat reviews with a cheaper, but still powerful model today, “Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1-Day Programmable ThermostatHoneywell RTH6450D1009 Programmable Thermostat. This thermostat has all required functions as a programmable thermostat :

  • user friendly display (easy to to program)
  • different settings for weekdays – saturday and sunday
  • 4 program periods per day
  • ENERGY STAR rated
  • back-lit display (so, you can use it even at night – when no lights are on)
  • shows room and set temperature on the screen
  • Smart Response Technology (detailed explanation below)
  • Easy access battery compartment (you don’t need to remove the cover or remove the thermostat from the wall to change the batteries)

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a thermostat and only want to have a programmable one, Honeywell RTH6450D1009 is for you. Or maybe you want to have a fancier model for your living room (either Nest Learning Thermostat, or Venstar T5800), and have this one for the basement (if you have multi-zone heating / cooling). It is easy to install, easy to program, and does the work properly. Here is more detailed review.

Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1 Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell RTH6450D1009 5-1-1 Programmable Thermostat

Honeywell RTH6450D1009 Installation and Setup

You can install this unit in 15 minutes with a Phillips screwdriver and a mini-Flathead screwdriver; it takes 30 minutes at most if you give a break during the process :-) It is so unbelievably simple – especially if you have 2 wired system. Once you opened the existing thermostat, label the wires based on where they are hooked to the current thermostat and reconnect them to the new unit. Very simple, very easy to accomplish. I believe; if you can physically turn a screwdriver, you can install this unit. Continue reading »