7 posts / 0 new
Last post
"Smart", internet thermostats

Hi, I have a vacation home that I primarily use in the summers (it's on the coast). I have a hot water boiler heating system. I generally keep the place "open" during the winter (this is in the mid-Atlantic). I installed an alarm/relay "system" that alerts me via phone if the temperature in the place falls below a set point, etc. It also allows me to toggle between two thermostats (via the phone) so I can turn the heat on if there's a danger of a hard freeze, etc. The system has worked great except I'd like better control over the heat function in the event I want to visit the place during the winter (ie set the heat via a smartphone, etc. rather than toggle between off and a set temperature: 54 degrees ). I've been researching the Internet programmable thermostats (ie Nest, etc.) and am finding that there are a fair amount of them out there. Some of them appear to be problematic. I'm looking for one that would be reliable AND with fewer bells and whistles (ie I don't need it to "learn" my heating/cooling habits etc.). Any recommendations by anyone who's tried any of these?

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

I'm a bit confused. Why don't you just set the current thermostats to a low temp like 50 degrees so you don't have to deal with alarms and such?

That said, the Nest units are nice. I just bought one and the app lets you adjust the temp remotely and will even tell you how long till it reaches the set point. If you're looking for a simple unit the Nest fits the bill and the price is reasonable.

As for the auto learn and such, with the Nest you can just turn those features off and just have a set temp setting. Considering you aren't there for large periods of time the unit will just go into away mode where it will keep the house above a preset low temp.

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

Sorry for the late reply. I am/was looking to not have to "run" heat if I didn't have to worry about the pipes freezing, etc. I was also looking to have the ability to warm up the house to say, 68 degrees if we planned on visiting it during the off season. I settled on a "Filtrete" Wifi enabled thermostat. I'm not paying for the "learning" bells and whistles (which I didn't need) but its allowing me to remotely set the temp. So far so good...it's doing exactly what I wanted.

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

These are a neat idea, but what if something goes wrong which means you have more issues than convenience. I would stay away from these.

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

In my experience, when thermostats are too smart, they usually come crashing down.

I have listened to my A/C long ago and have installed mechanical non programmable thermostats only, in all my properties. Very few problems.

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

I have a similar vacation home challenge, but my problem is that it has hot water baseboard heating in FIVE(!) separate zones! I've googled up a storm but can find no Internet savvy controllers that can handle five zones. Do I have to install five separate thermostats and have five iPhone/ipad apps?

And further I hope to install mini-split AC in several rooms someday. Will I need two separate thermostats for those rooms?

Re: "Smart", internet thermostats

As I mentioned, so far the Wifi thermostat is delivering as promised. As pointed out in my first post, I do have an "alarm" status indicator that will alert me (phone call) if the temp goes above or below set points which I set. This system has worked flawlessly for me for the last 8 yrs or so. The filtrete thermostat also has a function where it will alert you (send you an email) if the temp goes out of a set range (it's an upgraded service). I'm figuring with these alerts that if the t-stat were to decide on its own to heat the house to 95 degrees, I would get an alert AND could then act accordingly (shut off the t-stat remotely or take a trip down to the house and shut the t-stat off). When I look back, I feel I was behind the curve when cell phones came out, Personal computers, etc. I thought these things were only a fad. Well, I think smart home automation is the next wave. We'll see...so far so good. Re: tscott's situation. If you have 5 separate zones w/ 5 t-stats, yes, I believe you would need 5 "smart" t-stats. I haven't seen any controller that will control multiple t-stats. I have a separate zone for my upstairs that I have just left on the manual t-stat. You would only need one "app" though because you can name and control several t-stats in your home on the one app. I also have ductless, mini split A/C in this home. These units run off of a "remote" t-stat...one for each unit/room (similar to your tv remote). I don't think you could set them up to be controlled by a smart t-stat. In my case, I was more concerned with winter heating.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.