|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 12:43:01 PM
I'm interested in setting up a remotely controlled thermostat for a vacation home.
The primary use would be to set the temp to low when away from the home and turn the temp up when heading to the house. This will be helpful for when we *forget* to turn down the heat when we leave (or when guests forget).
I believe the Venstar/Insteon system could work, allowing access via smartphone app.
The concerns I have are:
1. whether the thermostats are easy to use by those who are unfamiliar with the system
2. whether the overall remote control system is reliable
My preference would be a thermostat that is not actually programmed - I think this will add a layer of complexity. Is there such a system that would allow for easy manual control of temps as well as through an internet-device (browser/phone/app)?
Any guidance is appreciated
|13 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 3:52:10 PM
No problems with the wireless. We always leave it on away - we're in a cold climate so we need a minimum temp at all times to keep the pipes from freezing
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 1:59:06 PM
Chris, two other questions...and I hope I'm not a bother. One deals with connectivity. Have you had any issues losing the wireless connection to the Nest? It'd be a pain to have to go to the vacation place every so often to have to re-establish the connection. I'm assuming you've had no problems since you recommend the unit and this would be a problem. In my application Nest t-stat would probably be located not over 2' from my wireless modem. Secondly, when you're not at your vacation place (and no renters, etc are there) do you put the unit in away mode and just turn the heat way down?? or do you turn the unit to "off" (if it can be turned on and off remotely). Thanks again for your input.
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 09:07:23 AM
I can't reply about the wiring - I wired ours up to the existing wires (I believe just two wires) to the forced-air furnace. We have not had any issues with battery life, etc.
For away.. Yes, the device can be set to automatically enter away mode after a period of inactivity. The thermostat has a motion sensor (that turns the display on when you approach). You can configure the time delay when the device should automatically go in to away mode. I believe we have ours set for 24 hours. You might also be able to turn off this setting.
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 08:57:07 AM
Thanks for the reply. I just looked more intensely at the Nest. A couple of questions. In the installation, it mentions that the unit doesn't require a "C" wire 99% of the time. It mentions that the unit has Lithium battery and recharges itself. I have a basic understanding of t-stat wiring but is it getting the power to recharge via one of the other lines if it doesn't require the common? If I remember correctly, I'm 99% sure I don't have the C wire to the existing t-stats now. Also, it mentions that there are "sensors" to assess when the unit goes into "away" mode. One fella mentioned that when he was in his home office, the unit went into away mode and shut the heat off. I'm guessing it was sensing no one was at home. How does this work? I'm like you...I basically want the unit to act like a "dumb" thermostat EXCEPT for it allowing me to control it via the internet.
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 08:11:53 AM
We ended up going with a Nest thermostat. You can turn off the learning function pretty easily which is what we did so we just use it for 'Away' mode and then as a relatively dumb thermostat when we're around.
The remote interface (we use android and iOS apps) is really easy and informative. And the thermostat itself is very straightforward -easy for guests to use.
I highly recommend if you're not looking to control any additional devices other then thermostat.
||Posted - 03/03/2013 : 06:30:51 AM
Hello everyone, I just joined the forum and have basically the same question as the original poster. I was wondering if chrisknuet has tried any of the suggested options. I too have a vacation place and am using a "control products" device which alerts me of pre-set temperature variances AND allows me to toggle between two thermostats which are presently set to "off" and "54 degrees" to prevent pipe bursts in winter. I would like better thermostat control (ie web based via a "smart" thermostat) to more precisely control temperature (ie if I plan to visit the home, I can set the temp to say, 68 degrees so its warm when we arrive). I'm not looking for other bells and whistles ie "learning" thermostats, or other indoor functions like lights, etc. I have read horror stories about some of the t-stats on the market that aren't so reliable (ie returning to the home to find the heat is turned up to 90 degrees, etc.). I do have wireless internet available in the home. So, any recommendations?
||Posted - 03/27/2012 : 6:19:07 PM
If you don't have internet in your vacation home or use you mobile phone to provide it, there is a product called cottagesitter that has a relay built in which you can dial in an control. You can use the relay to wire in a second thermostat in parallel with the main thermostat that can be set to turn up your heat in the cold weather or AC in warm weather well ahead of when you arrive. it also monitors a number of other things such as power, sound, temp, plus 4-8 contact security sensors for motion, glass break, door/window sensors, etc. It can call multiple phone numbers and reports any trigger conditions. It speaks the condition reports. You can also call anytime and it will report conditions. I had a second place for years and used it to monitor my place while I was not there. It is worth a look and costs about $350 but it addresses multiple issues in one package.
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 5:54:35 PM
Nest works exactly as you describe. Off mode, away mode and heat or cool. Away has min/ max safety temp. The only caveat is away applies to the whole house, rather than individual thermostat. Further, you can turn off learning and just set a schedule online. It doesn't have to be online to follow the schedule. Another caveat - away cannot be set by schedule, you can only set temp. But you cat still set away by hand online.
Not that Insteon system is bad. It was a choice between the two for me. But if you want online control, nest has it out of the box.
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 4:18:06 PM
The reason I haven't really considered the Nest is that I imagine it's trying to do things too automagically, which concerns me a little. Their website is an example of what I'm talking about - lots of high-level descriptions and difficulty finding the details. If that's how their product works too (which I see as ideal for a large number of customers.. so I get why they do it that way) then I'm worried that I wouldn't be able to just set it up the way I want it to work.
Since we will be away from this home for long periods of time, I don't want a system that is trying to create any kind of daily routines - what I really want is 2 modes: away or home. (In this case, away isn't the same as 'off' - we'll want to keep the temps at a minimum and still avoid freezing.) I see that the Nest has an 'away' mode but that it's based on a motion detector.. it's not clear to me how that would work at night vs when we're not in the house, and whether we'd really be able to have the settings that we'd want.
It sounds like the Insteon system could be a good solution for us.
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 1:20:24 PM
You can program the thermostat and not use the programming. Set the thermostat to off.
When needed, select a mode, for example, heat or cool, and a temperature. When not needed, turn it off. I've programmed both thermostats (two zones), but we prefer manual* operation mostly due to southwest coast weather
There are a few occasions when we set the thermostat to Auto.
Reliability should not be a problem in a stable environment.
*by manually pressing buttons on Remotelinc's.
Edit: The 7-day thermostat has features not included with the 1-day version. The Owner's Manuals are available on-line.
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 1:04:57 PM
Having recently installed Nest thermostats in my house, it's hard to recommend anything else. Very well designed and well built product. Also very easy to use and have plenty of features. Does require Wi-Fi though but can be controlled from the web or mobile device.
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 1:01:00 PM
Thanks for the reply. From what I've read, I was expecting that I would need more than just the thermostat to make it remotely accessible.
When you say the thermostat can be set to non-programable, you mean that I could, say, buy the 1-day thermostat and just not set any time-based temps? That way, anyone could just select a higher/lower temp at any time and it wouldn't be overrun by a programmed setting? That sounds like a reasonable solution.
What about the reliability of the system? Assuming a stable electrical and internet supply, what is the general feeling about the reliability of the setup? Do people have issues with having to re-register devices, re-establish internet connectivity, etc.,?
||Posted - 03/26/2012 : 12:54:52 PM
The Venstar/Insteon thermostat is not web accessible. It can be part of an Insteon home automation network (remote control of nearly everything electrical and more).
A SmartLinc allows web control of the Inseon network including the thermostat which, BTW, also functions as a stand-alone thermostat. The thermostat can be set to be non-programable, if desired.
With an Insteon network, you'll also be able to turn off lights that guests may have left on, or turn them on if you're arriving at night. Even more
Edit: I've not had any difficult accessing my west coast Insteon home network from various locations including Europe.