Homeowner's Choice: The Right Thermostat for Your Home

It starts at the Hub

Nest has produced a beautiful thermostat; the hardware is top notch and the user experience immediately understandable. For a consumer who has an aging mercury dial thermostat always set to 72° or a programmable thermostat that is still blinking 12:00AM, the Nest might be the right device. But if you are reading this, chances are that you want more than just the ability to control temperature remotely. You want to control lights and other appliances. This article will attempt to point out the advantages of choosing an Insteon thermostat along with expansion options.

An educated consumer is an empowered consumer and to help you make the best choice for your home, consider three things that an Insteon Thermostat adds to your home automation system.

Multiple Thermostats

Many homes have two thermostats controlling their heating and cooling system: One for the main floor and another for the second floor. A two-thermostat system can work well to balance the temperature needs of a home and while multiple Nest thermostats will work together to coordinate their auto-away feature, currently, Nest thermostats do not communicate to adjust a whole house's temperature. Each Nest maintains its own schedule system. In many situations, this may be more than adequate.

For a home owner who is considering adding advanced climate control characteristics, the benefits of more than two thermostats may be appealing.

Room-Specific Climate Zones

Much of the heating or cooling energy in a forced air system is wasted on rooms that are unused. Installing duct dampers can help to direct air conditioning to only the rooms that are actually needed. Dampers work by blocking the flow of air in the ductwork and can be installed to close off sections of a house or individual rooms, depending on the level of control desired. When wired to an Insteon I/O Linc, a damper becomes a device on your Insteon network that can be addressed directly by Insteon devices and managed by an Insteon central controller.

Without a central controller, an Insteon Motion Sensor can be added to rooms with dampers and linked to the I/O Linc. When motion is detected, the duct damper will open, providing heating or cooling to the room and when the room becomes unoccupied, the damper will close.

Using a central controller like HouseLinc or Perceptive Automation's Indigo, the exact temperature in each room can be monitored and controlled. Adding an Insteon Wireless Thermostat in each room that is configured with a duct damper can provide amazingly accurate and granular temperature control on a room-specific level. If the temperature in the master bedroom falls at night, the Wireless Thermostat will report back to the Insteon Thermostat controlling your heating and cooling system, heating just the bedroom while keeping all of the other dampers closed to minimize the energy used. The same system can keep a living room walled with windows cool in the summer.

Sensory Input

Available for installation on every Insteon Wireless Thermostat, a Waterproof Temperature Sensor can be added to provide monitoring of environments that are less than ideal for the thermostat itself. The small sensor bulb can be installed in hard-to-reach areas that are still critical to monitor.

The temperature in a home's attic can greatly influence the temperature of the entire home. Using a Wireless Thermostat with the Waterproof Temperature Sensor mounting in the attic space, your home can monitor this often-ignored area and trigger heating and cooling events based on the attic temperature. Installing an attic-mounted circulation fan and On/Off Micro Module, your thermostat can exhaust hot air building up in the attic before your air condition system needs to work overtime to displace the heat.

Just as much as the attic influences cooling costs, a frigid basement in winter means longer heater runs and the potential for disastrous water damage if temperatures approach freezing. Installing a Wireless Temperature Sensor with Waterproof Temperature Sensor in a basement can help keep the rest of your home warm in the winter by maintaining a minimum heat temperature and monitoring for freeze conditions that might cause poorly insulated water pipes to burst.

Placing the temperature bulb in a pool or spa lets your home monitor areas not traditionally controlled by a thermostat. Configure an Insteon Keypad button to turn on your spa pump and heater with an InsteonN 220V Load Controller and maintain the perfect temperature. The Wireless Thermostat will regulate the spa heater, turning it on to heat the water and turning it off when it reaches the desired temperature.

System Interaction

By far the most powerful aspect of the Insteon Thermostat is the fact that it is a single component of an entire home control and automation system. Homeowners who have invested in an Insteon system will likely find the nearly limitless options for expansion the biggest boon. Insteon has always been a system that has only been limited by the imagination of the installer; a do-it-yourselfer's dream, Insteon can be modified to work into any home and any set of conditions. There may be more legwork involved and the more you know about your home, the more you can achieve, but for those with the will, a multi-zoned, individually controlled, attic and basement monitoring HVAC system is an achievable reality.

Specifications Compared

 

See how the Insteon Thermostat and the Nest stack up against each other, spec-to-spec.

 

  Insteon Thermostat Nest Thermostat
  Insteon Thermostat Nest
General
Product Name Insteon Thermostat Nest
Brand / Manufacturer Insteon Nest
Manufacturer Product No. 2441TH T200577
Warranty 2 years, limited 2 years of hardware warranty
Purchase Price $149 $249
Purchase Price with Remote Access $149 Thermostat + $129 Hub -
Expansion Options
Multiple Thermostats Two Wireless Thermostats can be linked to a Wired Thermostat and used to adjust temperature. Unlimited Wired and Wireless Thermostats can be linked to a central controller. One Nest per heating or cooling system. Thermostats work together to coordinate auto-away.
Alert Support
Email Alerts Check* Check
Conditional Alerts (only send alerts based on time, device state, etc.) Check** N/A
Mechanical
System Compatibilty Works with most systems except for line voltage and heat pumps Works with most systems except for line voltage
Wire Connections Common 24V Common 24V
  Power 24V Power 24V
  Heat 1 Heat 1
  Heat 2 Heat 2
  N/A Heat 3
  Fan Fan
  Cooling 1 Cooling 1
  Cooling 2 Cooling 2
Display Backlit blue (adjustable brightness) 24 bit color, 320 x 320 pixel display, 1.75" diameter
Dimensions 5.7" x 3.6" x 1.1" (14.5cm x 9.1 cm x 2.8cm) 3.27" Diameter x 1.26" Depth (83.0mm Diameter x 32.0mm Depth)
Electrical
Voltage 24VAC 24VAC
Wireless Insteon RF 802.11b/g/n @ 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 @ 2.4GHz
Retains All Settings Without Power Yes, saved in non-volatile EEPROM Built-in Rechargable Lithium Ion Battery
Remote Access Support
iOS Check* Check
Android Check* Check
Mac OS X Browser* Browser
Linux Browser* Browser
Windows Check* Browser
Skill Level
Skill Level Intermediate - Advanced Easy

*Requires the Insteon Hub or other Insteon Central Controller

**Requires Insteon control software like HouseLinc, Indigo or an ISY



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