1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Economical WIFI Thermostat Recommendation?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by velvetfoot, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Would any of you have a recommendation for an economical WIFI thermostat? This is for my oil/hot water system.

    Thanks.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    12,288
    Loc:
    Western Mass.
    The variety of stuff out there these days is crazy!

    I think you have to make a decision as to exactly what you are going to use it for - and possible expansion of your system in the future. There are various standards around in terms of how these things talk to each other and to the web, etc.

    Lowes is pushing a system which has good ratings and uses a standardized system:
    http://www.lowes.com/cd_Comfort and Control Kit_663889394_#3-Comfort Control Kit

    There are a couple standards fighting for home automation - zigbee, insteon, Z-wave, etc...

    Z-wave, which is Lowe's, GE and others, seems to be pulling ahead...but who knows?
  3. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    668
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    I've got the Honeywell touch screen wifi model. Got it from Home Cheapo. Think it was $150. It's easy to setup and program. Can be accessed through a website with email addy and password. Supposed to have an iphone and ipad app, but I haven't tried to download it. The program setup is a bit simplistic, but should handle most peoples needs IMO. My biggest complaint is that I would like to have the ability to set up two separate 7 day programs that I can swap between for when I'm away at work (work far from home doing 60 rotations). It's not a big deal though. It only takes me a few minutes to change it.
  4. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Does the Honeywell, and maybe all of them, depend on the manufacturer website to work?
  5. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,595
    Loc:
    SE PA
    I got the Nest for $250 and like it a lot. Others favor te EcoBee.
  6. kingquad

    kingquad Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2010
    Messages:
    668
    Loc:
    Pennsylvania
    yes
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,595
    Loc:
    SE PA
    It depends on what you mean by 'work'....

    If your local wifi or manufacturers servers go down, the unit on the wall still runs your system, and (at least in the one I have, nest) still operates on a setback schedule. Mine has also recovered gracefully from a couple power outages, including a 5-day outage (i.e. picked up where they left off w/o human intervention). IOW, I think the reliability needs for a stat mandate fully autonomous 'local' operation w/o a network.

    BUT, of course if the wifi router, wifi connection or website goes down, then you get no remote access/control until it comes back. I think they can all be controlled completely from the built in interface without any network connection.

    So, if the company goes under (nest labs is a startup), then you have a non-wifi programmable thermostat. Mine also has a non-replaceable Li-battery in it that I suspect will last only 5-7 years.
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Ok, thanks. Even a relatively cheap one is a 100 bucks. It would be nice to check on house temp remotely and warm up the house before arrival, for domestic tranquility reasons. :)
    Another thing is there are two zones, upstairs and downstairs, each with a thermostat.

    Another wrinkle is that most require a 24volt source-I think mine is 2 wire, so a transformer would be needed. I saw one somewhere that just required batteries, but I don't know how long they would last with the wifi radio.

    The argument can, and was, made to get into home automation. The example noted earlier for a z wave product through Lowes also didn't take into account that interfacing equipment is only available through Lowes. Throw in cameras, alarm, obsolesence, etc, and jumping into home automation can be costly. Interesting, but costly.
  9. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,595
    Loc:
    SE PA
    The nest (and others I think) can steal power from the two-wire system (pulling enough current to power themselves, without closing the circuit to fire the system) to charge an onboard battery. But most of the negative reviews would indicate that that doesn't always work out well. I have a 'C' wire. Your system has a 24VAC supply somewhere already to run the logic....are you sure there isn't a C-wire in the stat wire bundle already, or an unused wire you could 'repurpose'?
  10. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I will look, but I'm pretty sure it's two conductor.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    http://motison.com/index.html
    I just ordered this one for $76.5. It does depend on the servers of a company that will last who knows how long, but I'm hoping for the best. What I like about is that it supposedly can restore itself after a power outage, whereas the Honeywell and the RadioThermostat (Filtrete) don't seem to (I emailed and chatted with their Support). The controlbyweb.com solution would have been more powerful, but for me, trickier to set up, as well as about 3 times as expensive after the sensor cover is included. Anyway, I'll report after I get it installed (have to run some wire.)
  12. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Update: It wouldn't work for me. I connect to wifi but something happens to the signal going from their server to the thermostat. It might have something to do with the cell modem but they weren't going to do any more troubleshooting. I'm returning it. The company seems to be a small startup out of the University of Kentucky. I talked to what probably was a principal of the firm today, Sunday, which was very impressive. You have to wonder how long it'll stay in operation though, since the thermostat, remote use as well as programming, depends on their server.
    Back on the hunt.
  13. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,595
    Loc:
    SE PA
    My nest did recover fully from a 5 day power outage, without human intervention. Of course, the price may be an issue.
  14. wenger7446

    wenger7446 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Messages:
    221
    Loc:
    Pottstown, PA
    What about the 3M Filterete CT-30 or CT-80. Look at the spec Perhaps that will work for you.
  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I installed the thermostat. Very easy. Connected to WIFI right off the bat. It is located on the first floor. I wired it to both zones, and still have the origiinal programmable stats in place. I figure I'll use it when I'm out and about for a while and the place cools off, so I can turn on the heat for a while before we get home. It's pretty advanced, not that I'll probably use it. It shows the outside temperature (rough-from Internet), and can use it in its algorithms to start the system at an appropriate time so that the set temp is met at the programmed time. It also display humidity, though it can't control a humidifier. You can also call up the day's, or the next four day's weather. Programming the setbacks and schedules may be done on the web portal or the unit. The unit is programmable either on the unit or from the web portal. The web page works well to control the thermostat. I'm still trying to download the Android app, so I can't say anything about that. Anyway, so far, so good.
  17. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Installed the app. Doesn't let you program, but lets you control most everything else. The temp on the thermostat and on the app is one degree off, for whatever reason.
  18. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,595
    Loc:
    SE PA
    How did you work out the 2-wire issue?
  19. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    I ran a 5 wire cable. It's on the first floor. I can't see an easy way to get up to the second floor, but for me, that might be even more money wasted. :)
  20. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    You can get some nice reports. Run time, temp history, humidity history, outdoor history
  21. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    Here is a (the) built in graph report:

    Capture.JPG
    woodgeek likes this.
  22. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
    It's interesting to see the house temps coast down. It was 82 shortly after the stove was loaded around 10 AM, and it's 70 now at 9 PM, with a general temp of a little below freezing. (The graph shows mid thirties, but it's alway colder here at 1500 feet than where whatever weather station it uses for my address.) I imagine it could tell me about the heat loss characteristics of my house, but I don't know how I'd calculate that, yet. Anectodally, it's way easier to heat the house when temps are around freezing, compared with colder.

    Capture.JPG
  23. RSNovi

    RSNovi Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    268
    Loc:
    Michigan
    How much did the Ecobee cost you?
  24. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    6,532
    Loc:
    Sand Lake, NY
  25. Mykayel

    Mykayel New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    14
    Do you have to pay a monthly (or yearly) service fee for the web access? Or is that included in most of these thermostats?

Share This Page