Get Smart With Your Heating and Cooling
The difference between using smart thermostat technology and using an old-fashioned thermostat is like the difference between driving the kids to school in an SUV and taking them there in a horse and buggy. Once you go “smart,” you’ll never go back. If you are like me, you’ll also be a bit miffed over how much money you’ve probably wasted over the years on unnecessary heating and cooling.
Albert Butz invented the first thermostat in 1886, a device which he called the “damper flapper.” Why mention him? Butz’s company would merge with a heating company founded by Mark Honeywell 40 years later. From that point, the consolidated Honeywell International has been the leader in residential and commercial heating and cooling regulation. Put another way, these guys wrote the book on designing and manufacturing thermostats.
The Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat is the company’s latest creation. To say thermostats have come a long way since 1886 is obvious; to say they’ve come a long way in the last few years is not an understatement. This new thermostat represents a radical leap into the smart technology you’ve come to rely on with your mobile phone, television, and other gadgets. I don’t know about you, but I fit firmly in the “give me convenience or give me death” crowd, and this thermostat fits that outlook perfectly. Let’s take a closer look.
Smart technology focuses on providing unheard-of control to the user, but in a fashion which is elegantly simple to use. In other words: “I’m not a programmer, don’t make me program, just let me push a button or two to get what I need.” This thermostat certainly does that. Let’s start with the fact you can control the device from anywhere in the world with its WiFi feature. While Honeywell is big on “around the world” claims (which are true), the practical importance is very real.
Imagine that your child comes home sick from school on a winter’s day, but you are just about to go into a major meeting with a client. The house is cold, because it makes no sense to spend money heating it while nobody is home. No problem. You can just open the Honeywell app on your phone, instruct the thermostat to heat the home up to 70, and head into your meeting without even feeling slightly guilty that your child is suffering in a freezing house. That is technology we can all use.
Honeywell even incorporates smart technology into determining the appearance of the thermostat control panel itself. It’s framed in silver, but you have the ability to set the color of the panel screen to blend into the décor around it. Some smart thermostats such as Nest have blazing lighted panels, with pre-determined colors like “Terminator Red’ when the home is being heated. With the Honeywell, if you are installing the thermostat on a wall painted buttercream yellow, you can adjust the panel to a matching yellow so that it blends right in. It’s a small detail, but evidence of just how much thought Honeywell has given to including smart technology in this revolutionary thermostat.Click here to see pricing and reviews on Amazon.com
The Honeywell WiFi offers extremely intuitive programming options. The system starts by asking you if the thermostat is being used in a home or business. It then provides a suggested schedule of heating or cooling depending on the season, the expected use of the space and even the coming five-day forecast. Yes, you read that correctly. This smart thermostat keeps track of the five-day forecast for your area by accessing weather data online through WiFi.
But I digress.
Let’s assume you are using the thermostat in an office. The Honeywell WiFi thermostat may suggest a schedule that which shuts down the heating system during evening hours when the office is closed. If you find this a good idea, your heating expense will drop by 33-percent, since you won’t be burning fuel for those eight hours of office downtime each day. The schedule can also easily be overridden with the push of a button if you or a co-worker is burning the midnight oil.
Home scheduling is just as easy and advantageous with this thermostat. Depending on how cool the evenings are in your area, the thermostat can be programmed with the click of a few buttons to turn off at night, and then heat the home around 5 am so it is nice and toasty when you wake up. Nobody home during hot summer days? The air conditioning can be turned off from 9 am to 4 pm, and then automatically turned back on late in the afternoon so you come home to a pleasantly cool house.
Peak Hours Savings
One of the features of the Honeywell that I absolute love is the peak utility hours feature. This smart thermostat can access records from your local utility company to determine the times of the day or evening when electricity is most expensive (known as peak hours). The Honeywell will then automatically adjust your heating and cooling schedule to minimize energy use during these times. For example, if peak hours for cooling in the summer are 2 to 4 in the afternoon, the Honeywell may increase the cooling between 1 to 2 pm to create a reservoir of cooler air in the home. This tactic will reduce the need to run the air conditioner during peak hours and save you a princely sum. You can adjust it manually if you wish, but allowing the thermostat to make these changes can save you a fortune in utility bills over the years.
While there are so many features to this thermostat that it is impossible to detail all of them, there is one I just have to highlight. Smart Response is an internal analysis system which monitors how you program the thermostat over time. The Honeywell then starts to tweak its heating and cooling schedule to match what you typically program. The device will continue to “learn” for years.
This is where things get really interesting. Over time, this smart Honeywell device will learn which temperatures you prefer each week of the calendar year. As it processes this data and identifies trends, it should start setting the temperature controls to your desired levels for each month of the year automatically. After a year or two, you may never need to touch the thermostat again except for special occasions. How amazing is that?
If a learning thermostat is a bit too spooky for you, the Smart Response feature can be turned off at any time. I wouldn’t recommend it. Nothing is worse than manually changing your thermostat, forgetting you’ve done it and then waking up at 6 am to a frigid home.
Smart technology is certainly wonderful, but not if you need an engineering degree to get the device to function. No problem; the Honeywell Smart WiFi Thermostat is surprisingly easy to install. As with any DIY project which involves electricity, you must turn off the electricity in the area before unscrewing your old thermostat. In a neat twist, this Honeywell thermostat is designed to match the wiring for your old manual thermostat. Insert the proper wires into the provided ports, place the thermostat on the wall using an included brace, and turn the electricity back on. Congratulations, you’ve completed the hardware installation. If anything, it is even easier than this description makes it sound, and Honeywell has put together a step-by-step video here
to walk you through the process.
Once the hardware is hooked up, you need to set the digital features. The first step is to access the screen on the thermostat. Instead of using the traditional “read the manual” approach, Honeywell has realized that few men read instructions (and that more and more women are following suit) and has incorporated a brief question-and-answer protocol to set up the thermostat. The first question asks you whether the structure is a home or business. Answer the question, and you will then be asked to answer a few more questions to set up and program the thermostat to your personal requirements. The whole process takes just a few minutes.
Honeywell provides an app you can download to your smartphone, tablet or computer to access the Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat remotely. The “Total Connect Comfort App” gives you full access to the thermostat to enter information into the control panel, whether you’re in another room or another state. The app works on iOS and Android systems, and is completely free – unlike the apps that come with some other smart home devices.
Other Key Features
“Yes, but it’s a dry heat.” The Honeywell will let you know if that is actually true. Humidity plays a significant role in how we perceive temperatures, and this thermostat monitors the humidity in your home or place of business. That way, you can know whether it is time to fire up the dehumidifier to help make things comfortable in the summer, or time to turn on the humidifier in the winter to avoid your skin drying out and cracking.
If you have kids, you know those bundles of joy aren’t fully aware of what things cost. It can be really aggravating coming home from a hard August day at work, to find that your home has been chilled to 50 degrees by your son or daughter who was “a little hot.” The thought of your upcoming utility bill may heat things up for you momentarily, but it’s not a viable solution to the problem. This Honeywell smart thermostat has the real answer, because it lets you lock out all other users, kids or otherwise. If you don’t have children, the feature is still useful because you can lock the screen for 30 seconds while you clean it.
Maintenance of the system is exceedingly simple – there is none. The Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat is one of the best thermostats on today’s market and is powered by the electrical system in your home, so there is no need to continually replace batteries. In fact, this thermostat will monitor the heating and cooling system already installed in your home and tell you when it thinks you need to change the filters. Clean filters make for more efficient systems, which saves you money. This monitoring feature is just another small detail that makes Honeywell Smart Thermostats the best on the market.
With more than 120 years of experience, Honeywell knows how to make thermostats. The Honeywell WiFi Smart Thermostat reflects the lessons learned over all that time, while incorporating the new advances in smart technology we can no longer live without. If you are ready to get smart about your heating and cooling, this thermostat is for you.