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Free Honeywell programmable thermostat
Old 07-30-2014, 02:31 PM   #1
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Free Honeywell programmable thermostat

Our local electric company is offering free Honeywell Wi-Fi programmable thermostats with free installation. You have to meet certain requirements about your HVAC system but that shouldn't be a problem.

I'm not sure how much we'd actually save, but I can see some uses. Looking into the details it appears the electric company reserves the right to text your unit(s) to raise or lower your unit by 3-5 degrees if they're reaching capacity. I'm all for saving money and helping conserve resources, but this is past my comfort zone. Almost Orwell like. I think if I really want one, I'll go buy a Nest. Any opinions? Anyone done this?
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:38 PM   #2
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I'm a cheapskate, and I'm all for saving energy.

But I've passed on any such offers. As luck seems to have it, when ever we entertain a large family group in the summer, it's on a hot day when we need the A/C running full on to keep up with the heat and warm bodies.

No way do I want the utility to be able to shut it off, just when we are likely to need it the most. Your situation may differ, so you need to evaluate for yourself. As far as fancy thermostats, I'm a KISS kind of guy. Full manual, I turn it up/down as needed - no 'algorithm' or timer is going to know my very random schedule better than me. No batteries required.

I don't want to have to worry about re-booting my thermostat.

-ERD50
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:10 PM   #3
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If you work 9-5 this might be worth it, because the most likely time they'd want to change the temp is during a week day. Otherwise I'd rather not lose control. I do like programmable thermostats though. I like having the house heated up a bit before I go to bed, and too often I'd forget to kick the heat or A/C back when I go away or go to bed. For a really random schedule, I can see how it wouldn't be worth the trouble, but I can temporarily override the schedule for up to 6 hours, or override it indefinitely, or put it in vacation mode to override until the day I return.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:02 PM   #4
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Lot of gee whiz factor. Some of the smart thermostats can tell if anyone is home and shut off cooling or heating - they can also tie in with your cell phone position locator and crank on the heat or cool when you get within a certain distance so the house is comfortable when you get home. Like ERD50, I just crank ours on as needed and let it get to the desired temp till I turn it off.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:18 PM   #5
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If they change the setpoint at the same time they knock out the "load control" suckers, ah, I mean customers, it's when it's super hot outside and you are trying to cook dinner. NOT worth a one time $20 thermostat! It wasn't worth a $10/mo summer kickback...I had em yank the load control devices. I never knew if the A/C failed or the load control kicked in...I just knew it was hot!
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:05 PM   #6
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I got them to put this in and it has been great. They agree that they will only ever increase the temp by 2 degrees C and if you really wanted to you could override them anyway. In the two years we've had it, we've never been 'controlled' - lol! I like it because I can go online and check the temp and set it remotely. DW tends to say to hot and turn it down to 66 or too cold and turn it up to 80 so it is nice to be able to just check up on it now and then. I'm afraid that maybe a couple of the children have inherited this habit. They also installed a whole house energy use monitor which is fun to play with as well. It's fun finding the vampires! They have promised to come and install a pool pump timer as part of the programme too. I was going to do it myself but since they offered...
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:08 PM   #7
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Hmmm. If the the utility co, can talk to your thermostat, it is likely the thermostat talks back.

Seems to me it is the same as inviting the meter reader to traipsy through you house whnever they feel like it.

The only way I would let them install one is if as soon as the installer leaves I unplug the internet connection. Yes I know that is cheating.

Long ago I had allowed the utility to add a disconnect to the AC's outdoor unit. The agreement was they could turn it off for max 15 minutes in any hour. Once I caught them tuning it off twice in an hour, I promptly bypassed the disconnect device. Helps to know how this stuff works.

A deal is a deal.
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Old 07-30-2014, 06:31 PM   #8
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Nothing in this thread about privacy or security.

Internet of things may be vulnerable to hacks.

If it's only the utility company controlling your thermostat, that would be one thing.

What if some malicious third party was doing it?


Now that Google has taken over Nest, that is out too, unless you don't mind them collecting data to market to you better.

Apple is pushing HomeKit for controlling home automation devices. Lets see if they do better for privacy.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:28 PM   #9
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I went for the power saver control box on a/c unit rather than thermostat.
I have two systems with the previous power saver devices, and had no problems.
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Old 07-30-2014, 08:28 PM   #10
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Our schedule is pretty normal; we're normally home so no thanks. We turned off the programable stuff on ours (came with the new A/C) and went full manual on it. We like simplicity.

And I want the temperature to stay where I set it. Not someone or something else.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:00 AM   #11
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I actually had a representative from the power company come to the door (recently) to try to get us to sign up for this….and am proud to say that he did not occupy his spot on the front porch for more than 30 seconds

30 years ago, they offered a similar program with the focus on your electric water heater…I actually signed up for that one….but it must not have been cost effective for them ($10/month credit) as it was discontinued within about 2 years as I recall...
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:26 AM   #12
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This is as invasive as having a wireless data recorder on your car's OBD2 diagnostic port as some insurance companies are advertising is a good thing to do. They (insurance companies) are saying with the ability for them to monitor your driving habits, you may qualify for lower cost insurance. Right!

When I was in England a few months back, they insurance companies that had suckered people into this gimmick were increasing user's insurance rates if the data showed they were not driving like Miss Daisy!

IMHO, allowing the power company to have exclusive control rights over your power use is not something I would do.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:28 AM   #13
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My utility company put in a electronic electric subfeed box that they can shut off for ~15 minutes every hour during peak periods. I get 15% off my entire bill for their efforts.

Not a bad gig.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
No way do I want the utility to be able to shut it off, just when we are likely to need it the most.
-ERD50
Many utilities permit each customer a couple shut-off overrides per month.
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Old 07-31-2014, 10:33 AM   #15
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Many utilities permit each customer a couple shut-off overrides per month.
That's very nice of them!
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Old 07-31-2014, 11:11 AM   #16
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Many utilities permit each customer a couple shut-off overrides per month.
Yes, I think that is in the fine print. But if that means a couple 'shut-offs', and not a couple days - well, I think the 'shut-off' can occur each hour. We had guests here from noon to 8PM, and the A/C needed to be on full time from probably 10AM (to get things 'pre-chilled') to 6PM (we get a lot of west sun, and can't really put shade trees there). A house full of people is a lot of added heat load.

I understand the value of this to the utility - managing peak loads is a very important issue for them (I don't want a brown out when I want my AC running), and this can help, and it might fit some people's usage profiles. Maybe if they had a simple web interface or phone menu so that you could opt-out for a day, even if that set your savings to zero for the month. There certainly are times when a 15 minute shut-down would be OK, I just don't want the commitment when we might have guests, and that is a pretty random thing.

I also have a smaller sized A/C - and this is great for removing humidity, which is an important factor for us. But that's one reason it runs full time to keep up with a crowd on a hot day. When I replace the AC, I suppose I could get one rated 1/3rd larger, and if they cut 15 min out of an hour, we'd all be right back where we started! Well, a new AC would likely be more efficient, but ignoring that, I think you will find that people will adapt in this way, largely negating the effects of these controls. The old law of unintended consequences.


Overall, I think they might do better with more tiered rates. I'm always in the lowest quintile of kWh usage for my neighborhood - I'm all for higher rates on the higher usage people if conservation is the goal. That doesn't take any extra hardware, and I bet the savings would be significant.

-ERD50
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:05 PM   #17
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If I could make one improvement to my programmable thermostat it would be to add a remote control.
The most efficient cooling cycle in my hot climate is to gradually step down the temperature overnight, then turn off during the day. The remote would be handy to make adjustments during the middle of the night.
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Old 07-31-2014, 12:25 PM   #18
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Wait these aren't Wifi with smart phone apps?
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:18 PM   #19
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Wait these aren't Wifi with smart phone apps?
The unit the electric co. is providing is. They can apparently send text(SMS message) to remotely control. There is an option to temporarily opt out, they don't go into enough detail to know exactly how that works.

Winston Smith doesn't live here so I'm probably going to opt out. The only cost savings we'd get would be early morning.

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Old 07-31-2014, 02:59 PM   #20
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I put an ecobee in at the lake. Cost was ~$400 with no monthly fee for thier web portal. The wifi connection allows me to adjust the temp from anywhere. Then there's the added feature of getting emails when the low temp alarms (YIKES!).

Getting the heat going from a smartphone for our arrival in the dead of winter has been priceless. Then there's the occasional tenant who leaves the heat/AC blasting away after they left. EASILY paid for itself already
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