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Thread: Low Tech Thermostat

  1. #16
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    I fail to understand how switching from a digital thermostat to a mechanical one would make an HVAC system suddenly work better. I would think that a new digital thermostat would have fixed the problem too. I have a Honeywell WI-FI thermostat, but I only installed it because I got it free from my electric utility. Yes, they will control my thermostat on peak usage days, but I can override it. I already had the radio control system that would shut off the outdoor unit on peak days.

    I used to stay in a log cabin at a Boy Scout camp that did not regulate the heat properly. The temperature would swing up to five degrees. It had a mechanical thermostat with a spring, but no mercury. I was tempted to get an inexpensive digital thermostat and replace the thermostat to see if that fixed the issue. The furnace was newer and a volunteer HVAC serviced it once a year so it stayed in good shape.

  2. #17
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    Problem with these fancy wifi thermosats is they use a custom ap for online use. This is supported by the company and allows mobile access, programming etc. When the company goes out of business or sells out to another company the ap support will disappear and you have to buy a new thermostat if you want to change the settings.
    Bill D.

    I understand Home depot had system that they no longer sell or support online.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 11-04-2021 at 9:09 AM. Reason: Language

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Problem with these fancy wifi thermosats is they use a custom ap for online use. This is supported by the company and allows mobile access, programming etc. When the company goes out of business or sells out to another company the ap support will disappear and you have to buy a new thermostat if you want to change the settings.
    That's true with pretty much all Internet of Things devices. Even devices from Amazon and Google could become completely obsolete and unsupported by the parent company. The hope is that if any of the smaller companies are in danger of going out of business, one of the larger companies will buy them up and continue to support the existing hardware (at least for some length of time).

    All that being said, I can completely program my thermostats without using the app on my phone or visiting the company's website. In fact, I'm pretty sure you can do all of that without even connecting the thermostat to the internet at all (although its ability to tell time might get hindered by that). The same cannot be said for my smart switches and smart plugs however; those can only be controlled by an app.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  4. #19
    No one needs to look any farther than their history of computer and cellphone purchases to realize EVERYTHING tech gets put out to pasture in short order. Can't make money keeping old stuff running, gotta replace everything so you can 'move forward'...

    I'm dealing with this crap more and more every day trying to keep Microsoft-sabotaged computers working that are necessary to run my older machines that work perfectly (and I refuse to replace)...
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  5. #20
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    My Honeywell thermostat is fully functional without any kind of wireless access. I would not buy a thermostat that required a smart phone or other wireless access for full functionality.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Pratt View Post
    My Honeywell thermostat is fully functional without any kind of wireless access. I would not buy a thermostat that required a smart phone or other wireless access for full functionality.
    Yup. The only function that doesn't work is (obviously) the remote control. There have been maybe two times when it might have been useful, to pre-cool the house when we were coming home from vacation to temps that had unexpectedly jumped into triple digits.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
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  7. #22
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    Apr 2013
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    We've had a non-wifi programmable for many years, but gave up programming. Now I just set it to one temp and raise and lower manually as necessary. It was too frustrating to re-program 7 days for hot and cold every year when the batteries needed changing. And our schedules became too unpredictable. Don't want any more crap on the phone.
    Hobbyist

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Calow View Post
    It was too frustrating to re-program 7 days for hot and cold every year when the batteries needed changing.
    Ok, you're the second person to mention "changing the battery". What's up with that?

    Every programmable thermostat I've ever had runs off the 24V feed from the furnace. The most I've ever had to do after a power failure was reset the day and time; the current one (Honeywell) Honeywell doesn't even need that. And there is no battery, at least not one I can replace...maybe just a tiny one to keep the time chip running.
    Yoga class makes me feel like a total stud, mostly because I'm about as flexible as a 2x4.
    "Design"? Possibly. "Intelligent"? Sure doesn't look like it from this angle.
    We used to be hunter gatherers. Now we're shopper borrowers.
    The three most important words in the English language: "Front Towards Enemy".
    The world makes a lot more sense when you remember that Butthead was the smart one.
    You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much ammo.

  9. #24
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    Feb 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Ok, you're the second person to mention "changing the battery". What's up with that?

    Every programmable thermostat I've ever had runs off the 24V feed from the furnace. The most I've ever had to do after a power failure was reset the day and time; the current one (Honeywell) Honeywell doesn't even need that. And there is no battery, at least not one I can replace...maybe just a tiny one to keep the time chip running.
    The thermostats that were in the house when we moved in back in 2007 were battery operated. When I went to install the new ones a few years back I had to check to see if the HVAC units had a power line / hookup available to feed the new thermostats. It was there for both, just not connected on the HVAC side; easy fix.
    And there was trouble, taking place...

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Ok, you're the second person to mention "changing the battery". What's up with that?

    Every programmable thermostat I've ever had runs off the 24V feed from the furnace. The most I've ever had to do after a power failure was reset the day and time; the current one (Honeywell) Honeywell doesn't even need that. And there is no battery, at least not one I can replace...maybe just a tiny one to keep the time chip running.
    Some Honeywell stats us a battery to retain programming in the event of a power failure and some use a super capacitor. The one I have has an interface module at the furnace & uses just 2 wires to communicate with the thermostat, which controls multistage heating, cooling and fan function.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Yup. The only function that doesn't work is (obviously) the remote control. There have been maybe two times when it might have been useful, to pre-cool the house when we were coming home from vacation to temps that had unexpectedly jumped into triple digits.
    I rarely use the remote function for the house stat, but frequently use it to raise the shop temperature. I'll turn up the temperature when I leave work if I'm going to using the shop when I get home. That's a feature I really like.

    Another useful feature is the desktop remote control that we use in the media room in the basement. It can be used to change temperature settings & choose whether to use the the thermostat or remote sensor for control.

  12. #27
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    I'd have second thoughts about having much in the way of IoT (internet of things) devices. There are security concerns about networked devices; the software/firmware is seldom/never updated, at least not automatically or easily. If there is a security exploit discovered after the device is sold, it's likely to remain there for the life of the device. Some years ago there was an exploit that used networked printers as a 'back door' into peoples' networks. That was eventually patched and networked printers now have passwords. Will the same after-sale support be there for wifi thermostats or wifi lights or networked whatever? I'm pretty sure not. Those with the requisite skills can minimize their exposure to such risks. I don't have those skills and I'll bet most others don't either.
    Last edited by Curt Harms; 11-05-2021 at 10:17 AM.

  13. #28
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    Dec 2006
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    Toronto Ontario
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    Like Frank we use a simple programmable thermostat.

    21:00 to 06:00 set at 16C

    06:00 to 09:00 set at 20C

    09:00 to 16:00 set at 16C

    16:00 to 21:00 set at 20C

    Works great…..Rod

  14. #29
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    Feb 2016
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    NE Iowa
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    The Mitsubishi mini-split that we heat our guest house with comes with a remote (looks like a TV remote control) thermostat controller. It is so badly designed that even the most simple changes require me to get out the manual. And it's battery powered and forgets everything when the batteries die. What a disaster. I don't understand why industrial designers can't design devices that make the ordinary things everyone needs to do simple and accessible, but they can't. I wish that machine could be wired to a simple wall thermostat.
    Last edited by Steve Demuth; 11-08-2021 at 3:44 PM.

  15. #30
    The programmable t-stats that came with the house, do well and for central PA , a heating bill less than $600 is unheard of.

    But lo tech? When I lived in Arlington VA, I lived in an old Sears house on South 8th street. A plumber built the house during the late 1920's. It had a gravity flow natural gas hot water heating system that required no circulator. The water flowed by rising through the pipes from the boiler and the cool water sank from the radiators back again. In addition, the thermostat in the Dining room was mechanical, connected to the boiler below by a long solid metal rod. When the power went out during blizzards, our heat continued to work just fine with no electricity. Apparently installing such a system would be a real trick for todays plumbers.

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