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Thermostat Guideance for a Newbie

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    Thermostat Guideance for a Newbie

    I am doing a renovation on an older house and have pretty much settled on going with Homeseer with z-wave modules for lights and temperature control. I plan on getting a thermostat and a couple of light switches now, and then expanding later. I will also be adding a WHS box with SageTV.

    But soon I will need to go ahead and get the termostat. I see that the Homeseer site sells a couple of thermostats, but I also see that there are some new ones coming out. Anyone have any suggestions one way or another on which way I should go? I have a little time before I will need the new thermostat, but not too long - like a month or so.

    Thanks - Miles

    #2
    I have two RCS TZ16's and I'm very happy with them. As far as I'm aware there are two RCS Z-Wave thermostats, an HAI Z-Wave thermostat, and the new Intermatic one. Obviously I know more about the TZ16's because that's what I use, but I've looked over the specs of the new Intermatic thermostat as well. As near as I can tell, here are the differences:

    The Intermatic thermostat only has a manual switch on the thermostat to turn the fan to on or auto. The RCS thermostats allow homeseer to control that function. Some people don't seem to care if the fan function can be automated or not, but for me it makes a big difference. I use 1 Wire temperature sensors to monitor the temperature in all of my rooms. If Homeseer notices that the temp in one room is significantly off from the setpoint of the thermostat I have homeseer turn the fan on for a little while to balance out the temps in the house.

    The RCS thermostats support auto changover from heat to cool while the intermatic one does not. Depending on your climate there may be some days during the year when you need the heater during the night and morning, then the AC in the afternoon. With the RCS thermostat you don't have to touch it and it will use the heater when necessary and the AC when necessary. The intermatic thermostat would require you to change it from heat mode to cool mode and back. I don't know if this function could be controlled by homeseer with the intermatic thermostat, but it can on the RCS ones. Again, this isn't a big deal for some people and how much you would use it probably somewhat depends on where you live.

    The RCS thermostats support two stage systems (three stage heat for heat pumps) and I believe the Intermatic one is single stage only. If you only have a single stage system then obviously this doesn't matter. If you have a two stage system (or think you might upgrade to one in the future) then the intermatic thermostat won't work for you.

    The intermatic thermostat seems like a pretty decent basic thermostat, but you can get some additional features for a bit more money with one of the other brands.

    HTH,
    Brett

    Comment


      #3
      Do you need a wireless solution or can you run a serial cable to the stat?
      -Rupp
      sigpic

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Rupp View Post
        Do you need a wireless solution or can you run a serial cable to the stat?
        Actually, in the case of the RCS units, the serial cable would go to your furnace or air handler and not to the thermostat.

        Also, it's worth pointing out that the RCS Z-Wave thermostats are identical to their serial units with an additional Z-Wave module that connects to the RS485 port. If you want to switch to a serial connection later all you need to do is disconnect the Z-Wave module and connect the thermostat to your PC.

        Brett

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          #5
          Odd. My RCS control unit is in the closet behind the tstat and no where near my unit which is on the opposite side of the house. The easiest unit to install would be the new Intermatic stat as it mounts in place of your current stat.
          http://store.homeseer.com/store/CA89...-P593C108.aspx
          -Rupp
          sigpic

          Comment


            #6
            That is an interesting install. I think the RCS units were designed to be installed with the control unit near the furnace (at least that's where they show it in all of their documentation), but I don't think there's any reason why it would need to be installed there.

            I guess that does provide for a bit more flexibility, especially if you're using the serial version... you can put the control unit wherever it's easiest to run the serial cable.

            Brett

            Comment


              #7
              Additional newbie questions

              I thought it might make sense to add my comments to this thread rather than start a new one.

              I'm replacing my furnace which has a one-stage thermostat but is actually a two-stage furnace. :-( Since I need to get a new thermostat for the new 2-stage furnace, I thought I would get one that can be controlled by HS.

              Reviewing the thermostat comparison matrix available here, the RCS TZ40, TZ43 or Wayne-Dalton WTDC-20 all meet my requirements but the RCS TR40 (RS485) is also an option. I'm looking for a landscape shaped unit to cover the existing area so there won't be any wall touch-up/repainting.

              I'm currently using Z-Wave devices and would need to add RS485/additional serial port support for the RCS TR40 hence there's would be additional cost required. (I'm limited on motherboard expansion slots.) Are there any serious drawbacks to using Z-Wave? I'm more concerned with the thermostat malfunctioning during Winter and coming home to busted/frozen pipes during sub-zero winter due to a malfunction, than to simply loosing the ability to adjust the thermostat a few degrees via HS. Do any of these devices have minimum temperature levels based on automatic determination that heating is required due to the temperature of the house??

              I read the RCS units can automatically switch between heat and cooling. This is a feature I would like to have but is not mandatory - especially if I can toggle via HS.

              Remote sensor support is nice but not required. I assume if the thermostat is located on the first floor then one would want to install the remote sensor in the second floor hallway. This is probably an option when I can get a pipe run between the basement and attic unless the remote sensor does not need to be hardwired.

              I saw some comments about new models coming out. Is the matrix current? My time frame is within a few weeks.

              I'm looking for recommendations, comments, etc. Brands to stay away from (if any), brands that are known to be reliable and work well, etc. Tips from others that have gone this route so there are no surprises and I can make a decision based on the experience of others.

              Thanks in advance!!
              Last edited by AdamH; November 17, 2008, 05:16 PM.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AdamH View Post
                I'm more concerned with the thermostat malfunctioning during Winter and coming home to busted/frozen pipes during sub-zero winter due to a malfunction, than to simply loosing the ability to adjust the thermostat a few degrees via HS.
                Whatever automated tstat you choose, it's probably a good idea to wire in a mechanical thermostat in parallel and set a few degrees above freezing. That way, in the event your automation fails, at least your pipes won't freeze, and your insurance company won't cancel your policy.

                I've been using a RCS TXB-16 stat for about two years now and I'm reasonably happy with it. I have had instances where the stat will fail to communicate with HS. A restart of HS usually cures this. I don't think the stat is directly responsible for this; more likely power line noise or interference. Also, a couple of the buttons on the wall unit became unresponsive over the past summer. This is to be expected with such switches when they're not touched for a long time. A little contact cleaner cured this. In addition, initially when I had problems with the WDU display, RCS sent me a replacement on approval to get me going even though I'd originally bought the unit from a third party supplier.

                I too use the remote Auto/On fan function in conjunction with 1-wire sensors to circulate air throughout the house during the summer. It's cheaper than, and as effective as, running a dehumidifier in the basement.

                Since I've recently entered the world of Z-Wave, I've been thinking about going with a TZ40 or 43.
                Last edited by Wadenut; November 17, 2008, 06:53 PM.
                Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks for the info. I never would have thought about a mechanical thermostat connected in parallel. Good advice and I see it's also mentioned in the TZ40 manual which I just downloaded.

                  The TZ40 looks like it's very sophisticated and if I interpret the documentation correctly heat/cool can be set to automatic and it can be changed through HS. This is what BrettS wrote in August.

                  I like how I can have a remote sensor outside. I wonder if HS can read this... it looks like it might not be possible.

                  Do you know if the thermostat can run in Granny mode? (Grandma stays at the house during vacation and can tweak the temperature up/down by just pressing one of the two adjustment buttons. HS retains the ability to override. Thus Granny and HS can each override the other.)

                  The RCS website lists the TZ40 but not the TZ43. The HomeSeer website shows the TZ43 backordered 4-6 weeks as of a month ago. Does anyone know why? Is the TZ43 a less expensive replacement that's experiencing production problems?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The TZ43 is new.

                    Yes, you can do Granny mode. It'll drive her nuts. I have HS monitor the heat setpoint vs temperature. When the temp reaches setpoint, HS over-rides and sets it back to 10. We have a wood furnace as well which I prefer to have used.

                    In summer, in cool mode (HS switches it in May), I have HS control the window air conditioners based on the stat setpoint.
                    Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      1. Henceforth, thermostat setback by HS in our house is to be known as "Granny Mode".

                      2. I've been doing some reading and for me at least, it looks like the TZ16 or TZ40 is going to be the better option over the TZ43. Both the TZ40 and 43seem to be functionally identical. The biggest difference is that the TZ43 being a "one piece" unit will require up to seven conductors between the HVAC system and the stat. The TZ16 and TZ40 require only four conductors between the wall unit and the controller which can reside close to the furnace. The rest of the wiring can be done in the basement. Fortunately I do have the four conductors, having replaced two original thermostats with the TXB16.

                      The TZ16 might be a bit less expensive than the TZ40/43 having fewer bells and whistles -- scheduling and the like which HS will do for you anyway.

                      The TZ16 wall unit is identical to the TXB16 so I can go spend the money and she'll never know
                      Real courage is not securing your Wi-Fi network.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Wadenut View Post
                        2. I've been doing some reading and for me at least, it looks like the TZ16 or TZ40 is going to be the better option over the TZ43. Both the TZ40 and 43seem to be functionally identical. The biggest difference is that the TZ43 being a "one piece" unit will require up to seven conductors between the HVAC system and the stat. The TZ16 and TZ40 require only four conductors between the wall unit and the controller which can reside close to the furnace. The rest of the wiring can be done in the basement. Fortunately I do have the four conductors, having replaced two original thermostats with the TXB16.

                        The TZ16 might be a bit less expensive than the TZ40/43 having fewer bells and whistles -- scheduling and the like which HS will do for you anyway.

                        The TZ16 wall unit is identical to the TXB16 so I can go spend the money and she'll never know
                        I think all of what you state is true. I personally think the TZ40/43 looks much nicer than the TZ16, and if cost wasn't a factor I would have picked the TZ40 or 43 for that reason alone... I don't think I would actually use any of the additional features. But cost was a factor, so I got two TZ16's.

                        I've been very happy with them, but I will make a comment on 'granny mode' and the thermostat's automatic mode. When you control the TZ16 manually with the up and down buttons it changes the setpoint (obviously). I've noticed that there can be some confusion, however, when the thermostat is in Automatic mode. I live in central FL, so I rarely need to heat the house, but I still leave the thermostat in Automatic mode because I figure it's an automated thermostat and I shouldn't have to touch it to change the mode. Normally I leave the heat setpoint at 67 and the cool at 78.

                        Obviously, in FL, especially over the summer, it never actually went into heat mode, so when I adjust the setpoint it should adjust the cool setpoint. If I hit the up or down button it should display 78, because that's what the cool setpoint is set to. If I hit up or down again it will change the setpoint to 77 or 79. Occasionally, however, if I hit up or down it would display 67, which was the heat setpoint. And hitting up or down again would change the heat setpoint to 66 or 68. Obviously this doesn't actually adjust the temp in the house at all because it's nowhere near 68 degrees.

                        When this happens I work around the issue by hitting the mode button to put the thermostat into cool mode. Then I hit the up or down button to actually adjust the cool setpoint to what I want. I also have an event in HS that notices when the thermostats are in Heat or Cool mode and automatically sets them back to Auto mode, so I don't need to remember to put it back in auto mode after I make my change. HS automatically does it a minute or two later.

                        It's a bit of a pain for me, but I rarely need to manually adjust the thermostats and when I do it only happens maybe 1 out of 5 or 6 times, so I see it maybe once every few weeks and just deal. I'm thinking that might be a bit too confusing for granny. Worst case you could always leave it in Heat or Cool mode for granny then she wouldn't have to worry about it, but you lose the benefit of auto mode then. I'm not sure if the TZ40/43 would have this same issue or not.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          The WDTC-20 works really well for me and it's very reasonably priced.
                          http://www.homeseer.com/wiki/index.p...ave_Thermostat

                          I don't know why you'd need a backup hardwired tstat. This tstat will function just fine if HS goes offline. You just are stuck with good old fingers to adjust the temp if HS goes offline but you house won't freeze (or roast).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Found a great deal! Thought I'd share...

                            Originally posted by Ericryherd View Post
                            The WDTC-20 works really well for me and it's very reasonably priced.
                            I was at Fry's tonight, and they had a Wayne Dalton WDTC-20 Z-wave thermostat for only $79!! The deal was too good to pass up...I walked out with a new zwave tstat!

                            If you have a Fry's near you, it might be worth the trip. But I think the price is only good thru tomorrow - Tuesday 11/24...

                            Ed

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Holy cow! Great deal!!!
                              HS4Pro Running on a Raspberry Pi4
                              79 Z-Wave Nodes, 131 Events, 383 Devices
                              Z-Wave, UPB, WiFi
                              Plugins: EasyTrigger, weatherXML, OMNI, Z-Wave, Tuya, Device History
                              HSTouch Clients: 3 Android, 1 Joggler

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