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Thermostat Purchase Advice


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I have an ISY-99i PRO, and am really wanting to get my heating and AC under some more intelligent control. I have a heat pump system, so the Insteon thermostats are not compatible. What choice does this leave me with, one of the Venstar thermostats? I see that the only Venstar ones left are commercial, is this OK?


I'm planning to use the ISY to provide more intelligent control of the heating and AC than just a setpoint based on day and time. For example, if we open a window or a door for more than a few minutes, then turn the heat or AC off (as we might do in the fall or spring). Also, we have a weather station at the house, and can use the ISY network module to provide outside weather information to influence the heating or cooling.


I just need to decide which thermostat will be best controllable with my ISY.

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A few questions to help you zero in..


Do you TRUST the cloud and don't mind your data going through the cloud?


How real time do you want your information on the thermostat? Every minute? Every five minutes?


There are several people on the board that have been happy with the Venstar. i don't know if the 6800 color series can talk insteon yet, they were working on it for a long time now if it's not.


Ecobee's can be "controlled' with the Ecolinc package from IO guy, but you have to run them on another "server" in the house to be the bridge. Ecobee support was on the UDI list of enhancements, so someday we may have native support, which I suspect is part of the two way communications coming in the network module.


I was DEFINETELY going to go the Ecobee route, then Ioguy discovered that you have to poll their cloud service for the data, and you can only poll about once every 30 seconds. I'm not at all thrilled about cloud..


Personally I'd love to see a kick-starter thermostat someday that used a tablet..

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Hello LKO,


If you don't mind Z-Wave, we are going to have our Z-Wave solution out soon which supports almost all Z-Wave thermostats.


If you are more into energy monitoring OR if you have a very large house wherein Z-Wave might not be functional, then our Zigbee module allows you to communicate with RCS Zigbee thermostats (TZB45).


Please note that it's an either/or thing: either Z-Wave OR Zigbee.


With kind regards,


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Good points that help me catch back up on the state of things since I last thought about integrating the thermostats into the home automation system. I'd really rather not involve the cloud in the home automation, as everything works now without the cloud, and if for some reason our internet access was down, so would anything dependent on the cloud. Zwave or Zigbee would be fine, since all the existing Insteon-compatible thermostats are wireless in some fashion. Unless, it would require replacing my ISY; I'd rather not do that, since it's working fine otherwise (and expensive) -- I like my ISY! Our house is large, I guess, but I figure as long as I can get whatever allows the ISY to talk Zwave or Zigbee close enough to the thermostats I'd be ok.


As for latency with traffic between the thermostats and the ISY, not real sure on that. I'd figured that a thermostat with 7-day programming like the Venstar would work as a normal thermostat, unless overriden by the ISY. The thermostat would report back to the ISY the temperature at some interval, or when the temperature changed, or when polled. I was more concerned about the ISY being able to override the normal programming of the thermostat, as needed. Some examples would be the ISY turning off the heating or cooling after an outside door or window had been opened for a few minutes, and restoring regular activity once all outside doors and windows were closed; switching the unit to fan only if the outside temperature and humidity (from our weather station) indicated that just circulating the air would be comfortable enough; adjusting cooling or heating based on inside (and outside) temperature and humidity; using motion sensors and the like to determine occupancy, and adjust the thermostat appropriately. Back in the early 80's I spent 4 years writing software for facility automation and energy management, and have a lot of ideas on how to more intelligently control the heating and cooling other than by just glorified timers as is done now in most thermostats. The Nest, for example, is impressive, but there's not an easy way I know of to control, or influence it, from an ISY.


I'd first thought of putting the thermostats under computer (ISY) control a couple years ago, before Insteon came out with their own thermostats, and Venstar was the only option. In that time, Insteon has come out with their own thermostats, but they can't handle heat pumps. And Venstar evidently had issues, based on searching the forums here, so I was concerned about their reliability. Plus, they seem to have gotten rid of the Venstars with the integrated Insteon controller, limiting me to a Venstar T2700, T2800, or T2900 commercial model plus the add-on Insteon controller, and I'm not sure the commercial versions would be appropriate -- the fan has to run if the building (home) is occupied? So that bit may take Venstar out of the running.


Which puts me back at the beginning: if I am to do this, I need an ISY-controllable thermostat (two, really, as we have two units) that will work with our heat pumps. Present Insteon thermostats aren't compatible, and the Venstar might not be reliable, or would insist the fan run constantly. It may be that I need to wait for a Zigbee or Zwave capable thermostat, along with whatever's needed to allow the ISY-99 to speak that. Sigh; decisions, decisions. I do appreciate the discussion, it really helps to bounce ideas around with others!

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