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Thermostat Advice for ISY: Z-Wave? EcoBee3? Honeywell? Trane?


prairiecode

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Hi folks,

 

I am pretty happy with my current Insteon and Z-Wave Setup with the ISY-994i Pro ZW (see post 1 and post 2).  My next step, and the one that's really big for me, is thermostats to join the system.  I have found a number of threads on this topic, which I will link below, but for various reasons I still lack a good conclusion.

 

First, two bits of background.

 

Back in 2006, during renovation of my old house, I installed a 3-zone system with a Bryant controller for this specific system.  There is a single furnace and AC, but dampers controlled by this controller.  There are, therefore, three 5-wire standard thermostats (including the 24VAC and common wire) throughout the house: one in my 1st-floor kitchen covering the west side of my house, one in my 1st-floor living room covering the rest of the 1st floor, and one in my 2nd-floor master bedroom covering the bedrooms.  These are all run-of-the-mill "programmable" digital thermostats (4 setpoints per day, 7 days of setpoints.)  The system leaves my house quite comfortable -- it has both eliminated hot/cold spots and reduced my power bill.

 

 

So background bit #2 is I really want to integrate a thermostat with my lights, motion sensors, and Keypadlincs on my ISY to make it smart about "nobody's home, so let's lower the temp in all three zones" sort of thing.  (I plan to have an "AWAY" button by my front door.)  I typically set my thermostats a couple of degrees cooler than comfort in winter and hotter than comfort in summer, and then adjust it as needed.  This works well, but it is a hassle to reset three thermostats when leaving the house, etc.  It is also a bear to reprogram these things, and I have a schedule that varies on alternating weeks.  Not only that, but a Nest would not work well because it may be unable to detect presence in my other two bedrooms, or a geofence may do the wrong thing because it assumes I'm home, but I'm in another part of the house and don't need heat to be sent to the upstairs.  (Or how would it tell a difference between when my kids are home and not, as they don't have phones?)

 

So I think that what I really want is a basic thermostat with the ability to control it over Insteon or Z-Wave.  I am a programmer by trade and quite comfortable with writing programs to control things. 

 

So here's what I've found so far:

 

  • A thread from July 2014 talking about a basic Trane thermostat that seems to integrate well with the ISY over Z-Wave.
  • Many, many, many threads saying the Insteon-brand thermostats are to be avoided.  So noted.
  • A thread from September 2014 talking about thermostats.  Some people suggested the Venstar T5900, but there was also much discussion about temperature instability due to poor placement of its temperature sensors too near heat-generating circuitry.  I also do not really want some bright touchscreen device.  I'd prefer no touchscreen, but if it has to be, I'd want it understated and refined like the EcoBee3.
  • Two threads (thread 1, thread 2) from 2013 discussing options, but they both appear to be before Z-Wave was working well on the ISY, and therefore too dated to be useful.
  • An Engadget review of another Trane model that seems to support Z-Wave, but also wants a $10/mo subscription (bah! to that, I say)
  • EcoBee3 looks interesting, but is probably overkill for what I need, and apparently does not integrate well with the ISY.

Since I have to buy three of these, I would prefer something in the $100-$150 price range, but I'm willing to pay more for tangible benefits.

 

What have people had good luck with?  Am I barking up the right tree with my thought processes so far?

 

Thanks!

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Be very sure that if you are using Bryant evolution communicating system (and I see that you might not be) that you fully understand moving to any non Bryant / non communicating thermostat.  I have a carrier system and do not want to loose some of the communicating features.  This basically means I am locked in to the carrier shitty thermostat (I will never buy carrier because of this - the house happened to come with it).

 

It is possible if you have a communicating system to move to nest / ecobee etc - but it may mean you need one thermostat at the location of the old sensor and the correct wiring back to the main unit and find they right way to control your dampers.

 

There are folks who have done it with nest and ecobee (irrespective of the ISY)

 

For example see ecobees info here and look at their forums https://ecobee.zendesk.com/entries/21650694-Carrier-Infinity-Bryant-Evolution

 

Good luck!

 

PS this is really just my rant against Bryant / Carrier proprietary communicating systems....

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Nope, it's not Bryant Evolution.  It's an older one that has no outside communication features.  It's a Bryant ZONEBB3ZAC01 which uses completely standard 5-wire thermostats everywhere, so that's nice at least.

 

Lucky [censored] :-) (or rather congratulations on making a smart purchase decision)

 

BTW communication means the AC / Furnace / zone controller / Thermostat have smarts and data they send each other.

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While it depends on the model, for carrier, I didn't find that much going on in their thermostats that added specific value. There is nothing on the Carrier Infinity list, out side of zone control, that other stats don't do as well or better for my 59TP5 furnaces.

 

'Variable speed' means 4 speed settings, I run mine at their lowest blower speeds and that works well for a stage 2 system and is also good for general circulation/humidification calls.

 

I do get it if you don't want to have a tug-a-war with the hvac contractor about using their whole solution. Mine was flexible and open to discussing alternatives with me.

 

Its worth getting the pdf for the furnace and understanding its capabilities and settings.

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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If you're starting new, then you can specify what you want. I chose a Carrier compressor and furnace, Honeywell zone panel and Totaline thermostats which were replaced with Venstar thermostats which were replaced with Insteon thermostats. Thirteen years and counting B)

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Both the Venstar and Insteon thermostats work well with the ISY. The Venstar has a few more features, but we prefer the looks of the Insteon. The thermostats are controlled by Remotelincs allowing us to control zones from anywhere in the house. Some ceiling fans are controlled by the thermostats.

 

I use both scenes and programs.

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I just had my Home HVAC system replaced last week ($6000) and have been using the Venstar T5800 with the ISY for over 1 1/2 years without a problem.   It links wirelessly with the ISY.   I also use Event Ghost to announce any changes made to the stat by the ISY.  There are a number of past topics addressing this very setup.

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+1. I have 2 of the T5900's. They have worked out better than expected.  The screen can be programed to "dumb thermostat" mode so it looks like a basic stat to the family. Configurable Stage triggers are extremely useful as well, finding a balance of comfort versus burning up gas.

 

The separate humidification cycle feature of the T5900 has measurably improved comfort and health in my house for our dry Michigan winters. The humidity is even all the time and no coughing or itching. Even our pets have stopped their winter scratching.  No more separate in room humidifiers.

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There are 2 ways-

 

1- Send only command mode using network resources from the network module. There are samples on the board if you search for T5800 or T5900 or T6800

 

2- Use io_guy's feature packed .net app. It gives full read and control capabilities from the ISY.

 

It needs a pc or raspberry pi to run on. It runs in the background and has no impact on the device its running on. It does not need to be dedicated, a "user" pc can run it. The apps are very small and configured via a browser like you would your router.

 

http://forum.universal-devices.com/index.php?/topic/13076-VenLink:-Latest-Version-v0.5.15

 

Having a program running on a additional box is a non-starter for many. I've had it running for 3 months now and have kinda forgotten about it. For the things I get back, its a very small price for me.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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Thought I'd post an update - I wound up with a Trane TZEMT400BB3NX N N SL from Amazon ($102).  It is one of several Trane models that is basically the RCS TZ45 with a Trane sticker on the front.  It is working flawlessly.  Quite pleased with this purchase!  Thanks everyone for your advice.

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Thanks for the follow up. You can't go wrong with RCS, they are a "ground up" HVAC company that moved into the the consumer electronics world. Their commercial experience pays big dividends in the home as well. I used their X10 Thermostats for 10 years, very solid devices.

 

It would be good to hear how its working out, what you like, etc after you use it for a while. 

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Thought I'd post an update - I wound up with a Trane TZEMT400BB3NX N N SL from Amazon ($102). It is one of several Trane models that is basically the RCS TZ45 with a Trane sticker on the front. It is working flawlessly. Quite pleased with this purchase! Thanks everyone for your advice.

Exactly the thermostat I have, after having 4 failed warranty replacements of the Insteon one.
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I'm just a day or two into it, but so far quite happy with this stat.  Really my only gripe is that I cannot remotely command it to call for heat (I can change the setpoints, but I can't say "turn on the furnace now, even if your setpoints say you shouldn't need it.")  Ah well, there are probably good reasons for that anyhow.

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Do any of you know if all functionality is available thru Mobilinc for Android?

I see options to change:

 

System mode: Heat/Cool/Auto

 

Fan: Auto/On

 

And the temperature setpoint. It also reads out the current temperature in the room.

This.

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Another question.  Would you know if the mentioned rcs/trane z-wave stats will also act as z-wave repeaters for secure devices, like schlage locks?  If so, that will be the final straw to return my 6 unopened 2441TH's and order the trane's from Amazon since they are just under $100 with prime shipping.  Smarthome has the RCS's but only 3 of them at $150 each.

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