Wi-Fi/App Controlled Thermostats - A Great Invention Or An Evil Device?

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Andy M.

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I don't have one. I never thought I needed one. We have a programmable one but I have to take it off the wall, manually program it and put it back. Though that can be a pain, I really only have to do it once after installation. It has all the settings for different time of day and days of the week.

On the plus side, the app controlled one is super convenient for unplanned changes and added features.

On the negative side, there is the possibility of electronic intrusion through the thermostat to my phone/laptop by hackers. Intrusion avoidance is why we don't have Alexa/Echo/other voice controlled assistants in the house.

Please tell me what you think.
 
I have an Ecobee, hooked into Alexa. I like it mostly because I can control it via Alexa when I'm bust doing something else (cooking, working, etc). I don't have to leave my desk to turn it up or down. It works fine - I think of it as one of my many connected "toys'.
 
We don't have one, either, and I don't see a need for one. To address the hacking issue, I have our router set to only allow connections from specific devices - ours. Anytime we add a new device, I have to go into the router settings and add it. That keeps intruders out.
 
I would love to have an electronic thermostat that I could control via WiFi. What I don't trust is the apps. The info doesn't just go by WiFi, it goes over the internet. There are too many opportunities for data mining and they all seem to have a TOS that makes you agree to that. That's also why we don't have Alexa type stuff or one of those "ring cams" that let you check on what's near your doorbell.

A lot of my younger friends just say that we don't have any privacy anymore anyways, so quit worrying about it.
 
I think that at some point, as we age, we may welcome ‘intrusion’ if it allows us to remain in familiar surroundings.

One thing with the thermostat is the possibility that the power company will eventually be able to control your usage during peak times or natural emergencies.

I suppose that I don’t have a problem with any of it as long as I’m aware of it.
 
Mine came with my new furnace to take advantage of its high efficiency features., Same brand as the furnace. I have come to like the convenience and fine tuning of the app.
 
...One thing with the thermostat is the possibility that the power company will eventually be able to control your usage during peak times or natural emergencies...
We actually had an override device for our range/water heater/central air in our previous home. By having it, we were able to avoid having to have a load demand electric meter. In the nearly 10 years we lived there, we never noticed if any of those items had been disabled.

And because of suspicion of parties being able to use information against me, I buy beer and wine only with cash. :whistling
 
I like the idea of WiFi for remote capability. I like Bluetooth better. But you must be within a certain distance from the T-Stat to connect to it.
 
Are all y'all speaking English? Just being a Luddite.
We have no apps, no wi-fi, and our thermostat is set by us. We also don't have Alexa or anything voice controlled. Life is simple here, and we enjoy it!
 
Are all y'all speaking English? Just being a Luddite.
We have no apps, no wi-fi, and our thermostat is set by us. We also don't have Alexa or anything voice controlled. Life is simple here, and we enjoy it!
Yet here you are on the internet, exposed to all the electronic evil in the world. Go figure!
 
When I replace my current furnace, I'm planning on going for a ductless mini-split split system where I can have room by room thermostat for maximum efficiency and comfort reflecting actual use. More upfront money but should pay for itself and more over the life of the product and offer very fine control for comfort.
 
Neither a great invention or an evil.
I have no problem setting up electronics or sometimes fixing them. I'm a late adopter of most electronics. We barely use our smart phones now that we have them. We used to have an alexa device, we don't use it. The less the better, less things to break.
 
We cannot live in fear of being hacked. That's just giving them control over our lives. We should not leave ourselves open either. A lot of hackers are individuals who we know. One year I joined a local art group. I started getting a scam call which I ignored. Shortly after I got a call from the art director and she was just making a schedule change almost every day. I ran the scam number and it was a suspicious number. I quit the art group and after a few weeks stopped getting the scam calls.
 
We cannot live in fear of being hacked.
True.
That's just giving them control over our lives.
Only if you let them. If you take sensible control over your devices and how you use them - including making sure that you have decent anti-virus/malware protection and not opening links, mail, or answering strange numbers that you do not know, you should not have to worry.
 
A couple of years back, our HVAC system went belly up, while we were in Idaho for Thanksgiving. Came back to a very cold house. So, we replaced the entire system -- that sounds simple enough, but it was NOT! Anyway, we have 3 zones for our system, so 3 thermostats. The HVAC guy we use recommended to install the "smart" wi-fi kind. I was able to use my phone to program it, even while away on a camping trip. Well, in theory, that is. This "smart" thermostat doesn't just do what you tell it to do. It has to do it in the recommended/best efficiency or some other words I won't use here...way. It would take 3-4 HOURS to "ramp up"!!!!! Hours!!!!! And God forbid my MIL decided to pop over, as she does not tolerate a normal temperature home. It has to be 74 to 78 24/7/365 for her. And frankly, the "smart" system would never allow that in the wintertime.

After several WEEKS of suffering with a cold house and all sorts of techs coming in to attempt to remedy the situation, they eventually admitted that it will never work the way it is intended to work. They blamed it on having 3 zones. 🤷 So, they replaced all 3 with something closer to what we had with the old system. I can program them, but not wi-fi. And, they work like they should have in the first place.

In order to make up for the inconvenience, the manufacturer offered a cash-back discount. I forget the amount, but it certainly was not very attractive. I asked for and received a 10-year parts AND labor warranty. And, it is transferrable when we sell! Now that it is behind us, I'm good with that.
 
After several WEEKS of suffering with a cold house and all sorts of techs coming in to attempt to remedy the situation, they eventually admitted that it will never work the way it is intended to work. They blamed it on having 3 zones. 🤷 So, they replaced all 3 with something closer to what we had with the old system. I can program them, but not wi-fi. And, they work like they should have in the first place.
Sorry that you had trouble. I love my Ecobee 3 thermostats. We have three zones. Been using them for about four years. No more changing batteries. Love being able to change the temp when we're 2-3 hours from home so it's perfect.

I'm also in the process of installing them for my church where we have 18!! thermostats. Have done 3 with 15 more to go. There's some wiring work that needs to be done so it's not a trivial change.

Which thermostat did you have? Do you have radiant floor heating or something else?
 
I'm not sure I would opt for wi-fi app control. Unless I was constantly traveling and coming home to a cold house, then I might reconsider. I think along with everything else using wi-fi there would have to be some sure fire guarantee for ease of use to back it up.

Hey bbqcoder! Nice to see you back!
 
Sorry that you had trouble. I love my Ecobee 3 thermostats. We have three zones. Been using them for about four years. No more changing batteries. Love being able to change the temp when we're 2-3 hours from home so it's perfect.

I'm also in the process of installing them for my church where we have 18!! thermostats. Have done 3 with 15 more to go. There's some wiring work that needs to be done so it's not a trivial change.

Which thermostat did you have? Do you have radiant floor heating or something else?
You know, I honestly do not remember if I ever even knew the name of them. I just looked up the quote and it says "Complete New RUDD Seer System," 3 zones, thermostats, etc. They looked like iPhones. I kid you not! They were totally cool, but so was the house! In the middle of a PNW winter, not fun. I think we went thru more than a cord of wood, burning 24/7, just to keep it livable. It would warm up eventually and then just decided that was enough of that & go back to cold.

We have a "heat pump" for the whole house...if that's what you mean? We do have floor heating in the master bath, but that has a separate control. It is at the far end of the house and DH didn't like cold floors with bare feet. Me? I thought it nice...LOL.

The replacements do have a vacation mode that I could use. In the end, I've found that keeping them just the way I have them is functional and my electric bill is just fine. We're all electric out here in the sticks! I have the living areas set to 70 to Wake Up, 71 at 4PM, then 68 for Sleep. The bedroom I keep at 68, except for a short period in the morning is goes to 70 for Wake Up and back to 68 for Leave (11AM, I think). Can't stand a hot bedroom!
 
I'm not sure I would opt for wi-fi app control. Unless I was constantly traveling and coming home to a cold house, then I might reconsider. I think along with everything else using wi-fi there would have to be some sure fire guarantee for ease of use to back it up.

Hey bbqcoder! Nice to see you back!
WiFi control is really nice. It's not something that I use often. Probably 3-4 times per year. We like to turn down/up our heat/AC when we're away and it's nice being to come back to a warm/cool house instead of suffering until it reaches the ideal temp.

More importantly, I like the ability to get alerts if the temperature is abnormal, especially at my church. We've had issues with the boilers almost on an annual basis. To know that there's a problem sooner is ideal to prevent pipes from being frozen.

Thanks for the welcome. I'm not sure how active I'll be here. I tend to be on Facebook a bit more than forums. I do like the software upgrades they have done.

You know, I honestly do not remember if I ever even knew the name of them. I just looked up the quote and it says "Complete New RUDD Seer System," 3 zones, thermostats, etc. They looked like iPhones. I kid you not! They were totally cool, but so was the house! I

We have a "heat pump" for the whole house...if that's what you mean? We do have floor heating in the master bath, but that has a separate control. It is at the far end of the house and DH didn't like cold floors with bare feet. Me? I thought it nice...LOL.

The replacements do have a vacation mode that I could use. In the end, I've found that keeping them just the way I have them is functional and my electric bill is just fine. We're all electric out here in the sticks! I have the living areas set to 70 to Wake Up, 71 at 4PM, then 68 for Sleep. The bedroom I keep at 68, except for a short period in the morning is goes to 70 for Wake Up and back to 68 for Leave (11AM, I think). Can't stand a hot bedroom!
If they looked like iPhones, I wonder if they're Nest thermostats? Radiant floor heating is usually more comfortable but it's a slower reacting system. It uses cooler water so it takes longer to heat up the space. We keep our house at 68 and usually drop it to 62 at night. During the summer, we'll have the AC at 74 and when we sleep, the lower level of the house is at a higher temp. Still, I don't know why the thermostats did not work for your setup.
 

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