Internet Thermostats
If you like gadgets, computers, tablets and smart phones then you will love Internet Thermostats for controlling your home or work environment - from anywhere in the world you have access to the Web...

You can do just about anything online nowadays – so why not take advantage of an Internet Thermostat set up for completely controlling your home or work heating and cooling system (HVAC)? Following is some useful information to help you become familiar with how they operate and act as a guide in your decision making process.

Also known as Wi-Fi thermostats, internet control systems can offer the ultimate control, energy-efficiency and convenience – from the far side of your home to the far side of Planet Earth. I would interject that they are geared more towards the gadget-geeks like me rather than as a gift for your grandparents (unless you don't mind them calling you in the middle of the night to adjust their temperature)…

How they function:

Internet thermostats are becoming one of the more popular types of home-automation devices and are always integrated in with the modern Smart Houses. In fact a Smart House system will be fully integrated to control practically every aspect of your home electronics in addition to  climate control. These high-tech systems can also be set up to control lighting, appliances, security, entertainment systems and more.

Your typical Wi-Fi components will consist of the following:

The sensor unit -
This is placed in an appropriate area of the home for reading temperature variations and sending data to the receiver. Often this would be where the old thermostat was, typically in a central area or open hallway. Most of these units are also wireless enabling you to place them wherever you feel appropriate. Read the owner’s manual for other practical, recommended options.

The receiver unit -
This module is placed on or near the HVAC mechanical equipment with the function of receiving the sensor’s data and mechanically controlling the equipment (turning it on or off as called for). It’s basically taking the thermostat data signals and converting them to mechanical, operational energy.

The wireless internet unit -
This is the converter device that connects to your internet and permits the online data communications. It typically plugs into a local wall receptacle for power as well as your internet modem via an Ethernet cable. Check with the manufacturer, but these units are usually compatible with any type of internet service provider such as DSL, cable and satellite. Dial up service could be an issue unless you could modify it to being "always on".

TIP: For protection, plug the unit into a good surge-protector, perhaps alongside the rest of your computer equipment.

Other options -
Hand held remotes are often available although most folks will simply use their smart phones: if like me, these are simply an "extensional body-part" and always at hand anyway. (The way I see it, anyone who uses an internet/Wi-Fi thermostat system is definitely going to have a smart phone with the appropriate app… along with a PC, laptop, tablet, home automation system, security system, motion sensors, key pods and a flashing blue and red LED flashlight…;-)

Please note that for the purpose of this website, this is generic “layman” information to get you pointed in the right direction. As you can imagine with anything electronic, or  computer/internet-related, the sky’s the limit as far as functionality and complexity. Several different models and options are available. This brings to light one caveat: these systems are not for the technically-challenged (e.g, my 92 year old mom would just give up and walk outside). Therefore, you would be wise to hold a household training session once you get the hang of it - unless you have teenagers - then they can train you...

You are in complete control:

Whether you are a gadget guru or a control freak, you’re in luck with internet thermostat systems. Nothing else offers the amount of features, options and down-right control over your home or office environment. You just, plain could not fit all of the control options that are available on a full webpage interface into a small, hand-held remote control device, much less a wall-mounted programmable thermostat.

You can control your living environment in a number of ways including:


You can even set it up so that you can receive coded text messages, emails or both warning of any malfunctions of your system or power outages. (Unfortunately, they’ve yet to devise a method for flushing the commode if you had to suddenly rush out of the house…)

Don't lose control...

The next time you are away on a business trip, please don't try to "chill-out" your family while giggling on the bed of your motel room. Not "cool"!

Just a few of the benefits:

The most comprehensive means of programmability...

Worldwide, secure online access to your system.
This is great for business travelers or vacationers who finally got off – but forgot to adjust their heating and air conditioning system accordingly. No longer an issue. Simply log on, log in and click to adjust.

Pinpoint accuracy.
Any electronic digital thermostat is going to outperform the cheaper, old-fashioned mechanical ones, hands down.

Local remote control.
You can control your comfort settings from anywhere in your home: upstairs, downstairs, bed or easy chair. If you are connected to the web, you have total control. Use the system remote or your cell phone or tablet.

Hard at work.
Imaging being late for work (not again)! You grabbed your briefcase (or toolbox) and raced out the door and off you go. Oops! Upon reaching the third traffic light you suddenly remembered that you forgot to turn down the thermostat (and flush…)! No problem (at least not for the first item). You simply arrive at work, boot up the computer, log into your account and make your adjustment. Done.

Notice I didn’t mention using your smart phone, as this would likely be considered worse than DWT (Driving While Texting)…

In reverse order.
You’re having a great day – the boss just let you off early! So early in fact, that you’ll soon arrive home - before the AC unit was pre-programmed to turn on. No problem – before logging off your computer simply log back into your account and set the AC to come on prior to your arrival - a quick, two-click override. Ahhh, a nice, cool home to return to on a steamy hot day...

Savings:

That’s a given providing you’ve programmed everything appropriately. A Wi-Fi or Internet Thermostat HVAC control system can cost a pretty penny depending on features – but your energy savings should offset the initial expense in a reasonable amount of time. Most manufacturers claim up to 20% savings on your utility bill or better. Just keep in mind that energy savings are more of a long-term investment. Additionally, the age, type and condition of your HVAC equipment plays a major role along with the corresponding duct system. Regular maintenance and filter-changes are also key.

In conclusion:

You are in absolute control, and have abundant options with internet thermostats. You’ll benefit with more flexibility, utility savings, environmental comfort and convenience. Do some research and shop wisely because there are many suppliers and models. Although an approachable job for a “moderate” do-it-yourselfer who’s also internet savvy, if in doubt contact your local HVAC expert - a small price to pay for the resulting peace of mind.

Surf the ‘Net for the various manufacturers' sites to gain enough knowledge and comparisons to at least be able to communicate intelligently when you’re ready to move forward. (A great place to start are the resources located above - refresh for more.) An informed shopper is a smart buyer.

Continue to peruse this site as well to discover other options such as Wireless Thermostats (an example being Lux Thermostats) and a helpful overview of various other Room Thermostats.

Wishing you all the best and energy-savings success,

Gary Phillips

(c) 2013, All Rights Reserved.
Wireless Thermostats
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