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Are thermostats really this inaccurate?

<span style="font-size:12pt">I just had a SpacePak installed recently for my second floor, a former attic with a huge heat load. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Compared with multiple thermometers, (all of which measure within .5* of each other), the thermometer in the Honeywell thermostat does odd things. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">When the temp is on the rise, the tstat thermo is consistenly several degrees warmer than the measured air temp of the other thermometers, which are within inches of the tstat. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">The situation is reversed when temps start to fall. i.e. the independent thermos remain several degrees cooler than the tstat display. This continues on into the evening, when I see 71.7* on the thermos and 74* on the tstat. The temp setting on the tstat is also 74* when this was observed. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">The AC installation manager first stated that this is due to heat being physically transfered to the tstat by the physical connection to the warm wall. I then 'floated' the tstat off the wall with 1/2" of foam and nylon screws to block the heat transfer. This diminished, but did not eliminate the problem.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">He now claims that this performance is normal, that damping is built in to the tstat to minimize short cycling. He stated, "Find a setting that keeps your room comfortable and forget about it".</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Given that the tstat is set for 74* and a actual air temp in the room below 72* degrees, I can't help but wonder if the AC is running too much, as the air temp in the room is well below the setting on the tstat.</span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">This is now the third performance issue I have identified. While the first two were corrected, it was only after I was told by this manager that "The system is operating as designed" at the beginning of each visit, before he found that there actually was a problem. Twice I heard him say this. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Which tells me I need to learn whether there actually is a problem with the tstat before I pay the remaining two thirds of the bill. </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Any thoughts? </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">Thanks much.</span>


  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343

    Has the HW t-stat been replaced?  It may in fact be off.  Installation should not be in any area where remote heat or cold sources affect the t-stat.  I am assuming that you have only 1 t-stat for the upstairs area?  The company will or should back your opinions to make you happy, but it is not a war of holding back monies for such a minor problem.  Can only make for unintentional hard feelings.  Customer satisfaction comes first and I think they are trying to do the same.

    My .02

    Mike T.
  • Mr. Norm
    Mr. Norm Member Posts: 12
    Not yet.

    No, the tstat has yet to be swapped out. Frankly, I was surprised that this wasn't done the last time the install manager was there to present my bill. That's when he saw the data I had been collecting for the previous two weeks.

    I do expect a replacement, I posted here to see if my expectation is reasonable.

    Payment has yet to be made owing to the off the wall comments made by the install manager in response to my previous performance complaints. All of which turned out to be legitimate. 

    Some of his comments were so disturbing that I wondered if we were heading to court.

    While these fixes were outstanding, I got an invoice dated 7-13 stating that the bill was due 6-28. I asked the sales engineer how I could be past due for a job still in progress, I am still waiting for an answer.

    Everything else from this company has been great, English is not the manager's 1st language, which may be part of the communication issues. Still, I find his attitude troubling.  

    Thanks again.
  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    edited July 2012
    Fair enough Mr Norm.

    OK, I think you are off on the right track.  I merely wanted to, or have both of you avoid any unnecessary complications.  First year warranty's are just that,....Both parts and labor no Q:? asked.  That is my policy, but by no means is everyone's policy.  Sorry that you do not feel the communication is clearly understood, but maybe ask to speak to someone else.  The problem can be resolved with little effort.  Good luck Mr. Norm.


    Mike T.
  • Techman
    Techman Member Posts: 2,144
    Mr. Norm

    If the only problem is a slightly out of wack thermometer/t'stat it doesn't seem fair to be holding back so much money.I had a customer who let his lettice freeze because the walk-in refrig thermometer showed 40* and he wanted me to pay for his now frozen product.But, back to your problem. The foam floater that you made, how did you run the wirers thru the foam? Do you know if your extra thermometers are calibrated properly? Are you physically uncomfortable because of this?
  • Mr. Norm
    Mr. Norm Member Posts: 12
    Thanks for the feedback.

    To those who asked, yes, I calibrated the various thermometers to resolve minor differences between them. The thermal difference is so much larger that such minor variations are not an issue.

    The thermostat is actually resting on two vertically oriented foam strips, with a much wider air gap between them. The wires are in this gap. The hole in the wall for the wire is sealed with spray foam.

    I wrote a letter to the Sales Engineer (the guy who gets a commission) detailing my experiences and remaining objection, and I paid 90% of my outstanding balance. As a more serious problem was not corrected until last week, this hold back was not unreasonable. Prior to last week, the system could not hold 72* inside when the outdoor high for the day was 85*, hence the large hold back on my part.

    The remainder is not going to be paid until this issue is resolved. As I can purchase the same stat on Amazon for $35. I suspect a replacement may happen by this weekend.

    Thanks for the responses.
  • Paul_69
    Paul_69 Member Posts: 251
    give me a break

    mr. why dont you just pay the contractor for the completed job.why would you hold back 10%? you should have a contract that says you have a guarentee for a year on the installation. i would let you keep the 10% and wouldnt come back to your house until you paid up.you get it installed, it gets up and running and you dont pay the company, i am really not liking this post. then you come on here and cry why your thermostat isnt calibrated to your liking. i would say they have not changed it because you didnt pay them properly.a honest company is going to gaurentee the work and come back in good faith and fix any problems even after its paid for. you should have had a contract stating terms and could take other actions if they didnt follow contract, but to hold back money after job is completed and up and running is not right.
  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343
    edited July 2012
    A Few Things.

    Since you bought a t-stat on line because you thought it was a good deal, I would void any and all warranty's.  Let the company do their job.  Why should the company hold any warranty when you introduce new controls not provided by contractor?   If this t-stat messes up your new equipment, do you think the contractor should warranty it?  Don't think so.  I think you have gone in a non productive avenue to get this problem resolved.  As stated above, You will probably be dropped from future endeavors with this co.  You have gone off the deep end due to a minor problem which would have been taken care of.  I think were done with this question you asked!!!  Doesn't matter what we say anyways.

      One last thing,....If you were to take this ridiculous problem to court (like you stated), the judge would probably reprimand you and charge you for wasting court time.

    Mike T.
  • Mr. Norm
    Mr. Norm Member Posts: 12
    Oh really?

    For those who posted the snarky comments suggesting that I did something wrong, like not paying for a system that is not yet working correctly -

    The owner of the firm called me up today,

    "Thank you for the large payment enclosed with your letter. I will be happy to change out the stat today, it definetly sounds like it is defective. I want to apoligize for the attitude from the Install mgr. He is real good technically but often shoots off his mouth too soon. This will be a training opportunity for me and him. Thank you for the valuable feedback."

    If he doesn't have a problem with my actions, why would you?

    Thank you for those who actually responded to my question instead of coping an attitude. The remainder can kiss my grits.
  • Empire_2
    Empire_2 Member Posts: 2,343

    I guess I will never have another opinion as long as I live..........:=(  Just relax a bit, loosen up your girdle.

  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839

    Sounds like your system is being fidddle faddled by the fickle finger of fate...

    I concur with the set it and forget it principle. If you are not comfortable, then theres a real possibility of something else being wrong with the envelope, and it may be being confirmed by the stat. In older homes of certain construction, there is a situation called the "stack effect" whereby hot air actually rises up through the framing. One should never install a thermostat on an outside wall, even a knee wall in an attic. As the hot air is rising up through the framing, it conduct heat through the wall affecting the stats temperature.

    As for set it and forget it, other than Jimmy Carter, who cares what the numbers say? The Europeans don't depend on a room temperature to tell us how comfortable or un comfortable we are. They use a "comfort number" between 1 and 5, and you keep turning the knob until you are comfortable in that setting, then forget it. You keep that number in your mind, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, you can set YOUR comfort number into the stat and be satisfied. Only us North Americaneers are addicted to the number on the thermostat. I've had numerous customers who said they were cold because it only showed 68 degrees F on the thermometer of their digital thermostat, and when I replaced the stat with a new one that read 70 (without having introduced any additional energy into the picture) felt PERFECT... Your eyes are lying to your mind.

    In your case, you might want to consider having an energy audit with a blower door test performed. After that, it might be a good idea to insulate where needed, and do a god job of crack sealing to lessen the infiltration factors.

    As fo holding back money, that is not all that uncommon in commercial construction. We figure that into the cost of the bid, and you the consumer pays the interest on the hold back. It is generally dispersed within 30 days of completion and acceptance. But then again, I didn't use to ask for any down payments in advance either, and have been chastised by more than one person for promoting that action... I guess its my involvement in commercial work. You NEVER get money in advance, unless you deliver something first.

    Good luck with your situation.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
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