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Smart thermostats

I know the Wall has mixed views on the merits of smart thermostats. This link may provide some fuel for discussion https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/13/smart_thermostat_strain/

This is a UK based IT publication that seems to have lots of international contributors. The quality of comment sections are comparable to the Wall! :-)

Regards
John

Comments

  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,130
    edited July 2022
    That's an interesting problem. One solution is to assign random default values to the t-stats and force the home owner to change the defaults. Grid aware thermostats is another potential solution. 

    I wonder if a variance of a few minutes would be enough the level the load enough. So instead of the ac or heat turning on at 6am on the nose it comes on at 5:51am instead, and someone else would come on at 6:13am. I can't imagine this is a problem just with smart thermostats but rather all 7day programmable ones unless it has more to do with the time being kept updated.

    Now the issue most people here have with them I think comes from them just being stuck in their ways and not liking new technology.
    The original residents of my small little city didn't like this new fangled contraption called an automobile a little over a century ago. They even went as far as setting artificially low speed limits to try to keep then out despite the fact the main route(US 42 today, back then known as the Wooster pike) between Cleveland and Columbus ran right through the middle of this small hamlet. 

    Yes ones like the nest don't work well with hydronics or steam. But that has nothing to do with it being a "smart" connected thermostat. The ability to log cycle length and total run time is a very useful tool. 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,989
    edited July 2022
    I am certainly glad that someone is thinking of this stuff! I know that I would not be able to forecast electrical requirements in order to provide the grid with sufficient power to run my Tesla and my Air Conditioner. Hell, I don't even know when I am going to use them let alone when everyone else is going to use theirs.

    But I only care about my requirements. Let the folks at the Electric Company worry about everyone else!
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that.

    That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming.

    My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 404
    My favorite quote from this
    "with most homeowners only seeing energy savings of 5-8 percent, as opposed to the 25-30 percent they're capable of. "

    The publication should maybe consider changing the words "they're capable of" to "as advertised" because I think this is really showing what savings the thermostat is actually capable of, the advertised 25-30 percent savings was always just marketing fluff, maybe they found one home that they could show those savings
    ChrisJDoubleBoiler
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,989
    ChrisJ said:

    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that.

    That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming.

    My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times

    You are being controlled more than you think. That Prestige system only lets you think you are in control. Big Brother is watching you! The computer/tablet/smartphone that you just posted with is also watching you and is allowing you to think you are controlling it when if fact. It is Controlling YOU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgdSEiC4pJk

    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    GGross said:

    My favorite quote from this
    "with most homeowners only seeing energy savings of 5-8 percent, as opposed to the 25-30 percent they're capable of. "

    The publication should maybe consider changing the words "they're capable of" to "as advertised" because I think this is really showing what savings the thermostat is actually capable of, the advertised 25-30 percent savings was always just marketing fluff, maybe they found one home that they could show those savings

    Technically,
    Most homeowners are probably capable of 100% savings, even without a smart thermostat. No?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    GGross
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901

    ChrisJ said:

    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that.

    That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming.

    My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times

    You are being controlled more than you think. That Prestige system only lets you think you are in control. Big Brother is watching you! The computer/tablet/smartphone that you just posted with is also watching you and is allowing you to think you are controlling it when if fact. It is Controlling YOU https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgdSEiC4pJk

    I'll see your Outer Limits with The Zone.

    A Thing About Machines


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,130
    ChrisJ said:
    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that. That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming. My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times.
    My smart z-wave thermostat doesn't drift the temperature? I have it set to 72 all winter long.

    Just to be clear I consider any thermostat that is networked connected to be 'smart'. It really is the only thing that sets them apart from every one designed in the last couple of decades. 

    I also enjoy the ability to get notifications if there is a failure of some sort. If I'm at work on a cold January day and the boiler gives up the ghost I'd like to know about that asap before damage is done to the rest of the house.
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,989
    ChrisJ said:




    I'll see your Outer Limits with The Zone.

    I'll raise you one confused viewer



    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
    ChrisJPC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    edited July 2022
    JakeCK said:


    ChrisJ said:

    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that.

    That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming.

    My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times.




    My smart z-wave thermostat doesn't drift the temperature? I have it set to 72 all winter long.

    Just to be clear I consider any thermostat that is networked connected to be 'smart'. It really is the only thing that sets them apart from every one designed in the last couple of decades. 

    I also enjoy the ability to get notifications if there is a failure of some sort. If I'm at work on a cold January day and the boiler gives up the ghost I'd like to know about that asap before damage is done to the rest of the house.
    I was under the impression a "Smart Thermostat" is like the Nest in that it programs it self and alters it's behavior based on movement in the house etc.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 414
    ChrisJ said:


    I was under the impression a "Smart Thermostat" is like the Nest in that it programs it self and alters it's behavior based on movement in the house etc.

    Having a central repository logging when someone is home and not in order to "better serve us" is a future Im not too much into.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,490
    @EdTheHeaterMan and @ChrisJ -- I don't care to be controlled either. Even alarm clocks bother me. However, not so badly as a friend of mine some many years ago... we were camping, and for some reason had set the alarm clock (one of the old wind up ones) but when it went off it was still before dawn, and it had been a longish evening... Tom picked up his 1911 from the night stand and emptied the magazine into it. Then we went back to sleep...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EdTheHeaterManJakeCK
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,336
    Not sure I will l could go back to sleep after hearing a 45 going off a few feet away...
    JakeCKPC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    ratio said:

    Not sure I will l could go back to sleep after hearing a 45 going off a few feet away...

    Yeah.....
    I would think turning the alarm off would've been easier, and less disruptive, and cheaper.

    I guess "not cool" though.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,130
    ChrisJ said:
    ChrisJ said:
    The problem I have with smart thermostats is I don't want the temperature of my house drifting all over the place just because someone thinks its a cute idea. I tell it what I want it to do, and I expect it to do that. That goes for all of the machines I use. I'll do the thinking and programming. My Honeywell Prestige logs run times. It also logs duct work temperature both return and supply, outdoor temperature and humidity and indoor temperature and humidity and it does all of it while running a program I told it to. It also only needs two wires to operate, no hokey fake common gimmicks, no flakey internal battery that dies during long run times.
    My smart z-wave thermostat doesn't drift the temperature? I have it set to 72 all winter long.

    Just to be clear I consider any thermostat that is networked connected to be 'smart'. It really is the only thing that sets them apart from every one designed in the last couple of decades. 

    I also enjoy the ability to get notifications if there is a failure of some sort. If I'm at work on a cold January day and the boiler gives up the ghost I'd like to know about that asap before damage is done to the rest of the house.
    I was under the impression a "Smart Thermostat" is like the Nest in that it programs it self and alters it's behavior based on movement in the house etc.
    If I'm not mistaken the nest actually doesn't do much of the logic it's self. Rather it relies on the cloud to do all of the magic that we see. The only thing that is really physically different then any other wifi thermostat is the sensors to detect presence in the house. But again without that internet connection it's just a dumb stat'. My Honeywell z-wave model connects to my home automation(home assistant) and is monitored, and controlled if need be, from there. HA can use the input from all the various sensors in the house(motion, humidity, temperature, ect) and take actions based on that. 

    Internally these thermostats are all pretty similar. They have a circuit board, cpu, memory, input of some kind. They are all computers by definition. Turing Completeness I believe is the term I'm looking for.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    You're forgetting about the microphone that records all you're goings on. hmmm Big Bro is watching you.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,766

    You're forgetting about the microphone that records all you're goings on. hmmm Big Bro is watching you.

    Yup. @Gordo found one inside a dead Nest he took apart. Also some miniature cameras. I'll never have a Nest in my house.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,336

    PC7060
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,766
    ratio said:


    :D:D:D
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,130
    edited July 2022
    I can't speak to the nest about having a microphone but I'm confident my Honeywell z wave does not. The zwave protocol doesn't have anywhere near enough bandwidth to send that amount of information without basically crashing the mesh network it uses. Very low bandwidth and low power wireless communication in the 900Mhz band. This is by design because most z wave devices are battery powered. If they were constantly talking as to send out voice and other telemetry a AA battery wouldn't last very long. And even if they did, where would all that data go? No guarantee the hub would do anything with it. Home Assistant for example is all local. No internet required, and no outside communication unless you want it too. Open source software too. Pretty easy for the programming community to pick it apart if it did do anything nefarious. 

    Nah, I'd be more worried about the cellphones we all carry around with us 24/7 that have gps, cell triangulation, gyroscopes, heartbeat monitors, step counters, mic, camera, all our contacts, and all of our personal messages and photos on them. And they're connected to the internet 24/7/365. I wonder how many people know that the Qualcomm chip in smart phones can be turned on remotely and listen in on the mic even with out the rest of the phones operating system booting up? 👻

    How many here have ever read or heard about the Russian spy's that planted a microphone in one of our diplomats office back in the 40's? It went undetected for almost a decade. The mic was inert unless energized remotely by RF. If not look up "The Thing".
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    edited July 2022
    JakeCK said:
    I can't speak to the nest about having a microphone but I'm confident my Honeywell z wave does not. The zwave protocol doesn't have anywhere near enough bandwidth to send that amount of information without basically crashing the mesh network it uses. Very low bandwidth and low power wireless communication in the 900Mhz band. This is by design because most z wave devices are battery powered. If they were constantly talking as to send out voice and other telemetry a AA battery wouldn't last very long. And even if they did, where would all that data go? No guarantee the hub would do anything with it. Home Assistant for example is all local. No internet required, and no outside communication unless you want it too. Open source software too. Pretty easy for the programming community to pick it apart if it did do anything nefarious. 

    Nah, I'd be more worried about the cellphones we all carry around with us 24/7 that have gps, cell triangulation, gyroscopes, heartbeat monitors, step counters, mic, camera, all our contacts, and all of our personal messages and photos on them. And they're connected to the internet 24/7/365. I wonder how many people know that the Qualcomm chip in smart phones can be turned on remotely and listen in on the mic even with out the rest of the phones operating system booting up? 👻

    How many here have ever read or heard about the Russian spy's that planted a microphone in one of our diplomats office back in the 40's? It went undetected for almost a decade. The mic was inert unless energized remotely by RF. If not look up "The Thing".

    I suspect Steamhead is still using his flip phone, but even that can easily be tracked even if you turn off location.

    But, no one cares.  The only thing companies want to "listen" for is to sell you stuff.  What you do, and where you do it etc means nothing to them.  All they care about is what you need to buy.

    Advertising.........that's what it's all about.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    JakeCK
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,130
    I'd only add that big brother has gotten wise to that and instead of spying on us they just buy the info from the data brokers. No warrant needed.