Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Wifi Thermostats

I have a steam boiler in a two family property that I manage. There's only one thermostat. I 'm considering installing a smart thermostat like Nest or Ecobee in the basement with room sensors (not the smart sensors) in each apartment.

Has anyone tried this? If yes, can you share the results?

I've also considered putting a wifi thermostat in the primary apartment with a sensor in the second apartment. But I would need to run a C wire...which is more work, possible breaking walls.

Any feedback or other suggestions are appreciated?

thanks!

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,109
    There are a number of thermostats which accept remote sensors -- the Honeywell Lyric series for example -- which work just fine. You don't need or even want a smart thermostat for steam, nor do you need wi-fi to get the control you want.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,632
    You will need to put the thermostat in the colder room apartment. Then the other guy can just open the window if their apartment gets too hot. At least that is how it has been done for the last century!
    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
  • rosaliedipietro2
    rosaliedipietro2 Member Posts: 10
    @Jamie Hall Can you elaborate about not needing a smart thermostat for a steam boiler or not needing wifi to control heat
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 5,632

    @Jamie Hall Can you elaborate about not needing a smart thermostat for a steam boiler or not needing wifi to control heat

    I believe that Jamie is talking about the algorithm thermostats that learn and decide to set back and then recover temperature in a building based on a schedule and then adjust based on some programed criteria. This is never a great idea for a residential steam system. Those thermostats are designed to work best with warm air furnaces that have quick recovery and may operate efficiently at 5 or 6 cycles per hour. The cycle rate on an efficient steam boiler might be a little as 1 cycle per hour or 1.5 CPH.

    The WiFi feature of a thermostat that you can check status remotely over the internet is one thing. All the bells and whistles that come with those "SMART'' thermostats are sometimes counter productive on a steam boiler.

    Edward F Young. Retired HVAC ContractorSpecialized in Residential Oil Burner and Hydronics
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,109
    On not needing -- or wanting -- a smart thermostat to control steam (or, for that matter, radiant or high mass hot water) heat. The smart thermostats gain what they gain by adjusting the temperature up or down according to occupancy and learned (sometimes) schedules. These temperature changes may be fairly wide and short term. This works well for forced air, but heating systems which take time to heat up a space do not benefit from short term changes -- or even once a day setbacks even if they are small. Whether they actually waste energy is a question, but there is much agreement that they save little or no energy. Set it and forget it is the best strategy for those systems.

    Not that smart thermostats can't be used -- they can, but work well only if all of the smart and occupancy sensing features are disabled, so there is some question at least in my mind as to why bother.

    Wi-fi is useful in that it does enable remote off-site monitoring and control in most cases. If you need this capability, then you do need it. However, be sure that the thermostat has a default mode so that when the wi-fi connectivity is lost (it will be) it continues to control the heat at some reasonable value.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,440
    Time and money would probably be better spent working on the venting to balance out the heat, maybe TRVs are the answer to limit the heat in the overheated rooms. You can have all the thermostats and sensors you want.........but what will they control?...you only have 1 boiler so only 1 equipment to control.