Programmable Thermostats

Reviews of digital programmable thermostats

About Adaptive Intelligent Recovery

Adaptive intelligent recovery is known as smart response on Honeywell thermostats and as smart recovery on Lux Products programmable thermostats. It is a function that pre-heats or pre-cools a room so the set point temperature is reached at the start of a programmed period.

There is some debate of the purpose of this function. Some people in forums question whether this function is necessary and whether it saves money. Other people have gone to HVAC forums to find out ways to turn off adaptive intelligent recovery. Here is a link for instructions to turn off smart response on a Honeywell RTH series thermostat:

The idea of smart recovery is that the Honeywell thermostat learns how long it takes to pre-heat or pre-cool house so you don’t have to guess what time to set the heating/cooling for. People want to wake up to a comfortable house or get home to a comfortable house. While cheaper adaptive intelligent recovery systems may just start 15 minutes prior to the start of a programmed period, Honeywell thermostats monitor the changing conditions in a room and finds the optimum time needed.

The temptation for the average person if they encounter a house that is too warm or too cold is to turn the thermostat up to full heating or full cooling to make the home comfortable quickly. This does not cause the house to reach a comfortable temperature quicker. It just makes the house too hot or too cold and costs more money.

Thus, it might not be immediately apparent what the value of smart response or smart recovery is at first. However, if you consider that it stops you turning the heating/cooling up too much then it becomes clearer why it is a useful function.

A number of comments on HVAC forums note that the house becomes too hot or too cold early in the morning. This is probably because the settings are wrong. The recommended Energy Star settings are as follows:


70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius) in winter and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) in summer.

The morning period should finish when you leave the house to go to work.


For the afternoon or day setting you should reduce the temperature on your programmable thermostat by 8 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) in winter and increase the temperature by 7 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) in summer.


The evening period starting point should be the time when you usually  return from work. The settings for this period should be the same as for morning.


At midnight or whenever you go to bed should be the start point for the night settings. For  this period you should reduce the temperature by 8 degrees Fahrenheit (5 degrees Celsius) in winter and increase the temperature by 4 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) in summer.

The closer you can match the settings with your movements and the closer you can stick to these settings the more energy efficient you will be, and the lower your heating/cooling bills will be. If adaptive intelligent recovery is working correctly it should be a help not a hindrance.

Heat Pumps

The situation with heat pumps is slightly more complicated. The performance of heat pumps is determined by the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors: the colder it is outside the longer it takes for a heat pump to generate heat and to warm a house. Either you buy a Honeywell thermostat such as the Prestige HD that connects through wi-fi to an outdoor sensor to monitor outside temperature changes or you install a thermometer outside and regularly check the temperature so you can estimate what time to start the programs.

Sat, April 9 2011 » Functions