Programmable Thermostats

Reviews of digital programmable thermostats

Hunter 44550

Hunter 44550 Auto Save 7 Day Programmable Thermostat

Click here to find the best price on Amazon for the Hunter 44550

List of Specifications:

  • 7 Day programming and 4 periods per day
  • Swing control
  • ‘Home Today’ / Temporary hold
  • Vacation mode
  • Energy usage monitor
  • ENERGY STAR Compliant INDIGLO Backlit Display
  • Smart recovery (adaptive intelligent recovery)
  • Filter warning and 2 stage battery warning
  • Auto change-over
  • Can cycle fan
  • Basic keyboard lockout
  • One touch backlight
  • Front loading batteries (so you don’t have to take the unit off the wall to replace batteries)
  • Armchair programming
  • Energy Star approved
  • Display in Fahrenheit or Celsius / 12 hour or 24 hour
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price $40 (use the link above to check the latest price on Amazon)

Compatibility:

  • Central air, heating only, cooling only, single stage heat pumps, 2 wire hydronics, gas
  • 1 stage heating and 1 stage cooling

Review

The Hunter 44550 Auto Save 7 Day Programmable Thermostat has the distinction of being the cheapest Energy Star approved 7 day programmable thermostat on the market. The best price for the Hunter 44550 is about $40 from Amazon.com.

You might be suspicious of a device that promises so much that is so cheap but the Hunter 44550 is the genuine article.

The Hunter 44550 gives the user a program slot for each day of the week and within each day 4 different periods of heating/cooling – morning, afternoon, evening and night. The thermostat itself is accurate and reliable and if Energy Star recommended settings are adhered to the Hunter 44550 is capable of saving the home owner up to 30% on annual heating and cooling bills.

The Hunter 44550 despite its cheap price is not bereft of useful functions. It has a temporary hold button to quickly suspend the settings if you decide to have a day off work or stay up late watching TV. And if you go on holiday, the Hunter 44550 can be set to vacation mode so the house is protected while you are away without costing you much money.

The Hunter 44550 also has smart response or adaptive intelligent recovery which learns the optimum times needed to pre-heat or pre-cool a room prior to the start of a programmed period.

Furthermore the thermostat has seasonal auto change-over that detects the onset of a new season and switches automatically between heating and cooling to maintain your home comfort.

The Hunter 44550 also has swing control which allows the user to set up a range around the set point within which the thermostat does not activate the heating or cooling systems. This protects the air-con, furnace etc. from constantly short cycling with small  fluctuations in room temperature and helps extend the life of HVAC parts.

There is also a filter change warning and a 2 stage battery change warning. The digital display has an environmentally friendly INDIGLO backlight and programming is straight forward.

Drawbacks

The most noticeable drawback of the Hunter 44550 Auto Save 7 Day Programmable Thermostat is that it can only regulate single stage heating and cooling systems and only single stage heat pumps. Since most heat pumps have more than one stage this limits the thermostat’s compatibility.

Although the thermostat claims it has a keyboard lockout, it is not an alpha-numeric code that protects the device but rather a fixed combination of flicking 2 switches.

Amazon Reviews

89 people have reviewed the Hunter 44550 Auto Save and it has received 61 five star ratings and only 4 one star ratings. Common themes include the ease of installation (but the necessity to read the instruction manual), the usefulness of the ‘home today’ button that automatically changes to the warmest/coolest setting and the fact that for only $40 you get a thermostat with many functions more commonly associated with more expensive thermostats.

Another opinion that was voiced on a number of reviews was the usefulness of the Energy Usage Monitor that lets you keep track of how much you are spending on heating and cooling.

One reviewer noted that it was 4 years before he needed to change the batteries. And one woman mentioned how useful the auto change-over is because where so lives in the Fall it is warm during the day but chilly at nights.

Keynote Quote:

“Keeps you comfortable, saves you money, easy to install and program and virtually hands free operation;  need I say more! Well yes one more thing it costs less than $50.00 which you will save in energy costs in about two months.”

– Tommy Tucker

Fri, January 7 2011 » Hunter, Under $50 » No Comments

Honeywell RTH7600D

buy Honeywell RTH7600D

Click here to find the best price on Amazon for the Honeywell RTH7600D

List of Specifications:

  • 7 Day programming and 4 periods per day
  • Touchscreen programming
  • Accurate to +/- 1°F
  • Temporary hold
  • Smart response
  • Filter warning and battery warning
  • Auto change-over
  • Can cycle fan
  • Large backlit display
  • Real time display that automatically takes account of daylight saving
  • Settings kept even after a power outage
  • No batteries required (can be hardwired to run off HVAC power)
  • Armchair programming
  • Energy Star approved
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price about $66 (use the link above to check the latest price on Amazon)

Compatibility:

  • Central air, heating only, cooling only, heat pumps with auxiliary, gas
  • up to 2 stage heating and up to 2 stage cooling

Review

The Honeywell  RTH7600D Touchscreen 7 Day Programmable Thermostat is very similar to the Honeywell RTH7500D Conventional 7 Day Programmable Thermostat. There are only two differences between the two thermostats. The first difference is that the screen on the Honeywell RTH7600D is 6 5/8 sq inches and on the Honeywell RTH7500D the screen in 4 sq inches. The second difference is that the Honeywell RTH7600D has touchscreen technology. The prices for the two units are almost identical; so if you prefer touchscreen programming then the Honeywell RTH7600D is the more suitable thermostat for you.

The Honeywell RTH7600D has 7 day programming with 4 different periods per day to set up. As with all good programmable thermostats this allows you to co-ordinate the heating and cooling with the schedules of the people in the house to cut out waste. It also allows you to set up your evening programs to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity.

The thermostat is easy to install and can run off the HVAC power so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries. Although the Honeywell RTH7600D uses touchscreen programming the programming style is the same as with the Honeywell RTH7500D – namely, it is a menu driven system. Most people have few problems understanding this system.

The thermostat also features smart response that learns to pre-heat or pre-cool a room prior to the start of a programmed period. It also has auto change-over so that as the seasons change the thermostat automatically switches between heating and cooling.

Another convenience found on the Honeywell RTH7600D is a real time display that keeps track of changes caused by daylight saving. It also retains your settings even after a power outage.

A temporary hold button allows you quickly suspend your programmed settings if you are feeling a bit cold or hot or if you want to stay up late.

And finally, you can take the device off the wall and program it from the comfort of your armchair.

Drawbacks

There are few drawbacks to the Honeywell RTH7600D Touchscreen 7 Day Programmable Thermostat. It is accurate to +/- 1°F and it is reliable. For the money it is a great value device. However, there are a few things that could be improved on the thermostat. Firstly, the Honeywell RTH7600D doesn’t have a vacation mode. This is not an insuperable barrier because you can re-program your daily settings so the HVAC just ticks over while you are away; but still it is an inconvenience. Secondly, the display backlight only comes on if you touch the screen. By touching the screen you also activate a program change which you then need to cancel. Again not a serious problem, but still a slight problem nevertheless.

Finally, as with all Honeywell thermostats the Honeywell RTH7600D doesn’t have a swing control function. Instead it sets a limit on the number of cycles the air-con,  furnace etc. makes in an hour. In most situations this alternative approach works fine.

Amazon Reviews

124 people have bought and reviewed the Honeywell RTH7600D. Of those 124 people , 74 gave the device a full 5 star rating and only 7 people gave the Honeywell RTH7600D a 1 star rating. One reviewer was particularly enthusiastic about the Honeywell alternative to swing control, saying the Honeywell RTH7600D kept much closer to the set point than other thermostats he had in the past.

Nearly all reviews mentioned how easy it was to install the Honeywell RTH7600D and how well the thermostat did its job. However, quite a few people noted the problem with the backlight activation requiring you to start a program change and several noted that the advanced set up was irritating because you need to input numerical codes into the thermostat. Other than that there is very little that people found to criticize  about the Honeywell RTH7600D Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat.

Keynote Quote:

“I come home and find my temperature to be exactly where I want it, everyday. No matter what the weather decides to do this thermostat is ready. It only took me 15 minutes to install it. The screen is clear and easy to read. I am very happy with this purchase. “

– D.B Harris

Thu, January 6 2011 » Honeywell, Under $100 » No Comments

Honeywell RTH7500D

Honeywell RTH7500D Conventional 7 Day Programmable Thermostat

Click here to find the best price on Amazon for the Honeywell RTH7500D

List of Specifications:

  • 7  Day programming and 4 periods per day
  • Accurate to +/- 1°F
  • Temporary hold
  • Smart response
  • Filter warning and battery warning
  • Auto change-over
  • Can cycle fan
  • Large backlit display
  • Real time display that automatically takes account of daylight saving
  • Settings kept even after a power outage
  • No batteries required (can be hardwired to run off HVAC power)
  • Armchair programming
  • Energy Star approved
  • 1 year warranty
  • Price about $49 (use the link above to check the latest price on Amazon)

Compatibility:

  • Central air, heating only, cooling only, heat pumps with auxiliary, gas
  • up to 2 stage heating and up to 2 stage cooling

Review

The Honeywell Conventional 7 Day Programmable Thermostat is a great value device. It is made by trusty worthy brand of Honeywell and it is Energy Star approved. This thermostat is very simple to install and easy to program. As with all Honeywell programmable thermostats it uses an intuitive menu driven style of programming that quickly lets you input the 4 settings for each day of the week. And to help you check your settings quickly at night the display is backlit.

The Honeywell RTH7500D has smart response or adaptive intelligent recovery that keeps track of how long it takes to heat or cool a room and then uses this information to continually refine pre-heating/pre-cooling. Thus, at the start of a programmed period the room temperature is just as you set it. This stops you having to guess when to start the morning program so you wake up to a comfortable house. This feature also makes further energy savings because it stops you being tempted to override and ‘turn up’ the HVAC so the house gets comfortable quickly.

Another useful function on the Honeywell RTH7500D is auto-change-over. This function detects when the temperature changes and switches automatically between heating and cooling (or vice versa).

The Honeywell RTH7500D is an all-round excellent programmable thermostat which is compatible with most 24 volt HVAC systems that has plenty of features to help you save money and to add comfort to your home.

Drawbacks

Honeywell International doesn’t use swing control on their thermostats. Instead the Honeywell RTH7500D regulates the number of cycles per hour. For some people this new approach works fine, for others swing control is preferred. This is an on-going debate that is dealt with elsewhere on this site.

Unlike the more powerful Honeywell RTH8500D 7 Day Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat (and more expensive) the Honeywell RTH7500D doesn’t have a vacation mode. If you go away for a short period you could make up for this deficiency by setting the HVAC to tick over on the temporary hold or you can re-program for the days you are away.

Amazon Reviews

There are currently 68 customer reviews by people who bought the Honeywell RTH7500D Conventional 7 Day Programmable Thermostat. 42 reviewers give the thermostat the maximum 5 stars only 2 people give the device just a single star.

General comments make mention of how easy it was to install the thermostat, but a few people noted that the programming could be better and that you need to read the manual carefully to figure out how to set some functions such as the filter change.Also one or two people noted that if you press a button to activate the backlight then you also activate a setting change which needs to be cancelled. Nobody commented about the lack of a vacation mode.

One reviewer made positive comments about how well the technical support dealt with a problem during installation.

Keynote Quote:

“I’m not a home improvement guru by any means. I was able to install this myself with no difficulty. It works great and the energy savings are noticeable. I like this product and recommend it.”

– Scott Stoddard

Thu, January 6 2011 » Honeywell, Under $50 » No Comments

The Bigger Picture

Energy Star

look for the Energy Star logo

Energy Star was set up by the US Environmental Protection Agency in the early 1990s in an attempt to curb the emission of greenhouse gases by promoting energy efficient products. Devices carrying the Energy Star logo usually use 20%-30% less energy than federal standards. Although, originating in the USA, the Energy Star approval system  has been adopted by Australia, Canada, Japan, Taiwan and the European Union.

One of the key components of the Energy Star program is to increase energy efficiency in the home. By using less electricity homes help reduce carbon emissions. This is because fossil fuels are burnt by power stations to make electricity. The less electricity used, the less fossil fuel burnt. And the less fossil fuel burnt the less carbon dioxide and other pollutants (including mercury) that are released into the atmosphere.

It is the releasing of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse’ gases into the atmosphere which is trapping the heat of the planet. The result is a general rise in temperature causing polar ice to melt and sea levels to rise. Habitat and biodiversity is threatened by global warming. And if you consider that 50% of the world’s human population live within 60km of a shoreline we are in for a nasty shock if we don’t do something about global warming.

By buying an Energy Star approved programmable thermostat and by using it responsibly you can achieve 3 worthy results:

  1. You can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 30% a year (depending on your geographical location).
  2. You can reduce your carbon footprint and thus help fight global warming.
  3. You can increase the comfort of your home.

A programmable thermostat can cost as little $40 and can save you as much as $700 a year. If such an incredible rate of return interests you then read on to discover more about programmable thermostats.

Wed, January 5 2011 » Environment » Comments Off on The Bigger Picture