Intelligent, Connected Thermostats Riding a Wave of Popularity
ORLANDO, Fla. — The thermostat market has received a lot of buzz both inside and outside the HVAC industry in recent years. The 2016 AHR Expo in Orlando was no different as the top thermostat manufacturers used the venue to showcase their latest and greatest products.
Thermostat manufacturers are learning that they need to be all things to all people. While some consumers want geofencing to control their thermostat, others want to simply set it and forget it. Of course, there are several steps in between those two options.
In an effort to help contractors navigate an increasingly complex set of thermostat options, White-Rodgers introduced its line of 80 Series thermostats.
“Thermostat selection has become overwhelming,” said Ed Blittschau, vice president of marketing, White-Rodgers. “The market is overcrowded with choices, features, and complexities. With our new 80 Series, Emerson is helping HVAC professionals see through the clutter and make the clear choice for comfort. We have been getting great feedback from the market on this new line.”
Emerson’s 80 Series includes a streamlined set of thermostats with standard features that cover every service call, including easy installation and setup featuring a built-in level indicator, pluggable terminals, and a streamlined set-up menu; a large backlit display; options like a keypad lockout, temperature limits, and other professional grade features; and performance with certified accuracy to plus or minus 1°.
Thermostat options help HVAC professionals select the right application for each customer. The Sensi Wi-Fi Universal Thermostat offers control anytime, anywhere and installs with no C-wire required. The standard universal model also controls up to four stages of heating and two stages of cooling. The heat pump model is preconfigured for heat pump systems with logic-based algorithms to control staging — even dual-fuel systems are managed automatically, without an outdoor sensor. The 80 Series also includes a conventional, single-stage model that includes the same updated design and large, bright display.
“Last year, Wi-Fi thermostats accounted for about 15 percent of the thermostats purchased,” Blittschau said. “That is growing quite a bit. But, a large portion of the market also prefers conventional thermostats. With the diversity in products, there is a great opportunity for contractors.”
Ecobee was once again showcasing its ecobee3 thermostat with remote sensors. The company proudly announced the thermostat is now Apple Home Kit supported.
“That is Apple’s brainwork for doing whole-home automation and integrating products together,” said Stuart Lombard, president, founder, and CEO, ecobee. “It is really exciting to be in Apple Stores and have that endorsement. Apple is a great brand, and that’s been very good for us with our customers.”
The company reported a great 2015.
“There has been tremendous growth in Wi-Fi-connected thermostats and, because of that, we had a phenomenal year,” Lombard said. “Overall, the market is growing, and you can just feel it. People are enjoying the product. We had a tremendous year in the heating and cooling channel. Smart contractors understand their customers are connected and want this technology.”
Honeywell Intl. Inc. launched its Wi-Fi VisionPRO 8000, which features Wi-Fi connectivity through a homeowner’s network and a Total Connect Comfort app, allowing homeowners to remotely control their comfort settings and manage energy costs. The Wi-Fi VisionPRO 8000 is the latest update in Honeywell’s expanding portfolio of Wi-Fi thermostats, which includes the Wi-Fi FocusPro 6000, the Wi-Fi 9000, and the Wi-Fi 9000 with Voice Control.
The Wi-Fi VisionPRO 8000 is a simple, connected solution that meets ventilation codes, provides full temperature and humidity controls, and includes an onboard humidistat, said Michael Bruce, product marketing manager, Honeywell. In addition, it offers easy-to-follow menus, a remote comfort control, built-in ventilation controller, humidity control, compatibility with numerous systems, an IAQ control relay, equipment check reminders, and more.
“This is one of the fastest growing segments in the industry. Five years ago, these were nice to have. But, now, consumers are demanding them. They expect a certain level of connectivity they can interact with through a mobile app,” said Bruce.
The company also introduced the second-generation Lyric thermostat with geofencing, which integrates with the Apple Home Kit, as well.
“It is one of many partnerships we have from a connected solutions standpoint. This allows consumers to add products into their homes as a smart home solution in a modular approach. They can buy a thermostat, a door lock, or a garage door opener and start to build out a suite of connected products instead of investing in a giant automation system and have that huge dollar amount at the beginning,” Bruce said.
Lux Products Corp. introduced the LUX/GEO thermostat, which has a large display, control wheel interface and an Android/iOS app that offers functionality both online and at the device. The LUX/GEO gives the user full control with easy to understand programing and built-in geofencing to automatically save energy when the user is out of the house.
“We see the growing trend toward home automation,” Rob Munin, president, Lux. “People want their thermostats to be innovative, reliable, and simple.
The LUX/GEO can be powered by system power C-wire, USB plug, or AA lithium batteries. With up to two-heat, two-cool compatibility, the LUX/GEO is compatible with virtually all systems.
Publication date: 2/22/2016