Since its August 2015 release, the iComfort® S30 Smart Thermostat from Lennox Intl. Inc. has made a name for itself as a dealer-friendly product loaded with features both contractors and end users can enjoy. The thermostat’s attractive interface, installability, connectivity, and diagnostic abilities have earned it gold in the Residential Controls category.
“The S30 has been really good for our customers, as it has become our No. 1 selling thermostat,” said Tom Boyce, owner of Airco Service Inc. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The S30 has a great Wi-Fi signal and valuable features for homeowners, such as geofencing and the Allergen Defender. The S30 is easy to operate and install, and a user may access system settings remotely.”
One Dealer Design Awards contractor judge praised the thermostat, saying, “The ease of installation for the dealer, the ease of use and breadth of information available for the homeowner, and the remote service access for the dealer have revolutionized the home services industry and set a new standard.”
The iComfort S30 has several key features designed with technicians in mind. The automatic setup feature identifies every piece of communicating equipment installed in the system and adjusts settings to optimize performance, all within minutes. The iComfort S30’s Dealer Commissioning App lets technicians pair their smartphones to the iComfort S30 and monitor and adjust settings directly on their phones from anywhere in the house, which eliminates time-consuming back-and-forth walks between the thermostat and indoor/outdoor equipment and saves on time, labor, and costs.
Additionally, advanced alerts and reporting help dealers efficiently identify and troubleshoot problems. The iComfort S30 stores installation reports to verify that the initial installation was done correctly. Performance reports show historical data of system performance and operation, which allows technicians to see how the system is running over time and how temperatures track with set points. Technicians will also be able to see how long the system runs each day. This information will allow the identification and diagnosis of problems remotely, meaning every truck roll will arrive at the customer’s home armed with the right information and parts.
Finally, with the information and tools provided by the iComfort S30, dealers can identify problems remotely. In many cases, problems can be resolved simply by changing settings on the thermostat. Because the iComfort S30 provides technicians with the ability to remotely log in to the homeowner’s thermostat, change settings, run diagnostics, and perform tests, dealers can save costs while still delivering exceptional customer service.
“Lennox did a great job listening to its dealers,” Boyce said. “Being able to access the system settings through the S30 remotely is a huge win. The S30 Installer App makes the install a lot better, as well.”
Lennox conducted extensive homeowner and dealer research during product development. For dealers, six roundtable interviews (focus groups) were conducted to identify pain points in the field. Dealer-focused tools — including dealer setup, configuration, and troubleshooting capabilities — were tested during the prototype phase to ensure the system would be intuitive and simple to use. For homeowners, three separate focus groups were conducted to validate features, hardware, and the user interface. The focus groups were also supplemented by a quantitative survey to ensure the product would address key homeowner needs.
Anubhav Ranjan, director, product management, controls and IAQ, Lennox Intl. Inc., said the company is focused on delivering exceptional value to homeowners and dealers through innovative and industry-leading products.
“The iComfort S30 Smart Thermostat has been very well received, but the world is moving fast. As homeowner and dealer needs evolve, so will the product. We will continue to add information and tools to make our dealers’ jobs easier from an installation and service standpoint. We will also continue to add features that give homeowners enhanced comfort, energy efficiency, and peace of mind.”
The Lux/GEO Wi-Fi thermostat delivers ease of installation and use as well as beauty and brains. In addition to having two designer finishes — piano black with black chrome accent or white pearl with brushed chrome accent — another unique aesthetic is that GEO can be mounted either horizontally or vertically. Lux/GEO offers a large backlit display, an easy soft-touch wheel interface for setup and control even without Wi-Fi connectivity, and a geofencing/radius feature that allows the Lux/GEO to automatically adjust its settings when outside of a set radius. Lux/GEO also offers three power functions: c-wire, micro-USB, and battery (when no c-wire is present).
Product testing was extensive with a focus on features, energy efficiency, and ease of use. Lux Products conducted multiple external and internal surveys on the overall design of the product and the interface wheel on the unit. The product was tested with key customers, and adjustments and enhancements were made based on their feedback. The wheel interface and its touch and control “feel” were details not overlooked. HVAC professionals were also included in early testing to be sure features were on point for ease of installation, ease of use, and ease of specifying.
The Lux/GEO intentionally was designed with features that make sense to residential HVAC applications rather than adding features and costs that have no bearing on comfort control. Lux/GEO was designed with the HVAC professional in mind, especially regarding ease of installation, ease of setup, opportunity for greater profit margins, and ease of use.
Lux Products has been dedicated to HVAC comfort controls for 25-plus years and puts a great deal of emphasis on functionality and developing sensible solutions through technology. Lux/GEO can and will evolve as technology and needs move the market forward.
The Universal Heat Pump Defrost from Emerson Climate Technologies Inc. replaces more than 200 unique controls. With selectable timed or demand-defrost cycles and configurable O or B reversing valves, this single control works on virtually all single-stage heat pumps. In addition to aftermarket replacement, this latest innovation in outdoor electronics from Emerson also provides upgrade opportunities to reduce reversing valve noise, provide dual-fuel system control, and enable system protection.
The user interface can be rotated so that the LED screen can be read when the control, is mounted in either vertical or horizontal orientation. The unique user interface walks the contractor through configuration, operation, and troubleshooting the defrost cycle as well as the heat pump system. It even displays a smiley-face emoji to let the user know everything is setup properly and the system is ready to go.
Emerson surveyed contractors during significant heat pump installations and utilized Emerson’s Design Services in Sidney, Ohio, to test the performance of the different defrost algorithms. Much of the research included hours of internet searches of competitive wiring diagrams and application/install bulletins in order to determine all of the needed features to make it truly universal.
This product takes away the need to count blinking lights and simplifies the contractor’s ability to install, configure, and troubleshoot the heat pump and defrost system. The technology behind the universal-defrost user interface will be applied to additional indoor and outdoor controls offered by White-Rodgers. In addition, a control for two-stage and/or systems with ECM (electronically commutated motor) fan motors is envisioned, as well as additional defrost algorithm choices, including a regional defrost optimized by geographic area of the country.
Lennox Intl. Inc.
iComfort S30 Smart Thermostat
Lux/GEO Wi-Fi Thermostat
Emerson Climate Technologies Inc.
Universal Heat Pump Defrost Control
Publication date: 7/18/2016