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Old 10-12-2016, 07:32 AM
2,464 posts, read 2,956,986 times
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I'm in the market, current setup is as follows;

-2 zone AC on separate thermostats (upstairs/downstairs)
-5 zone heat, 3 thermostats are programmable
-Main heat zones (programmable); kitchen floor, upstairs bedrooms, family room
-Secondary heat zones (simple dial); bar/dining rooms, play room
-Heat is hot water baseboard, one zone is hot water floor piping (kitchen)

So first off I'm looking to combine the two AC zones with two main zones the upstairs bedrooms and family room. These 4 thermostats are sitting next to each other on the wall and I want them to be joined. So I have a few questions regarding updating. Adding a new nest/lyric to each room would be cost prohibitive as not every room is used all the time, I typically keep the secondary zones cooler in the winter to reduce heat costs but am not sure if that creates drafts or means more work for the heat to keep the other areas warmer?

1) If I replace 2 or all 3 main zones will they be able to talk to each other?

2) Are there add ons that would allow me to have a zone controlled by another thermostat? Meaning for a the dining/bar room could I add a temp sensor that talks to say the family room thermo and allows it to adjust that zone?

3) I know nest is pretty proven tech and some people have issue with lyrics geofencing, any recommendations?

4) Is my best bet to just find an HVAC contractor and get their input on my current setup and what would work best?

I'm really just looking for insight at this point because it is a project I'd like to tackle before deep winter sets in.
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Old 10-12-2016, 08:55 PM
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Well, I think if you have 4 thermostats next to each other on the wall you have a problem right there. Your thermostats need to be as near the center of the area they're controlling as feasible.

If you are asking whether you can combine a heat-only and an AC-only thermostat, certainly the answer is yes. The vast majority of thermostats have both functions.

You can't subdivide temp. control zones without adding cooling or heating units and dividing the duct work (or radiator piping).

Five heating zones seems kind of excessive.

I think that if you have a whole bunch of programmable thermostats in communication with each other you are setting yourself up for some interesting control system problems like hunting and drifting. Maybe you should consider reducing the number of zones and using normal thermostats.
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Old 10-13-2016, 10:13 PM
Location: D.C.
2,210 posts, read 1,833,815 times
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I went with two ecobee units last winter. One upstairs, one downstairs. Couldn't be happier. They also control the whole-house humidifier. All from my phone. Also have about a dozen of their wireless sensors scattered through the house, which enhances the "smart" aspect.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:59 AM
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Anytime there are "4 thermostats are sitting next to each other on the wall" that should be a giant RED FLAG that previous HVAC work on this house was done by incompetent dolts. The only way that cluster of thermostats is actually doing the intended task of accurately regulating the operation of the attached heating or cooling system is if there are remote sensors already in the rooms / zones connected, that seems unlikely...

Given the mess that already exists any honest HVAC that actually understands what is necessary will almost certainly NOT suggest any of the consumer type Nest or Ecobee thermostats because they are designed to replace an existing thermostat that is properly located and functional. The "end state" that the OP describes will require some fancy commercial style thermostat...

That probably means something like the Prestige IAQ system -- https://forwardthinking.honeywell.co...q_feature.html

In the UK Honeywell also is promoting their "EvoHome" system -- http://www.loxone.com/blog/enuk/mult...t-thermostats/

Last edited by chet everett; 10-14-2016 at 06:41 AM..
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:35 AM
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I should clarify the "4 thermostats". The AC in the house is controlled by two zones (upstairs and downstairs) with their own thermostats. Next to each one is a programmable heat thermostat (family room and upstairs). So not 4 together but 2 and 2 purely because the AC is using it's own thermostat, why I have no idea.

The house was built in 1996 and is 3k sqft. So the dining and bar room are on the far end then the large open kitchen in back with floor heating, then the family/great room. The upstairs bedrooms are on one zone while the bonus room above the garage is on another. All total 5 zone heat, 2 zone cooling. I did move the bedrooms thermostat into our master bed because it was in the hallway originally. Now to put that in perspective the hallway upstairs has no register in it and it also has a long open banister overlooking the great room so it was kind of pointless in it's location.

I'm thinking two units for now would be appropriate that way the heat and AC could be combined and I can program the kitchen floor appropriately. I typically leave the dining/bar rooms and bonus room turned down to a constant 64 during the winter months and only kick it up when in use. The rest of the house sits at 67/68 when we are home. My biggest peeve is having to constantly adjust the program and would much rather have a unit that can learn and do it automatically or be turned on/off before I get home via my phone.
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Old 10-14-2016, 07:14 AM
28,430 posts, read 70,801,315 times
Reputation: 18369
Again, without knowing what sort of incompetence would have caused any installer in 1996 to use separate thermostats for heating in cooling it is still likely that you will need a professional to properly "integrate" the existing controls.

The system that Honeywell promotes to give things like internet access and other such modern features is "RedLink", there are various modules to control / report on every kind of furnace / cooling unit. Finding an installer that is qualified / experienced AND willing to give a fair price is not easy -- https://forwardthinking.honeywell.com/redlink

Honeywell explicitly promotes this an option-filled range of choices that can be a profit center for HVAC installers -- https://forwardthinking.honeywell.co...ct/50-1194.pdf

Even the most expensive consumer / DIY units are likely to be worth considering if you are capable of tracing out the existing controls. Here a good example of the level of skill that is needed for the Ecobee, a unit that has the capability to have multiple sensors that all report into a SINGLE HVAC control -- How to Install an ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

If you want to control INDIVIDUAL sub-systems you will need to go with the fancy RedLink options OR similar commercial options, though the Ecobee can at least allow individual units to "share" info about programming -- The Best Smart Thermostat | The Wirecutter
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:07 AM
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If you are frustrated with having to re-program, and if you basically leave most of the house colder (in winter) or hotter (in summer) and just turn up what you need, why don't you start by throwing the silly programmable thermostats in the trash. Replace them with conventional ones, and combine heat/AC into one where possible. When you are cold, turn the setting up. When you are hot, turn the setting down. You might be a wee bit uncomfortable for a few minutes.

Operate the thing a while that way, figure out what (if anything) else you need, and then you can contemplate programmables. Until the basic control system is correct, programmable control will only make matters worse.
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