What’s the Right Smart Thermostat For You?

iComfort S30IMG_1873

The iComfort S30, Lennox’s top-of-the-line model, is the smart thermostat that expertly adheres to your customers’ busy schedules.  Creative features like Smart Away mode and Schedule IQ technology will adapt to their routines and automatically change the temperature settings when a person leaves or arrives in the home, while advanced alerts and performance reports use smart diagnostics to monitor all system components.  In addition, the iComfort S30 has remote diagnostic capabilities that can potentially allow your local HVAC company to solve your heating or cooling problems without them having to make a house call.

iComfort Wi-Fi

The iComfort Wi-Fi smart thermostat, where technology meets accessibility, features an efficient touchscreen interface that puts comfort control right at your fingertips.  Similarly to the iComfort S30, this smart thermostat can be controlled from anywhere. For example, smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices can program the thermostat from afar and change settings.  This thermostat is only compatible with premium Lennox equipment and it offers complete control over the humidity levels and temperature in a home.  The Precise Comfort Plus feature keeps the indoor temperature within 0.5° or better, so what is seen on the screen should be the same as what you’re feeling at home.

iComfort Wi-Fi Flex

This thermostat was created to work with Lennox non-communicating equipment along with most other brands of cooling and heating equipment.  The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex has almost all the same comfort, convenience, energy-savings, and performance features, which makes it possible to have complete control over standard HVAC equipment.  For people who still want the control and convenience of a smart thermostat, but aren’t quite ready to replace their existing systems, this is a great option.

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iComfort Wi-Fi Flex Thermostat

IMG_1872Remote-control of any home system with the iComfort Wi-Fi Flex Thermostat.  The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex thermostat extends smart remote control capabilities to non-communicating equipment from virtually any manufacturer.  “Because it’s Wi-Fi enabled, the user can manage the temperature inside the home from anywhere using their smartphone,” says Anubhav Ranjan, product management director.  Homeowners can use the iComfort app to:

  • Activate energy-saving Away Mode if they’re gone for an extended period.
  • Adjust the temperature when they’re on their way home.
  • Make real-time temperature adjustments from inside the home.
  • Set up a seven-day schedule for automatic energy savings and comfort.

The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex also provides peace of mind through the system diagnostics.  It sends alerts to the homeowner – and the dealer, if the homeowner chooses – when an issue needs attention.  “The dealer can monitor the system remotely and catch issues before they become problems.  That can help the homeowner avoid being stuck without cooling in the summer.”

The iComfort Wi-Fi Flex introduces homeowners to the benefits of Lennox’ smart equipment and saves them money by extending the life and increasing the efficiency of their current equipment.  “It’s a good choice if their old system still has some life in it, and they can upgrade the other equipment later on.”

Article from “The Lennox News: The Official Newsletter from Lennox Residential” (Volume 72 Number 02 Summer 2016)

8 Things to Check Before Calling for A/C Service

1. Have you checked the filter? – Dirt is the number one cause of system failure.

Filters

2. Is the gas meter turned on with your local utility provider?

3. Have you made sure the electrical power to the house is on? 

4. Are there batteries in the thermostat? – If the thermostat display doesn’t light up, change the batteries.

5. Did the circuit breaker get tripped? – Reset the breaker, if the breaker to your HVAC unit has been tripped.  Keep in mind that circuit breakers trip for safety reasons and if the breaker trips again, a certified electrician should look into the problem. Many times, the breaker isn’t the problem, it’s something in the wiring pulling more electricity than it should.

6. Check the condensation pump and/or A/C drain line? – If it is full or plugged empty the pan and flush the drain line.  An HVAC technician IS recommended for this.

7.  Have you made sure the thermostat is set to cool or heat?  

8.  Is the outdoor unit dirty and/or filled with cotton or debris?

Please note that articles from other places may mention more or different things to check, however, they most likely are not safe to check yourself.  I just read an article where an HVAC technician died by touching the filter cabinet.  They died just by trying to change the filter.  Change a filter is normally a safe thing to do.  If you ever question your safety when checking your HVAC equipment, call an certified and licensed HVAC company.

HVAC Cabinet

What Should I Set My Thermostat To When I’m On Vacation?

In light of my vacation to California coming up at the end of the week, I felt this was the perfect topic.  It also doesn’t hurt that “What should I set my thermostat to when I’m away on vacation or I’m not home?” is a common question we hear from our customers.  During the spring and summer months, people spend a lot of time on vacation. When these people come home, they don’t want to come back to an unbearably hot house.  They especially don’t want to pay for unreasonably high energy bills when they haven’t even been home.

Picking the perfect temperature setting while on vacation depends on what the homeowner normally sets their cooling system temperature at when they are home. When on vacation, the thermostat should be set a maximum of five degrees higher than the normal setting. For example, If it is normally set at 73 when they are home, the thermostat should be set it at 78 while they are away.

This way energy is not wasted and the house won’t be overly toasty and humid when they return. It should be noted that cooling only changes the air 18 to 22 degrees, while heating changes the temperature 20 to 40 degrees.

It is important to NOT completely turn off the air conditioner so humidity is still being removed from the home.  This is because heat and humidity is the ideal breeding ground for mold, mildew, and fungus.

Another option is to have us install a WiFi Thermostat for:

  • Remote access with Cloud connectivity lets you adjust temperature and control energy costs from anywhere, using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
  • One-Touch Away Mode overrides your regular programming schedule when you’re away and automatically turns down heating or cooling to save energy.
  • Weather-on-Demand with five-day forecast lets you know what to expect outside throughout the day.
  • Alerts and Reminders not only will your iComfort Wi-Fi monitor itself with advanced diagnostics, it can also send you and your dealer alerts and emails if the system needs service or maintenance.
  • The Nuvango™ skin option and matching screensaver allow you to cover and protect the thermostat interface with any design or pattern you prefer. You can also choose a color to blend in with your décor or the thermostat screensaver.
  • Automatic updates connect you to new features as they become available.
  • Simple touchscreen interface with intuitive graphics and bright backlighting makes programming easy.

iComfort Wi-Fi Touchscreen Thermostat

Is there any Advantage to Setting the Thermostat to On Instead of Auto?

Is there any advantage to letting the air conditioner of heat pump fan run all the time (the “on” setting on the thermostat” instead of periodically (the “auto” or “automatic” setting on the thermostat)?

 

If you live in a very humid climate you may not want to run the fan continuously because this reduces dehumidification, otherwise, there are some potential advantages.

Continuously circulating the air keeps the temperature more even throughout the house be alleviating temperature stratification.  It keeps air circulating through the comfort system’s air filter, which–depending on filter type and efficiency–can keep the home cleaner and the air fresher to breathe.  When the fan is operating continuously, the compressor continues to periodically cycle on and off automatically to cool and dehumidify your home just as it does on the “auto” setting.

Energy Savings Tips for Cool Comfort

If you want to keep your home comfortably cool while saving energy dollars during the warm months, here’s an idea: don’t add extra heat in your home.  In practical terms, that means:

  • Use your microwave or counter-top appliances for cooking chores instead of your oven or stove.  Better yet, grill some burgers outdoors.
  • Run your dryer and dishwasher at night instead of the day.  Or let your clothes and dishes air dry.  Also, wash only full loads.
  • Keep out heat from the sun by keeping drapes, blinds and shades closed during the hottest parts of the day.
  • After a shower or bath, use the bathroom fan to remove heat and humidity.  Better to take short showers instead of baths.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible.  Each degree above 78 can save 6-7 percent off cooling costs.  Also, don’t try to cool faster by setting a thermostat colder than normal.  It won’t help and could result in added energy expenses and/or cause stress to the unit.
  • Install a programmable thermostat to save energy while you’re away and comfortable while home.
  • Ceiling fans will create a cool breeze and keep air circulating in the home and, the Department of Energy says, will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4 degrees without reducing comfort.
  • Replacing an aging central air conditioning with a new Energy Star qualified model can reduce cooling costs by 20 percent.

To see how much you can save check out this Energy Savings Calculator.  It will show you the difference between an old lower efficiency model versus a new higher efficiency heating and cooling system.

Make Your Savings Automatic

Cooling and heating your home is a significant investment – typically, 44% of your utility bill goes just to keep your indoor climate comfortable.

Here’s an idea:

You can save as much as 10% a year on your heating and cooling bills by adjusting your thermostat just a few degrees at night.  Or you can make this savings automatic by installing a programmable thermostat.  This is especially helpful when you’re away (think Summer vacation!).

By using a programmable thermostat, your heating or air conditioning is adjusted according to a pre-set schedule.  As a result, you don’t operate the equipment as much when you sleep or when you’re not there.  And that means automatic savings – now that’s comfort!

So, call your trusted local HVAC company and they can show you how to get your automatic savings started today.