Wireless devices are everywhere; in our vehicles, computers, phones, offices, homes and the list goes on! But a wireless thermostat; isn’t that a little too much? I mean really, is this new technology for the sake of new technology or are there real benefits to wireless thermostats?
That is the question, and here is the answer; YES! Now call your HVAC Company and have them change all your thermostats! What? Oh, you want to know those benefits? Fair enough; here are a few good reasons to adopt this technology.
But first, a little about the thermostats available today that meet this ‘wireless’ definition and what ‘wireless’ really means.
Wireless to the equipment: Both Honeywell and Jackson Systems have had wireless thermostats available for some time. These use a wireless Equipment Interface Module (EIM) to communicate with the equipment. IOW, the thermostat is wireless (no wires in the walls) and it communicates (wirelessly) to the EIM which is mounted (usually) near your indoor equipment or package unit. The EIM is hard wired to the equipment but there are no wires running from the equipment to the thermostat.
Many times this type of thermostat is the preferred option for retrofits and adding zoning to existing buildings. There is no need to rout new wires in existing walls; thermostats are easy to relocate if needed and wireless zoning boards make it easy to integrate a zone system into a building that was not previously zoned.
Wireless to the internet: Traditional wireless thermostats were not ‘internet ready’, or we enabled as we call it. There needed to be an additional interface (modem) to be able to see the system from a web browser. Many times this also came with a subscription fee to the web based service. Smart home technology used the same type of system for various other controls as well.
Generally speaking the web enabled thermostats are hard wired to the equipment (like a traditional thermostat) but may only require two or four wires (instead of six or seven). Some of these are communicating systems that communicate over the four wires, some are wireless communicating and the hard wires are just to power the thermostat, and yet others use all the traditional wires and are just wireless for the sake of being able to get on the internet.
Ask yourself this simple question. Do I want to be able to see my thermostat from any web browser, or phone app, whenever I want? If the answer is yes, then you need a web enabled thermostat.
Do you want to add a zone, switch to a two speed system or add some Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) devices? Then either a communicating thermostat or wireless/communicating thermostat will best fit the bill.
Honeywell calls their wireless system RedLink; it is a proprietary wireless protocol used to communicate between Honeywell wireless devices which include thermostats, zone boards, humidifiers/dehumidifiers, room sensors and many others.
The FocusPro series is a wireless system that is not web enabled and the Prestige series is wireless and web enabled.