The greatest thing since dumb thermostats
Smart thermostats. We’ve all heard the name, we’ve all heard the hype, and we’ve all heard the oppression against their “smartness” when coupled with today’s high efficient reverse cycle heat pumps.
My smart thermostat journey began when I was tasked with integrating a Nest Learning Thermostat into one of our customers high efficient Daikin ducted reverse cycle inverters – one of our project managers took our famous CMS “can do” approach a little too literally. When he was asked whether we could fit a Nest, his first initial response was “of course, how hard could it be?” After the job was quoted and promises were made, my team approached me (me being the company’s leading controls technician), Nest in hand – “make this work on that system” was how I seem to recall the request.
At first, I eased into the project, head held high ready for a simple integration. Boy, was I wrong! Long story short, this was no simple feat. I was determined and in the end we engineered a solution, but in the mean time, I realised what is really wrong with the internet and it’s users.
I scoured the net looking for help (or a shortcut so I didn’t have to engineer the solution myself) with the thoughts of “surely someone has done it”. Every corner I turned I ran into the same wall;
“Will the Nest work on my system?” asks one user.
“My controller has different wires than the one on the website” stated another.
“I’ve wired it in and nothing happens” seemed to be a trending phrase.
In response to all these questions were equally uneducated statements from the sites peers.
“The website says it works with 95% of systems; just cut the wires and it will work”.
“The Daikin website has a Nest on it – that means it should work!”
I think the biggest issue relating to the smart thermostats is it’s target market; tech savy Gen Y’s who aren’t afraid to rip an extra low voltage thermostat off the wall and replace it with the futuristic smart thermostat, because they’ve read how to do it on the internet, and the internet says it’s easy.
Don’t believe me? Read for yourself help needed, or even INCOMPATIBLE.
The only problem is, Australia seems to lie directly in the 5% of incompatible (for the tech savvy home user) HVAC systems. Naturally, their response is to go back to where they found the ‘easy to install’ information and tell the rest of the world that smart thermostats are dumb.
All in all, after all of the hour’s spent searching the world wide web, I came up with nothing but pages full of either “why doesn’t it work?”, “smart thermostats are dumb” or “for sale – thermostat is not compatible with my system”.
This turned my determination to find a solution into an obsession to find an answer. And I am proud to say I succeeded.
The truths about the smart thermostat
I’m not one to read the internet and make a final decision. I also don’t believe it’s very fair to pass on information to the unsuspecting public, unless you are 100% sure you have all the facts you need.
During the many countless hours I spent designing, testing, failing, redesigning, and being told it wouldn’t work, I got to spend quite some time with these thermostats in hand. I compiled a list of truths about the thermostats to ease the mind of my fellow readers.
“Smart thermostats only control dumb HVAC”
While this is somewhat true, it’s not the wiring system that makes these devices smart, but the algorithms that have been programmed in that provide the smarts. It is just the wiring interface provided for the end user is a little dumb, although with a bit of manipulation we can overcome this issue.
Truth is – these thermostats ARE compatible with Australian HVAC systems. Not “straight out of the box, wire it up and you’re good to go” – but yes they are compatible with a little tweaking. This little “tweak” began as a CMS customer only advantage, however we have now come to the realisation that the rest of Australia are (not just asking, but) pleading for a solution.
We are listening.
CMS are proud to announce that we are currently in the process of manufacturing a DIY integration interface. This interface will allow home owners anywhere in Australia the ability to connect smart thermostat (such as Nest, Ecobee, Tado etc) to their existing HVAC system. All you will need is basic electrical knowledge, or your local HVAC technician to perform the task for you! ETA March 2018.
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