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Programmable Thermostats

Last updated: 01-01-2021

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Programmable Thermostats

Consumers are upgrading HVAC systems to higher efficiency equipment and controls without understanding that often such new equipment when operated the old way, provide energy savings. For example, a 98% efficient boiler only achieves such high performance when it operates at low temperatures typically below 80 deg F (27 deg C). Regardless of the use of programmable thermostats, when a 98% efficient boiler is run at 180 deg F (82 deg C) it still only achieves a nominal 85%. Likewise if people are relying on programmable thermostats for savings it’s important to know that a thermostat only tells the boiler that it "could" run but not at what temperature it "should" run at. This is not a trivial matter. If you are upgrading to reduce your energy consumption, you have to look at the entire system – it’s not enough just to replace the equipment. Learn how to operate your boiler for maximum efficiency. 99% of all retail type thermostats only measure the air temperature - consider that in light of these two statements made 150 years apart... From 1857: "the Commissioners of the General Board of Health  advocated as one of the requirements for comfort that the walls of a room be at least as high in temperature as the general temperature of the room, while they included cold walls or floors amongst the conditions which make for discomfort.”   From 2010: National Building Code of Canada v2010: Section A-5.3.1.2.(1) Use of Thermal Insulation or Mechanical Systems for Environmental Control states, “In addition to controlling condensation, interior surface temperatures must be warm enough to avoid occupant discomfort due to excessive heat loss by radiation.” Thermostats are supposed to be your ambassador to your HVAC system but they do a miserable job because  they don't sense what we sense. ...and this from the UK's Health and Safety Executive, “The most commonly used indicator of thermal comfort is air temperature – it is easy to use and most people can relate to it. But although it is an important indicator to take into account, air temperature alone is neither a valid nor an accurate indicator of thermal comfort or thermal stress.” Learn more about this topic defined by the phrases: "mean radiant temperature" and "operative temperature" Still the worlds most perfect thermostat (IMHO)... The thermostatic radiator valve was invented over 70 years ago and its simplistic design is just as reliable today as it was back in the day. *It has no power *Batteries not required *Self powered *Was the first wireless stat *Is fully modulating *Senses operative temp. *One (1) page IOM manual *Works like a door knob *Turn right for less heat *Turn left for more heat *Incredibly reliable *Anyone can work it *Stocked everywhere *Perfect for reduced:  - manual dexterity  - visual acuity  - cognitive abilities Perfect for grumpy designers and their clients who are sick and tired of technology stealing away valuable fishing time! "The importance of individual temperature control in offices was established in the 1980s and 1990s. Unfortunately, the advantages of individual temperature control have not been realized well in practice, largely because of problems in the usability of thermostats."  Sami Karjalainena, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Here's the result of consumers not satisfied with "energy saving" claims from the NEST Learning Thermostat... Plaintiff Justin Darisse ("Plaintiff') brings this action on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated against Nest Labs, Inc. Plaintiff makes the following allegations based upon information and belief, except as to the allegations specifically pertaining to himself, which are on personal knowledge. NATURE OF THE ACTION 1. This a class action against Defendant Nest Labs, Inc. ("Defendant") for using false misleading advertising, in website, print, and point-of sale promotional materials, as well as product packaging, to promote and sell the Nest Learning Thermostat ("Nest"). 2. Nest is a wireless thermostat that can be remotely controlled from smartphones and tablets. In 2011, Defendant launched Nest, a sleek "new generation" thermostat that was supposed revolutionize thermostats, not unlike the iPod revolutionized music playing devices.1 But Defendant released a fancy, overpriced gadget (pictured below), which, while aesthetically "cool" like the iPod, fails at even the most basic function of a thermostat: accurately gauging and controlling temperature. 3. Defendant promises that Nest will provide energy and cost savings that Nest does provide. In fact, Nest increases energy use and costs because, contrary to Defendant's representation that Nest uses "multiple temperature sensors to determine the ambient temperature with a high degree of accuracy," customer reports and Defendant's own admissions show that Nest is so defective that it cannot correctly gauge ambient temperature. 4. Nest's base and faceplate heat up, which causes Nest's temperature reading to be from two to ten degrees higher than the actual ambient temperature in the surrounding room. This defect prevents the thermostat from working properly. As a result, Nest users do not experience the advertised energy savings.  


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