Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Posted on
Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:07 pm
Brandt offline
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Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

I wanted to start a general thread on this topic to discuss anything about it in regards to home automation.

So I have an older revision RCS TXB16 which is a thermostat that speaks 2-way X10 for anyone not familiar with it. It is located downstairs, in an area where 4 different areas downstairs are connected, which I think makes the temp sensor on it not so accurate. Anyway, the house is also a two floor house, and in the hot seasons, it is always 100 degrees hotter upstairs than downstairs (exaggerated).

Some solutions cross my mind about how to remedy this:
[*]The TXB16 can support a remote (RS485?) thermostat which I could place upstairs. Then the main thermostat would average out the two temperatures. With this setup though, the upstairs would be a little cooler, but the downstairs would probably be a freezer.
[*]The other solution I can think of is to add two relay controlled vent dampers, one to shut off downstairs, and one to shutoff upstairs? Although I am renting, and this doesn't sound reversible, and would be a monster of a project picturing myself in the attic and what not (and there are no outlets for the relays in the attic).

So I know RCS makes remote thermostats for their main ones, and I also know RCS makes a zone controller system to work with electronic dampers. I am considering switching to Venstar for Insteon support, but am curious if Venstar has hardware to deal with my scenario above?

Does anyone have any other solutions for evening out the temperatures between upstairs and downstairs?

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Posted on
Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:21 pm
jay (support) offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Having had several family members own 2-story houses with the same problem, I'm pretty confident that you'll never really have great success with just a single HVAC unit trying to heat/cool evenly. That's the primary reason why I decided to build a single story house when we built our house back in 2003. In the Texas heat it's really difficult to regulate the temp in a 2-story. As it is I have 2 units - one for each half of my house so I get a little more control that way.

You might be able to do it using automated dampers. If you can find a thermostat system that can do it for you that's one option. Another is to use Indigo (and I've thought about this quite a bit) - so rather than set the thermostat to run automatically, you could use Indigo as the control mechanism to coordinate opening/closing dampers and turning on/off the HVAC system in conjunction with remote temp sensors. A room/area starts to get too hot so Indigo opens the right dampers and turns on the unit. Depending on the complexity of your system it could be some tricky logic but it should be doable.

I've considered doing it in my house, but given that I have 2 units I can pretty much regulate the house to our needs (and save some $$ in the process) so the cost of adding the automated dampers doesn't seem worth it.

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Posted on
Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:04 pm
Brandt offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Alright well just in case, does the Venstar Insteon thermostat support a remote thermostat? Do they have anything that can control damper zones?

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Posted on
Fri Aug 19, 2011 4:03 pm
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Not as far as I know. I believe some of them support a remote temp sensor but I don't have any experience with it.

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Posted on
Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:28 pm
Brandt offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

So I'm really thinking about getting a Venstar for the sole purpose of getting off of X10 completely even though my TXB16 works fine. Is there any consensus on the forum about which one is preferred as far as what model and either integrated or separate insteon adapter? Also I heard they are 6 wire? That seems like quite a lot, if I remember correctly there are only 4 wires going to my TXB16 wall unit.

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Posted on
Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:28 pm
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Brandt wrote:
So I'm really thinking about getting a Venstar for the sole purpose of getting off of X10 completely even though my TXB16 works fine. Is there any consensus on the forum about which one is preferred as far as what model and either integrated or separate insteon adapter? Also I heard they are 6 wire? That seems like quite a lot, if I remember correctly there are only 4 wires going to my TXB16 wall unit.


I have used the Venstar 1800... And it's nice...

My complete review is here... http://www.schollnick.net/wordpress/201 ... -a-review/

But overall, I would suggest, getting a 5 or 7 day programmable... This way, you can have a baseline, but the automation can override... (Or when you sell, you don't need to replace the thermostat...)

The humidity sensor is a nice plus, but not necessary (that was the major difference between the t1800 vs t1900).

The "built-in" insteon adapter is a nice plus with the newer models...

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Support Forum(s) - http://www.perceptiveautomation.com/userforum/viewforum.php?f=33

Posted on
Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:11 pm
cme1ca offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Most of the Venstars support the ACC0400 In/Outdoor Sensor which is a nice simple addition if you already have the Insteon Venstar thermostat.
Would Indigo see that data is you added the 2nd temperature data? I don't see a place for it on the setup page for that device as the setup only shows 1 temp and 1 humidity.

Thanks
Michael

Posted on
Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:20 am
jay (support) offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Unfortunately, no. The INSTEON adaptor doesn't broadcast out the individual temps - rather, it seems to average the two sensors and send out that single temp. Nothing we can do about that as it's a hardware limitation.

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Posted on
Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:54 am
cme1ca offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

That makes sense. Thanks Jay.
Saved me some frustration. ;)

Posted on
Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:44 pm
Brandt offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Ok here is what I have inside my RCS TXB16 wall unit....red, blue, yellow, white, and an unused brown. Apparently the Venstar needs 6...what am I missing?


photo-1.JPG
photo-1.JPG (148.71 KiB) Viewed 874 times

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Posted on
Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:43 am
matt (support) offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

If I remember correctly, for basic single-stage systems the Venstar needs 5 wires (not 6). But I'd suggest you check the installation PDF to make sure that is correct.

Presuming you need 5 wires, but have 4 then take a look at the Venstart Add-A-Wire module. I don't know the details of how to wire it up or its limitations, but that is probably want you need.

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Posted on
Fri Sep 30, 2011 10:29 am
Brandt offline
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Re: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Wow, the integrated ones are no longer available....that was fast...

UPDATE: I ordered the 7-day programmable Venstar thermostat (T1800) with Insteon adapter as well as the humidity module.

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