My electricity bills are astronomical. I mean, they are sincerely embarrassing. That’s no doubt due to the fact that the city I live in insisted we keep our old craftsman windows on the front of our little bungalow despite making us jump through hoops in other areas during our home remodel. You can feel the draft coming from the front of the house, even with weatherstripping. Add to that the jacuzzi that seems to suck enough energy to power Los Angeles, and you can see where I would be looking for a little energy savings. A little relief!
So when Honeywell asked if I wanted to review their new Wi-Fit Smart Thermostat with Voice Control, I jumped at the chance. Let’s dive right in!
Installation Is a Breeze
I installed the Honeywell thermostat during Spring Break. My kids were all over me to go do stuff despite me having to work, and so I created little challenges for myself. For example, we have 30 minutes to leave the house before Mr. Peabody and Sherman starts, can I install the Honeywell thermostat by then? I grabbed my screwdriver and it was on.
Gotta say, with all these smart home products I’ve been reviewing lately, I feel pretty accomplished with my handy-woman skills. It only took me about five minutes to uninstall my old crappy thermostat and install the Honeywell. Just pull your old thermostat cover off, take a picture of the wiring scheme, install the new Honeywell back plate, then connect the colored wires to the same connections as before. Oh, and don’t forget to power down your house first. It could be dangerous if not.
Once the wires were connected I snapped the Honeywell front plate onto the wall, which is pretty attractive, and it powered right up. I even had time to begin setup before we had to leave for the movie. After I successfully connected to my wireless network, I turned the thermostat to 75 and left the house to see the (really bad) movie.
When I got home I completed the process of registering my thermostat, which simply requires you go online, quickly set up an account, and type in some serial numbers and such you’ll find inside your box. After you do that, you can peep your thermostat status (see picture below) at anytime via mytotalconnectcomfort.com. You can also actually control your thermostat here as well by clicking the up and down arrows and even do things like adjust the programmed schedule. This is also the place to give other people permission to control your thermostat.
Creating a Schedule
The first thing I noticed about the Honeywell WiFi thermostat is that it is very intuitive to use. Creating household schedules is very straightforward as the thermostat guides you through the process by asking you about the habits of all residents. For example, “What time does the first person wake up?” or “What time does the last person go to bed?” This allows you to create schedules for your own lifestyle, which is very cool. You can also change color schemes for the touch panel, but I preferred the default, a black and white combo for readability. I set my schedule to turn the AC down during peak electricity times to save money and energy.
The time it takes to operate your system remotely is not instantaneous, but takes a good 30-60 seconds to complete a command, so be patient. This applies to whether you are on the web or using the smartphone app. Aside from that, it’s incredibly convenient to operate the Honeywell via your smartphone, more so than other smart-home appliances like connected light bulbs. I, for one, use my iPhone as an alarm clock. So imagine one of those horrible nights when you are tossing and turning and just can’t seem to get comfortable. Just grab your phone, turn the AC down, and relax as your room gets cooler. Or, use the app if you left the house for a minute that turned into the entire day. Just open the Total Connect Comfort app, turn the AC up to a less expensive and wasteful setting, and watch as your electricity bills shrink.
Another thing I noticed was that this Honeywell thermostat appears to be more accurate in telling the temperature than my previous thermostat. Before, my thermostat would indicate that it was 74 degrees but the house would be way too hot and if it said 72 it would be way too cool. It had a very tight tolerance for changes of just a couple degrees. The Honeywell is definitely more accurate, which keeps us from having to play yo-yo. It also indicates humidity as you can see in the picture above. I never realized how humid my home is!
They say that voice control is the future of the smart so, and if so, it’s going to have to be a little bit more streamlined than on this Honeywell model. Don’t get me wrong, I love showing off this feature, but it’s far quicker to simply use your finger to change the temperature. It takes a second to touch the up button, but several seconds to go through this dialog:
“Hello thermostat,” I say.
“Hello, please say a command,” says the thermostat in a nice female voice.
“One moment please…making warmer.”
If Honeywell would simply eliminate that second line, it would save a lot of time and let you change the temp without waiting for the thermostat to respond. However, if your thermostat is in a central place in the home where you can speak commands while doing your daily living, I can see how this would be beneficial despite taking longer than a button press simply because you don’t have to go into the other room. For example, if you are in the middle of making Thanksgiving dinner and things are getting a little heated, simply speak your command to “make cooler” to your thermostat and keep on cooking. My thermostat happens to be located in a hallway, so the voice feature doesn’t make a lot of sense. Keep this in mind if you have the luxury of choosing the location for your thermostat and make sure to set the voice command sensitivity to the highest setting if you plan on using it. Don’t worry, you won’t accidentally activate it. After all, “thermostat” isn’t necessarily a word you will use in everyday conversation and is the one that seems to trigger the device.
I’ll report back as soon as I get my energy bill, but for now, I’m loving the convenience, aesthetics, remote capabilities, and accuracy of this thermostat. Sure, the voice commands are cool and convenient if your thermostat is located in the right spot, but a little time-consuming if you’re in a hurry to get things done. Either way, it’s a huge, huge improvement over the little white push-button number I had before, and I am sure that my energy bills are going to be the better for it!