It wasn’t too long ago that thermostats were a little box on the wall with a dial that you set a temperature and left it. Inside was a bi-metal strip that flexed with the changing temperatures. There were very inaccurate. Then you had a separate timer that switched your system off or on at preset times.
Today’s high-tech thermostats are a far cry from that and to call them thermostats is a little like calling a computer a typewriter. The best programmable thermostats, like the Honeywell RET97B5D1002/U Wi-Fi Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat (which is still a little box on the wall), are more like heating, ventilation, and air conditioning management centers. In the case of the RET97B5D1002/U, it controls the temperature (to within +/- 1 degree of your set point), it has a 7-day timer with 4 separate timing cycles per day, it is programmable and controllable from anywhere in the world through a computer, smartphone or tablet. And if there are any problems such as unusually high or low temperatures, the Wi-Fi signal is lost or even that the air filter needs changing, then the thermostat will send you alerts.
- Works with most North American heating and cooling systems
- 7 days programmable, with the option to select multiple days where the same program can be input just once. For example, if Monday to Friday the household routine in the same, then the times only need to be input once for those days.
- Honeywell Smart Response system learns how quickly your system reaches your preset temperatures and switches the system on so that the house is to temperature when you need it
- Can be controlled from anywhere using a computer, smartphone or tablet (using the free Android or Apple apps).
- Real time clock which stores the time during power outages and, optionally, can automatically update for daylight saving time
- View local weather and 5-day forecast through you app
- Alerts you when temperatures rise or fall below normal, if the Wi-Fi connection fails and when the air filters need changing.
- Automatic download and install of software updates
- Vacation setting
- Some users have reported problems with Wi-Fi connectivity, however, most of these problems occurred before the software update in 2014. Since then the user rating of the RET97B5D1002/U has risen.
- Does not work with Blackberry. If you have a Blackberry system, one of the few thermostats that is compatible are the Ecobee Smart SI Thermostat.
Ease of Use 4.5/5
Once the initial programming is completed, the thermostat pretty much runs itself. There are options to either temporary or permanently override the settings as well as a manual vacation setting.
When installing programmable thermostats, how easy it is to install depends largely on the existing installation. This system, like most other similar systems, does need the 24v power from the ‘C’ wire. If you do not have a ‘C’ wire, there is an alternative installation using the ‘G’ wire, which may work in some cases. If you already have a ‘C’ wire the fitting is very simple and straightforward.
- Turn off the power
- Remove the old thermostat from the wall
- Using the supplied stickers, make each wire as you remove it
- Feed the wires through the opening in the new back plate then fit the new thermostat back plate to the wall
- Connect the marked wires to the correct marked terminals
- Fit the thermostat to the back plate
A similar alternative thermostat that does not need a ‘C’ wire is the Sensi Wi-Fi Smart Programmable Thermostat 1F86U-42WF.
Before you start programming the device, you first need to set the date and time, followed by the type of system that you have. Then it needs to be connected to your Wi-Fi network and registered online. You need to register online if you want to have remote access.
Your thermostat will still work without Wi-Fi connection, but you will not be able to remotely access it.
The touch screen will then guide you through all the steps to program your thermostat with a series of questions.
Energy Saving 4.5/5
The amount that you will ultimately save depends very much how you use your existing control system against how you use your existing system.
There are several possible ways to save on your energy costs with the RET97B5D1002/U. Firstly, depending on where you live, some energy suppliers offer discounts to energy bills to homes with energy efficient devices, such as this, fitted.
Secondly, the ability to hold the temperature in such an accurate band of +/- 1 degree means that you do not waste energy (and money) as your home is not over heated or over cooled. It remains at the set temperature.
The system learns how long it takes to warm or cool your house, so the house will be the temperature you want when you want it – no more guessing and turning the system on early to make sure it is at temperature when you want it to be.
The flexible time settings allow you just to heat of cool your house when you want without having it just turn on in the morning and off at night. There is an override function if you need heat or cooling outside your normal times.
Bottom Line 4.5/5
The Honeywell Touchscreen Thermostat is a very competitively priced programmable Wi-Fi thermostat. It is controllable remotely, it will save on energy costs. A little time spent setting up the device correctly in the first place will pay dividends over its life. That being said in the style department this is a conventional ‘white box’ it lacks the styling elements of the Nest Learning or the ecobee3, but it costs a great deal less. It does lack the ability to produce reports, but the value in that depends on whether you are the type of person who will read and act on them. Overall this represents one of the best programmable thermostats in terms of value for money and included features. We hope you find our Honeywell Touchscreen Thermostat review useful.