Anyone running a geothermal system with a SmartThings compatible thermostat?


(Edward Pope) #1

My a.c. unit has died, looking to finally make the poking and go geothermal. But before I do this I want to see if any of you have a system working along with SmartThings.


(fxstein) #2

No geothermal here but just went to multi stage heat pumps for the entire house - in case that is of interest. Living in CA where the temps rarely into the 30s an air heat pump was a better choice for us.

Went with Maytag iQ-Drive - seems to be rated amongst the best. Only their M1200s support none Maytag thermostats in the iQ-Drive lineup (important little detail - even our installer did not realize that and installed the wrong units at first). Have had ours installed with NESTs and am about to get zoning added this week, with individuals thermostats for all of the bedrooms and main areas.

Going with NEST was a must have for us, support in ST comes for free. Working on some advanced features but the basics like switching them into Home or Away mode are super easy and can be linked to e.g. iPhone presence (in our case)


(Beckwith) #3

I have geothermal. The last I checked, Nest did not work with geothermal. I use the SmartThings supported Honeywell thermostat. Have only had it for about four months and very mild summer so have not put it through its paces yet. Air conditioning is pretty much free so haven’t really tuned it per se.

I just got NuHeat floor heating as secondary heat but don’t have it connected to SmartThings. I hope to tweak this some to only come on when absolutely needed for comfort.


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #4

I know a lot of folks are crazy for Nest, but I didn’t like them. Bottom line was we saved more energy but turning HVAC on when we wanted it, and off when we don’t. I don’t even have our therms on a schedule anymore.

I ended up with a couple of Venstar T5800, which are very capable thermostats. Things I like best are the easily adjustable dead zones, remote sensors to keep an eye on attic temps in Winter, a local API, and just more control over things. If you decide to pick one up lemmeno as I have created a device type for it in SmartThings.


(Edward Pope) #5

To those of you who have GeoThermal, what is the manufacturer of your system? I am thinking of going with WaterFurnace for my installation.

I live in the South, so most of the problem is in cooling. However, I have a oil based backup heat system, that I am likely to pull out during the conversion, but I have been entertaining the idea of keeping it around in case it gets too cold for the Geo to support sufficient warmth in the house.

Note: I have baseboard heat and a gas fireplace (closed off). So, I might just be overthinking it here. (I never ever overthink things at all)>

@scottinpollock, @beckwith and @fxstein thank you so much for answering the question.


(Beckwith) #6

I have a ClimateMaster which may be a couple of generations old.

My feeling is geothermal is an ideal use of a smart thermostat, but so far I don’t know of one out there yet (or at least does it correctly). Geothermal peak capacity is limited, so night time setback should be avoided at times to avoid excessive secondary heat costs. However, smart thermostats do the opposite. If the thermostat knew the heating system capacity and the forecast, it could appropriately set back.

I was real disappointed with Nest when I found out it couldn’t figure out geothermal. The media praised it as the first smart thermostat that would optimize your HVAC. But in reality, it was much worse than a dumb thermostat for geothermal. And when I was investigating Nest, it seemed to me they were trying to hide the fact. Once I discovered this I was given the impression they were never going to address the issue. Since then there have been other issues with Nest that have further eroded my opinion of this group.

Anyway, this really wasn’t supposed to be a Nest bashing post…

SmartThings has all the data necessary to determine optimal geothermal performance. You can get the weather forecast, you can control secondary heat and you know when someone is home, and other data is available to tweak. Hopefully, someone will make a geothermal app. Such an app would be one of the more sophisticated home automation apps. I would love to work on it but just have too many things in the fire so to speak.


(Edward Pope) #7

@beckwith I see what you mean. Are the connected thermostats all intelligent? Trying to do setback or adjusting for HVAC would obviously not work for Geo. Can these intelligent options be turned off? Or perhaps, simply a smartapp that see’s the change and then adjust back automatically?

I personally found it was better here where i live to set a constant temp even with the HVAC. But, there are times where it was nice to have it get a little colder when I felt like I needed it.


(Edward Pope) #8

@scottinpollock where by chance do you live? What is the weather like there on average?


(Convinced ST will never be unbroken…) #9

Western slope of the northern Sierras; specifically Pollock Pines, CA. Rarely warmer than 90f, or cooler than 30f, but it happens. Had a frozen pipe in the attic last December when we had a week in the low 20’s; that won’t happen again!!!


(Beckwith) #10

I use Keep Me Cozy II which basically disables the thermostat settings and uses a temperature from an Aeon multisensor. We have had such a mild summer that the air conditioning hasn’t really gone on until the past couple of weeks. So I haven’t used the potential yet.

@baldeagle072 just posted stuff that seems interesting that could be a start, though not geothermal:

Again, there is a lot of potential here.


(Edward Pope) #11

@scottinpollock Nice place to live. We often have very warm Summers here, often weeks in the 100’s. THe problem is not so much the temp as the Humidity. Normally we are in the 80 to upper 90’s with humidity as I live near the cost. On the other side, we have plenty of rain (SMILE).

Most of the time, if the house fan just comes on along with the dehumidifier it should be enough. Plan to use the app that turns on the house fan when it is cooler outside. Or just to run the fan and dehumidifier when the humidity reaches a certain point in the house.

Trying to go green, Add Solar, and Fuel Cell for backup.


(Edward Pope) #12

@beckwith I am assuming that you are using the NEST since you are pointing out the flaws with the device. I see that there is a thermostat that might be perfect for what we are looking for here

I need to look at Keep Me Cozy, but I need to assure that what I have in mind will work with the GeoThermal unit. I want to go with WaterFurnace here as the dealer has really proven himself to me over the years. They have a wireless unit coming out, but they are unsure of how communication is handled. So, trying to look around and make sure that I have a way to do what I want here, and still integrate with ST


(Paulo) #13

Have you figured out a way to incorporate NuHeat floor heating into SmartThings? I have just installed this in my bathroom floor and although the web interface is pretty simple, I would love to have a SmartThings interface.


(Beckwith) #14

@Paulo

No, I haven’t pursued it yet. Sometimes my NuHeat loses connection with the wifi and I have to recycle NuHeat power to get it back connected. Have not contacted NuHeat yet.