Bill Porter Boards

I recently had a new dual-fuel heat pump and gas furnace installed, and the HVAC tech tells me that it does not have a Bill Portal board in it. That allows the unit to switch to the gas furnace when the temp outside is too cold for the heat pump. They installed an Emerson Sensi thermostat for me because it has a Bill Porter board built in.

I wanted a thermostat compatible with SmartThings, so I bought a Honeywell 8320 to replace it. The HVAC tech is here to put it in, and he said it doesn’t have a Bill Porter board in it. The Sensi board has it, and it’s $40 or so cheaper. But to use the Honeywell board, I have to put a Bill Porter board in my HVAC unit outside. That costs $300!

Without it, I just have to change from Main Heat to Emergency Heat manually when the temp gets below 37F outside. Is anyone else familiar with this? I can switch from the Honeywell to something else if I do it quickly, but a better option may be to shop around for a cheaper install of the Bill Porter board outside. I’m repeating what the technician is telling me, so forgive me if I’m saying this incorrectly. Any thoughts would be appreciated.