Releasing an app I developed for myself called, Thermostat Manager. Thermostat Manager is similar to and could be considered an alternative to, Thermostat Mode Director.
Why: Originally, I went with Thermostat Mode Director which was available from within the SmartThings app. But over time I found Thermostat Mode Director to be buggy and unreliable.
What’s the Same:
• Mode Adjusting: Thermostat Manager will change the mode (heat to cool, cool to heat) of your thermostat based on user-defined thresholds in a similar manner as Thermostat Mode Director. Originally I was hoping to have this app set modes based on the setPoints that you set on your thermostat. You know, the values that you set on the thermostat itself and can also set in your Hello Home, “I’m Home” functions? But at least in my case, I discovered that the thermostat only remembers the setPoint for the mode it is currently in. I have a Zen for those interested, but this app will be fine for about any thermostat. Anyway, I ended up having to go with the same model that Thermostat Mode Director uses. You set upper and lower limits. BTW, Thermostat Manager is NOT a rework of Thermostat Mode Director. I’ve seen a couple of these in the forums and they don’t ever seem to be any good.
• Notifications: Thermostat Manager has text notifications that are similar to Thermostat Mode Director’s but the content of Thermostat Manager’s notifications is more dynamic. Also, they only occur if the user enables them and then they are only sent if a command is sent to the thermostat (change in mode/temperature, etc.). Thermostat Manager also adds optional push notifications.
• Can Use Remote Temperature Sensors: Although I generally recommend using your thermostat as your temperature sensor, there are unusual situations in which you may benefit from using a remote temperature sensor. Users can select any temperature reporting device and use it to base Thermostat Manager’s decisions on (such as mode changes). Please note that the thermostat still uses its own internal thermometer to decide when to start blowing air. This feature will work in the same manner as it does in Thermostat Mode Director.
• User Friendly: I designed my app to be more readable, with help tips on settings that aren’t self-explanatory.
• Completely Configurable: It is chock full of options. There’s an enable/disable slider for every capability so that you don’t have to de-configure it in order to disable it temporarily.
• Optional Smart Home Monitor based setPoint Enforcement: Thermostat Manager adds the capability to enforce thermostat setPoints based on Smart Home Monitor security modes. Generally I find it annoying when an app tries to override manual settings but I discovered that some situations can occur where the thermostat will change modes to a setPoint that was set a long time ago that doesn’t fit what we want currently. If this happens when you’re not home, it could be a problem for your pets or your electronics. So I made my system minimally invasive. It will only enforce the setPoints if, “Smart Home Monitor Based SetPoint Enforcement” is configured and enabled and then only if there is a mode change (cool to heat, heat to cool).
• The energy saving, turn-off-the-thermostat-when-the-doors-are-open thing in this app actually works. And it’s also completely optional. It has the same configuration as Thermostat Mode Director but, this one will actually work if you use it. And when you close the doors, the thermostat will pop back on and set the mode it is was in before the thermostat was turned off.
• Bonus: I have a particular family member who likes to go to the thermostat and change the fan mode from, “auto” to, “on”. If I don’t notice this, a lot of energy (money) can be wasted. Therefore, I built in an optional slider that enforces fan mode auto on the thermostat. In case you have any wacky household members like me.
• By request, I’ve added the ability to override Thermostat Manager by manually setting the thermostat to “off” mode. If the, “Allow Manual Thermostat Off to Override Thermostat Manager” slider is enabled, Thermostat Manager will essentially be disabled when someone manually turns off the thermostat. Temperature changes will be ignored and modes and setPoints will not be set. If you prefer that Thermostat Manager re-enable cooling or heating mode when someone manually turns off the thermostat (and the temperature rises or falls below one of the manually configured thresholds), then leave the slider in disabled mode.
• By request, I’ve added the option to use emergency heat mode in place of heat mode. If you would like to do this, go to the, “Emergency Heat Settings” page and enable the, “Always Use Emergency Heat Mode Instead of Heat Mode” slider. This may come in handy if your HVAC unit is malfunctioning.
• By request, I’ve added the ability to enable emergency heat based on the temperature reading of an external temperature sensor. These settings can be found in the, “Emergency Heat Settings”. Thermostat Manager users who live in cold areas had complained that it takes too long to wait for the thermostat to enable emergency heat by itself based on the thermostat’s internal temperature readings.
• By request, I’ve added an optional, “hold-down timer” for the Energy Saver system. If specified or set to a value other than zero, Energy Saver will now pause for a user specified minimum number of minutes before being allowed to turn the thermostat back on after all of the doors are closed. The setting has a default value. If you do not wish to use it, just set it to 0. These settings can be found under the Energy Saver settings page.
• TM now has the ability to enforce temperature setpoints. This means that if this ability is enabled, even if someone manually changes the temperature TM will change it back to the setpoint you have specified in TM.
• As many have requested, I’ve added in an optional a “hold-after” timer option to the Energy Saver feature. If set, the hold-after timer will hold the thermostat in a paused status for a specified number of minutes after all contacts have been closed. This timer works in conjunction with the hold-down timer which is configured using the setting, “Minimum Pause Time”. If both are set, TM will use whichever timer takes the longest to complete.
• I finally decided to add the ability to use a remote temperature sensor. Using the thermostat as your temperature sensor is recommended for most situations, however, I have found some unusual cases in which it can be useful to have a remote temperature sensor (albeit one that is not fully functional). As I have mentioned before, ‘Unless you have an Ecobee, the thermostat uses its own internal thermometer to control the HVAC unit. Even if we manually set the mode to, “heat” for example, the heat won’t kick on unless the thermostat’s internal thermometer says that it is below the thermostat’s heating setPoint.’ That having been said, there are situations in which one may want to have the modes controlled by a remote temperature sensor even though the HVAC won’t kick on until the thermostat’s internal thermometer has reached configured setpoints on its own.
• I’ve had a request to add support for multiple thermostats. This will be done but it requires some in-depth changes and it may be a while until it gets added. Until then, there is no problem running multiple instances of Thermostat Manager.
I always perform my own testing before I publish a new version, but I also rely on you to report any problems. Please let me know if you notice that anything isn’t working right. Feel free to make further recommendations for changes or additions as I continue working to perfect Thermostat Manager.
To Install Thermostat Manager Smart App: