Ways to control HVAC? (Mode, presence, motion etc)


Starting a new thread for you because I think this is a really interesting question and people will have many different ideas. :sunglasses:

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You may want to move a few more of my posts then. Take your time, I’ll take a break. :slight_smile:

Meta question: Can you move your own posts? I’d help move all my other posts to save you the trouble, but don’t know how.


As far as @drsprite 's original question, I think the short answer is that people use a combination of methods.

For example, you might have a time based schedule, a presence Based rule, A mode based rule, a motion based rule, and a manual rule. Keeping them all straight requires some set up effort, of course, but it can be done.

Or if you use CORE, you can probably put them all into one long complicated “piston” (that’s what CORE calls its individual rules). :sunglasses:

It’s really the same thing as lights in a lot of ways. I have a porch light which turns on at Sunset and stays on until 9 PM. Then from 9 PM until 7 AM it turns on with motion. For various reasons, I don’t want to rely only on motion in the early evening hours. So I use a combination.


My house is two stories so I have a thermostat upstairs and downstairs with a split ducting system. I have my scheduling set up using mostly the modes… I use seven modes total throughout the day.

Morning mode starts cooling the downstairs, before everyone gets up. About the time the family wakes the house goes to day mode. Which raises the downstairs one degree and raises the set point upstairs to 74, where it remains into night mode.

Evening mode means the kitchen is coming alive and will warm the house soon, so the downstairs drops a couple of degrees to compensate.

At night mode the family starts getting ready for bed time so the upstairs drops and starts making it more comfortable. Late Night drops the upstairs to the sleeping temp.

Then there is sleep mode which raise the downstairs cooling to 78 ahs droid the heat to 64, since no-one is down there. It also drops the upstairs one more degrees and it starts all over in the morning.

Weekends are different… Cause we’re all home.

I hardly ever have to mess with my thermostats… It’s great


Mine are a combination of mode based automations along with manual triggers.


What’s the deal with your internet thermostat schedules?

I have two of the Honeywell 8320 zwave devices. They work great.

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Hi @JDRoberts,

There are many ways to control your HVAC under ST.

Amongst others, my zoned Heating/Cooling solutions can control multiple ST connected thermostats (in one instance) based on your ST hello mode, any ST connected temp & motion sensors in your rooms to achieve the best comfort.

My smartapps can also orchestrate all your smart vents to create the physical zones during the day (based on schedules) for better comfort and energy efficiency. Only the occupied rooms can be heated/cooled depending on your own occupied threshold that you can define for each room (configurable option).

See this thread for more details:`



EDIT: I’ve also implemented many scheduling workarounds in my code to avoid any ST scheduler failures…


7 modes? Nice! I thought I was asking for too much with 4 modes. Mainly I need 4 modes M-F, and 1 mode for the weekend. I have 2 thermostats as well.

Because ST’s scheduler isn’t (wasn’t?) the best, my thermostats are currently scheduled via an external Python script I made on my server using ST API, but it’s not easy to just jump in and change a setpoint. I don’t know much about CoRE, so I think I have some reading to do.

I have 2 Honeywell Z-Wave YTH8320ZW1007/U tstats. The internal scheduler on them sucks. There’s times where it missed it’s schedule all together. I called Honeywell and spoke to their (1) Z-Wave guy and he said that it’s a known issue with these tstats and that we should just be controlling them via the hub anyways.

Which is fine and good, but ST’s scheduler hasn’t been the best. I guess it’s better now, which means I need to give it a 2nd (or really 6th) try to trust it again. And check out CoRE.

but; for those with motion controlled tstats make me curious because as much as I want to try it out, I don’t think it’ll work for us (without the house getting too hot/cold while waiting for motion)

Well, wee using the same thermostats. I honestly have not used the internal schedules. They are set strictly as a backup system and that programming is basic, just in case ST fails me.

Sucks that it sucks…

But CoRE will do anything you want. I’m going to finish programming mine tonight in CoRE and I’ll post the results for you.

As for my modes… This is what I have

  • Morning 0600-0800
  • Day - 0800-1630
  • evening - 1630-2000
  • night - 2000-2200
  • late night - 2200 until sleep mode is manually set.
  • weekend day - 0800-1630 Sat& Sun
  • test mode - used for system maintenance
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I’d love the jumpstart! More reading to do on CoRE when I get home.

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Take a good look here… And post your questions here… Lots of good info


Ok, so far so good in CoRE. I feel like it should have been in ST since the beginning! Did you mean ask question in that post, or in this post? Because my first question is how to get a piston to run on Mon-Fri only. I only see an option for every day or every week, not an option to pick the days of the week.

Post your questions in that thread… That way things stay organized! Lol


I don’t think this is true. Yes, if you have Ecobee’s the nicest one costs, but there are many many free ways that are easy.

I’m quite sure they get this, thus the V2. Yes, they haven’'t executed fully yet, but they certainly put a lot of effort and energy into getting started at least, give them credit for that.

I think a lot of people don’t use Smart Lighting enough. It can do about 60% of what I need. That’s not enough overall, but it’s enough that I’m not without automated lights when the internet is out at least.

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So far the only SmartApp I can find that offers 5-2 day scheduling is 3rd party and a paid-for option. Unless you know of another one?

I haven’t found anything built into ST with tstat schedules

Ummmmm CoRE works great for scheduling…

“Keep me cozy” has been working great for me four months… That’s in the market place.

But, since you want 5-2, I would use CoRE. It’s not designed around a thermostat our any device actually, but it will definitely do more than you could imagine.

Also, do a forum search… You can find all kinds of things…

And finally… What thermostat are you using?

First entry in this search looks promising: https://community.smartthings.com/search?q=5-2

Oops, I see that is paid (I use one of RBoy’s other apps, I will say well worth it though), but I also see other options in the search.

CoRE might be overkill, but like using a flamethrower to take out a bee’s nest, it’s a heck of a lot of fun!

@bridaus I was just about to post that same link… Lol

Funny, a little search will take you a long way…

I searched for “thermostat 5-2”. Try it…you might like it!

Nah, not overkill… Just just perfect and the most stable thing around too!

Yeah I guess for simply schedule changes it wouldn’t be too bad.

Actually there are two versions in that first post… The code is there and a link to a paid more advanced version.