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Insteon Venstar Thermostat Review - Hot or Not? E-mail
Written by Peter   
Insteon Thermostat - Venstar T1900
Insteon Thermostat

RatingRatingRatingRatingRating

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Home Automation is about more than just lighting.  Sure, that's where most of us start our obsessions but it quickly becomes apparent that the rest of the house could be tied into the same system and one of the first thoughts is the automation of the home heating & cooling system. 

 

To address this need, Venstar has come out with several thermostats that accept plug-in modules on the bottom which allow them to be controlled by infrared remote (including Logitech Harmony series), telephone or (my favourite) your Insteon network.  How well do they work?  That depends on which model you get...

 

 

 Features and Use: VenstarT1900

 

There are essentially three core models to the lineup - Let's start with the high-end T1900 which contains all of the features of the other two thermostats, plus a few additional things.  The T1900 can control heating, cooling and fan functions, has a 7-day programmable schedule, can monitor a second sensor input (for example, outside temperature) and has a humidity sensor built in.  The T1900 is also the only model to work with dual-fuel systems, while all three models will handle heat pumps and traditional heat/cool systems.  There are some neat side-features, like showing high and low temps for the second sensor and having programmable outputs, but for most people the thermostat won't be the central controller in their home automation systems so these features are basically ancillary.  The owner's manual is available at the link above, or for some fun, there's a T1900 simulator here for you to experiment with. 

 Features Available by Software (such as HouseLinc 2 or mControl)
 Cool set point: Supports all set points of Thermostat
 Heat set point: Supports all set points of Thermostat
 Mode Status Request: Supported
 Temperature Status Request: Supported
 Humidity Status Request Supported
 Fan Status Request: Supported when in “Auto” mode
 Mode Control: Heat, Cool, Auto, OFF
 Fan Control: On, Auto
 Degree Format (F/C): As Supported by Thermostat


The T1800 has the same 7-day schedule, and allows the monitoring of a second sensor (i.e. outdoor temp) but will require an additional module to monitor humidity.  The T1700 is more basic with a 1-day program, no programmable outputs and no ability to monitor a second sensor.  That said, all three sensors offer a solid core feature set and accept the variety of add-on modules that make the Venstar so versatile, including the Insteon module (which uses wireless communication).  To the right is a table showing the features available to Insteon devices on the network, and while many will no-doubt control the thermostat via software on the computer or ISY-type devices, it's also possible to program simple switches to control the thermostat.  For example, my wife likes to raise or lower the thermostat  from the KeypadLinc we have beside our bed depending on how she feels, which is something that no software package will ever be able to predict.   

Venstar T1800

Problem Spots:

The Venstar thermostats have been available for a little while now and as such there has been some feedback on the general use and problem spots.  There were only a few gotchas mentioned, one of which was the requirement of a power wire to the thermostat location, something that surprised folks with older battery-powered thermostats.  Plan to pull a power wire up to the location and all will be well.  A few people said the green LED on the insteon module was a bit bright and some covered it up with tape to solve the problem - this is likely more of an issue if the thermostat is somewhere like a bedroom.  The final item I came across was that during a power outage, all the programming is preserved but the clock will be reset on longer outages.  As with all of the issues, people mentioned Venstar support was helpful and offered suggestions on how to add a battery to overcome this issue.  Overall, the comments have been overwhelmingly positive with the thermostats performing at or above expectations.

 

My Personal Decision:

When looking at the various Venstar models, initially I questioned why the T1800 or T1900 was worth the extra money for a 7-day program when my Insteon network would be controlling the device anyway, however after looking more into the various sensors including outside temperature and humidity sensors, I decided to get the T1800 Insteon package and add the humidity module.  This was only about five dollars cheaper than getting the T1900 (with humidity sensor included) and adding the Insteon module, and in retrospect perhaps I would have done that instead, but I'm happy with the setup and the convenience of being able to control the house temperature from my iphone when we're away.  The next step is to predictively pull-in weather forecasts and have the house adapt to the coming conditions. 

How are you using your Insteon thermostat?

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Bostonbruin  - control thermostat as we leave   |September-26 02:21:42
I have a bi-level house with 2 air conditioners. 1 for the main level and one
for the 2nd level. The plan is to set both thermostats to increase the temp at
the peak times during the day. My wife stays home during the day so programming
the temp to go higher while we are both gone doesn't really work. I am hoping I
can figure out a solution where when she leaves she can tap a button for each
thermostat to put it in 'away' mode and bump the temperature settings and then
revert into regular programming when she returns. Any thoughts from anyone
who's done something similar?
Watson  - No common wire   |January-11 07:29:34
How do we resolve the no common wire problem, any way to jump, slip or add
batteries to it? We had the same situation of our builder installing the battery
type, and not hooking up the common, we did manage to get ahold of enough common
to hook the thermostat up, but couldn't find hte wiring at the air handler end!
Have tied and tried to find a diagram of aTRANe system to no avail!! Please any
help!! This seems so cool, otherwise install was easy, wish remote had temp
display, but bought the only one that same site had. Nothing else is needed is
there? We have the remoe remote plug in, and thermostat of course, I keep
hearing of "access points"? This is all we have so far of automation.
Insteon  - Re: No Common wire   |December-31 06:36:56
Old thread I know...but for anyone else I recently wired the T1800 up in my
house, had an existing 4 wire thermostat. You need to purchase an "Add a
wire" from Venstarr allows the use of a 5 wire device with only 4 wires.
Here is a youtube link that helped me wire
everything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6BpIc 843pA

Happy Hunting!

3.23 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."