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Thermostat help please?

Posted by aliris19 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 6, 14 at 2:26

Hi all -- I am an absolute ignoramus on any things HVAC. I have been trying to bootstrap by reading up here but it's hard when you're this far back. I got to gardenweb via the kitchen forum a few years back and the folks there were tremendously helpful; so helpful it's hard to find adequate accolades to cover their overflowing gifts of random kindnesses.

So I thought I'd try over here on this forum, but begging your forgiveness first for being so out of it.

We have a newly renovated house in southern california, remade by some fairly subpar folk. A second floor was added and two furnaces installed, a larger one for the downstairs and a smaller one for the upstairs. We basically never use the smaller one. Each is controlled by separate Emerson thermostats, probably the lowest end battery controlled programmable device, I'm guessing. I have no idea what the furnaces are or whether they have stages. I could go look if it were important, but let me pose my question; this may be irrelevant or obviously not part of the picture.

The downstairs thermostat has stopped working -- in the most peculiar way but it doesn't really matter unless someone's curious. Bottom line is we need a new one and dh suggested a remote-controlled one. Sounds expensive and unnecessarily snazzy to me.

Is there a recommendation available from y-all for a modest, good-enough and not exorbitant thermostat that would (a) work, (b) satisfy the desire for efficiency and a vague yearning for modern improvement? This is hardly a harsh climate. OTOH, the heater does want running here and there's no point in wasting energy.

I do not understand the conversation about stages in furnaces and the like -- would I know if stages were involved? I presume we would have to have had a fancier thermostat if we owned something that sophisticated? So I am guessing this is a request for just about the simplest product available. But as I know zero about the whole matter, I would appreciate even the most obvious suggestions or thoughts.

Thank you very much!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thermostat help please?

T-stats have no real following since it's rare to wear out or fail. Just buy a t-stat that has all the features you will use. T-stats do not nessarly perform according to quility,they simply turn the unit on and off according to settings. With that said, allowing DH to have the device he controls with his Iphone might pay dividends in marital bliss. Of course a new Harley might do just as well if you want to press the low tec t-stat issure. Wink


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RE: Thermostat help please?

You can go to Home Depot or Lowes and pick out a number of thermostats. My recommendation would be to get a Honeywell 7 day programmable version. You can look at various models on the Honeywell web site and read the installation instructions to see if this is something you are capable of doing. Honeywell also has a toll free number for questions.

You have to buy a thermostat compatible with your equipment. The model information of the furnace would be helpful. You should take a look at the wiring of the current thermostat. Some thermostats require a C wire which is the ground connection. Check to see if that wire exists in your set up. It may affect the thermostat selection.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Took me forever to figure out a "stat" is a thermostat in reading threads last night. Got it now!

Klem, not sure what you mean by "no real following..." - meaning folks here don't like them? But that doesn't fit with the subsequent point about them not wearing out or failing.

I really don't get how/why our current one has gone wacko and in such a bizarre way. It fails to register to shut off seemingly at certain times of day, independent of whatever upper temperature is in the system. It's so weird. The only failure I can replicate is time of day, not temperature...

Anyway, it doesn't matter in the marital-bliss department. Harley's are definitely not the style around here, but tools seem to be. A new one shows up every other day seemingly and he's no contractor but evidently this is the form of his mid-life crisis. Could be worse. And so if the iphone-fiddleable thermostat is part of that picture, even though he can't do anything beyond phoning with the stupid thing -- his fantasy is that *I* will somehow have all life's troubles removed by being able to phone home and heat the house 4 degrees in socal on advance of arrival -- if that's gonna flip us into harmony land, so be it.

I guess.

The current furnace is a "Goodmon" or "Goodman". There are presumably specifications on the thing that I can copy but reading of others' is complete greek to me. Again, if it were fancy in terms of stages I think probably I would have known it? But perhaps something else matters.

dh is very capable of installing things electrical. Also greek to me but not to him. I did not know, however, that there is an issue about grounding. Perhaps I can tell on the website for Emerson what we have. I believe it's about the lowest level version. But at the moment the thermostat is still in the wall so I can't peer at its wiring; I can't even figure out how to get the faceplate off (pathetic).

Mostly, I want to avoid this problem with our essentially brand new Emerson. I was wondering if there was some clear winner out there or obviously better-quality device.

Thanks, Mike, for the Honeywell recommendation. Is that one of those iphone ones? Is this a complicated or valuable amenity? expensive? useful or just trendy?

TIA!!


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Honeywell and others make wifi capable thermostats. You can access it via through the internet with any device including Iphones.

I personally don't need the ability to change the temperature setting of my house when I am not at home. I do like the feature that you can down load new software upgrades if and when they are available. You will probably need the C wire if you go with a wifi thermostat. Expect to pay $200-$300.

I forgot to ask. Did you change the battery in your current thermostat?


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Yeah, did that, twice re the battery. I'm still not convinced though. I may go buy fresh fresh ones though the ones I put in tested OK. I guess not ... if it were the battery it would be kaput all 24hrs. But it's just so weird....

In all honesty there's about zero chance of my fiddling with the thermostat while away. Is marital harmony worth $2-300?


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Oh, now we're talking. Honeywell's prestige 2.0 has a color display that coordinates with your home's decor. Sheesh.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Oh, now we're talking. Honeywell's prestige 2.0 has a color display that coordinates with your home's decor. Sheesh.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

I interpret "no real following" to mean that there is no real preference between brands. You buy features, not brands. There are some that are mentioned more than others, but they are more the same as different. (Except maybe the Nest and heat pumps.)

You could have a multistage variable speed system and not know it unless you paid very close attention. And it doesn't sound like that is your 'thang'. If you're in the mood, you could go look for model numbers on the furnace unit inside and outside, though the inside one is the more important.

The fact that you stated that the batteries go dead in a day or so, and that you DH is trying to put in a WiFi thermostat makes me think that maybe the device is missing a ground or 'C'(ommon).


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Aliris wrote,
"Anyway, it doesn't matter in the marital-bliss department. Harley's are definitely not the style around here, but tools seem to be. A new one shows up every other day seemingly and he's no contractor but evidently this is the form of his mid-life crisis. Could be worse. And so if the iphone-fiddleable thermostat is part of that picture, even though he can't do anything beyond phoning with the stupid thing -- his fantasy is that *I* will somehow have all life's troubles removed by being able to phone home and heat the house 4 degrees in socal on advance of arrival -- if that's gonna flip us into harmony land, so be it. "

Alris,I only wish you could see the above comments from my prespective. I don't believe you plan to apply information gathered here to solving mechanical problems. I and others here would injoy talking with you for hours about hvac troubleshooting were you a kid trying to make ends meet by learning how to diy. I am not angery nor wanting to disparage you nor your reasoning. To put it bluntly,if dh wants to take care of these kind of things,let him. By your own admission,you know nothing about the problem and he is capible of installing the part. Don't attempt to use what we so called experts say to prove the man wrong. If money is an issue,speak to him about spending as little as possible on the part. It would accomplish more by incouraging him to ask questions if he has any. I believe everyone here would be offended if a clueless friend,spouse or coworker butted in with secound hand techinal advise they found on the net regarding a project we were doing. If you sincerly believe you can and want to learn about hvac,you came to a good source. I will be happy to contribute any way I can. My best wishes are with you.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Klem -- sorry; you misunderstand me! The burden to determine *what* thermostat falls on me. I am researching this in terms of quality and need. The underlying sociology of it all is amusing enough, but I'm not asking for help with it beyond a bemused nod.

I am tasked with purchasing a new thermostat because our old has died. I know nothing of them or of hvac. I detect that dh believes fancy would make - ahem - "me" happy and this is another determinant to toss into the hopper. All things being equal quality-wise, I would gratify his fantasy that this is "for" me. Price-wise will have to depend. But the bottom line is: I haven't the foggiest idea about even the parameters of a "thermostat" - you-all are talking about "zones" and I don't even know what-all else; evidently there are individualized power needs and capacity to coexist with the furnaces we have. Not to mention that what was done and exists may or may not have been done correctly... sigh.

This is falling on me, and I am absolutely sightless.

So - I appreciate whatever help you are willing to offer as I limp along. I am certainly not trying to abuse your professionalism!

I'm not proving anything at all to dh. The beginning and end of his involvement is: "Buy something and I'll install it. The new t-stats are controlled by iphone which sounds like your kind of thing". There is nothing at all I would like better than for dh to take care of this; all of it including figuring out what to buy. But he wont, not the mess he leaves nor the consumer research. We are living in boxes for years while I get it together to do that last.

I perhaps forgot to mention (apologies) that I've been around the block on the kitchen and appliances threads. Weedmeister "knows" me, I suspect. I am incredibly grateful to one and all for the generosity of their knowledge and sharing.

Anyway, Weeds, sir -- I'll note some of the weeds in a moment! ;) Fortunately the furnace, at least one of them, is not hard to access. So OK; it's features that one looks at/for in a stat, not mechanistic quality. Given that our <2yo Emerson has died, you can understand why I was wondering if it was otherwise. Our sketchy hvac guy told us "the electrical counter guy said this is the very best, the one electricians use..." I have since learned to take much of what he said with a grain of salt. And hence, the concern regarding a missing wire is of interest. However, I don't believe I said the batteries went dead in a day. I may have mentioned changing them twice, a day later -- this is because I just wanted to be sure. The whole contraption looks so darned simple and its failure is so weird it felt like batteries had to be it and it wouldn't be the first time that changed-out doubly-bad batteries threw a spanner in the experimental works, if you follow (the replacements could coincidentally also have been bad. However I just don't think so and again, I've now tested and determined 3 sets of batteries were OK so....).

To the weeds: geez. They're all inside the furnace and I have to remove a panel ... pia. I don't even know what figures to copy down. I could snap a picture but it's pretty hot in there! I think: 115V 1PH? 60Hz? What else... 1/3 HP? 10x6 blower? There are a bunch of LPgas vs Naturalgas specs but I'm guessing that's not what you need?? ... I could post a picture if that helps? Heating input (45K/40K) [those are the different specs depending on gas type]; output capacity (36K/32K); for temp (25-55/ditto) ... factory tested external pressure 0.10 Output temp 155 It's a Goodman ....

Does any of this say whether I need that ground? While inside the furnace just now I fancied touching a wire I may have received a slight sting but perhaps it was just hot -- there's a fan that's really hot (duh). However it felt electrical. I couldn't replicate it though. But maybe it isn't grounded properly? I'll put that on dh's list to check .... however, this may not be relevant to the C wire needed for the t-stat?

Sorry -- you now know the extent of my ignorance which is deep indeed.

However, I am not intending to waste anyone's time. Just wondering, again, what I need to know to figure out how/what thermostat to buy!

Many thanks if anyone has anymore thoughts.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Here is my suggestion. Open up your current thermostat, take a picture and post it here. The wiring connections (W, Y, G, etc.) will give a clue of what equipment you currently have (single stage, AC, heat pump, etc). We will also see if you have a C wire or not. With this information you can figure out what type of thermostat you need.

The Honeywell site has on line manual. You can pick a thermostat and read the manual to make sure it will be compatible with your current set up before you buy it.

Also check the reviews on Amazon. You can pick up a lot of good information.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Hey Mike -- I did get the thermostat open (clap clap) and see that there are four wires there, disappearing into the wall. Y, W, G, R

I even involved dh this am who is thrilled with you-all's involvement. I gave him my measly info about a possible spark too and he agrees that the stat appears grounded, but will check it somehow or other later. As for the possible small spark on the furnace, he says prolly if anything, it was static and I discharged it with my own body implying the furnace is grounded too.

As well I decided to grasp logic by the horns and talked him out of the expensive remote controlling. We live in socal. If we have to wait 4 minutes for the temperature to rise 4 degrees, we'll all live.... marital harmony appears unjeopardized. :)


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RE: Thermostat help please?

If you only have connections to Y (cooling), W (heat), G (fan), and R (power), then I am going to assume you have a single stage furnace and AC. If you have multiple stages (doubtful, but possible) it is not being controlled by the thermostat.

Are there any spare wires currently not being used? You could use a spare wire as the C, but it will need be connected on the furnace control board.

If you want to keep this simple go for the basic 7 day programmable thermostat that requires no C wire.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Poor wording on my part. When I said "furnace unit inside and outside", I meant the thing you have inside the house and the thing outside the house. Both of these will have a nameplate on them with the model number. The model numbers would be good to know, but probably not what is concerning things now.

The only thing I've found useful for a wireless thermostat is being able to check the temperature remotely when I'm traveling for an extended period. But I don't own one and have no intention of installing one.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Weeds: Oh! Sorry .... but I did snap a picture of all the words while I was in there. I didn't realize you wanted the model and not the specs. I'll see if I can make it out... Not positive about this: GMH80-453AXCA -- serial number is just specific to my particular unit, right?

Mike, thanks for the decoding. I will gladly pass that along! Yes, there is a AC component too. I looked briefly for any extra wires and didn't see any. there's a bank of snap in wire thingies and a blank space for another snap-in part but none there. I should have snapped a photo and I'm no longer there so can't until Sunday.

I'm so ignorant I don't even know what's simple and what isn't. But I'm happy to stick with a simple thermostat and dh seems convinced there's no need for the fancier.

Thanks, all!


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RE: Thermostat help please?

I goggled the model number, just the part before the "-" and it comes back as a 2-stage. You are not getting the best performance out of your furnace with a regular stat. Look around this forum or google it and you will see lots written about 2-stage and thermostats.

I don't know what your weather is like and if you would ever use the 2-stages or not. You may need to give the experts here more info.

Someone will correct me if I am wrong about the furnace. You should pull your paperwork from the furnace purchase as it will have the model numbers on it.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

This is a wild wild guess, since you mentioned your problem correlated with certain times of the day. Perhaps your thermostate reverts to a pre installed or otherwise program. If so try to get out of the program mode. Most digital/programmable thermostats have a "hold" feature. It will hold the temperature that you enter. So activate the hold feature and choose a desired temp. Then observe your system for a day and see if your problem has been solved.

Again, realize that this is a wild guess.

Also it would be helpful if you describe exactly what happens at these specific times of the day.

Good luck.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Hi Trent -- couple problems with your thought. First, it was working fine for a couple years but then stopped. Second, it's the manually tapped in temperature that doesn't get honored.

This seems to happen, not paying attention to the manually tapped-in temperature, in the evenings only. WTF? During the day, it is obedient.

Moreover, it's not consistent at night either. Sometimes it will keep running above the temp set for it to stop, and sometimes not.

I haven't figured out all the problems yet. For example, I should note what temperature/s it is ignoring... maybe I just set a different temp to override during the day from evening. I haven't been consistent in identifying the problem and I cannot reliably replicate it.

There's a long period fore and aft of heat blowing that sounds like just a fan -- is that part of the "2-stagedness"? DH knows nothing of this though I believe he purchased or authorized purchase of the furnaces (very long story). I have no idea where the paperwork to them went. I probably can locate it but ... not high on my priority list. Perhaps it should be.

Here are some photos, presuming I can get photobucket to remember me... Cindy, when I google I get this manual but it doesn't tell me (because I can't read it, not because the information isn't there) whether it's a 2-stage or not...http://dar.proflo.com/darmanager/Query?PRODUCT_ID=4249599&USE_TYPE=PARTS

 photo IMG_1723_zps102062fb.jpg

 photo IMG_1711_zps24f7763c.jpg


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RE: Thermostat help please?

I guess you must be right ... this implies the furnace is 2-stage and I guess all that low-level blowing fore and aft is precisely what you're referring to about the stage-edness.

BTW - it's not working right now, blows right past the request to stop at 71-deg. I think it stops at about 75-deg. It is evening now. When I ask it to do this in the day it behaves....

Hmmmm.... maybe it's true the program has become corrupt somehow. Because one thing that's different day and night is the default temp setting. I wonder how to clear out the program... probably leave it without any battery for a period of time. It seems to have some backup power ability because it retains the program when batteries are removed for a little while. I'll try to remove them overnight and see if the program has cleared out, then see if the override is still kaput, then if not, I'll put back the program and see if there is still the day/night problem....

Thanks for the ideas!


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Overnight removal of batteries did not clear out memory. If I disconnect those little wires and leave them off a couple minutes before reconnecting might that do it?

Evening setting of max to 71 or 72 deg gets overriden and ignored at least until 75 deg -- I think it may turn off then but it was too hot for me to even stand to test it out. Morning setting to 71-degrees gets respected....


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Do you know the model number of the Emerson Thermostat and do you have a manual? It doesn't make sense that it works in the morning and not in the evening. It could be a simple programming issue.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Hi Mike - yes, I agree it makes no sense. It's worked fine for years though; then one night it failed to shut off. I presumed it was kaput but in the morning everything was fine so OK, just one of those things...? But then, it failed to work again a couple nights later and I've realized there is this weird night/day issue. I just tested whether I happen to favor a certain level override according to day, confounding things. But no, same override during the day works, not at night. This is consistent.

I tried to wipe the program, unsuccessfully so far. I could reprogram it to other times -- I don't think it's anything I've actually done in the programming as again, it worked just fine forever. And anyway, it's not the programming that's the issue, it's faulty overriding.

I'm sure I have the manual somewhere or can find it online. It was terrible as I recall. What am I needing from it? Info as to how to wipe all programming perhaps? Maybe I should phone Emerson...

It may be Emerson 1036, hard to see what numbers are relevant.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

The thermostat looks exactly like this "Blue 2" stat on the picture.

Is a "heat pump" that 2-stage furnace being talked about? Maybe this stat does work for that? I dunno. There's a place for a black wire that's not filled.

....wait, it's the "White-Rodgers 80 series" perhaps, the lower-depicted one, that I've got.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

I think you are on track....this looks to be yours because the manual has the same bank for wires that yours does, and you said it looks like a "blue". http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/White-Rodgers/instruction_sheets/0037-7009.pdf

It is for single stage heaters. Now you have to decide it you want a 2-stage thermostat or if it's not worth the trouble for your climate.

If you want a cheaper, single stage one, just go to HD and pick one. Try it out. If the problem persists you can return it and call a repairman. Maybe it's your furnace that is the problem. Maybe something with it's thermostat or timing or something is wrong.

If you want a 2-stage stat you have to decide if you can run the wire and if you can install it to your furnace. You may consider running the wire yourself to save the cost for the extra service. I think there are some fancy thermostats that don't require the additional wires and can use the 4 that you have. I needed 6 and we used 7 so it could run off the electricity and not the battery.

If you had this installed I'd have your installer come out and give you a really good price because he should have at least offered you a 2-stage stat option.

If the problem is your furnace then hopefully it is under warranty....labor warranty??

These are just my opinions, I have no knowledge other than a fairly well informed homeowner.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Hey - thanks. The installer's out of the picture and that is a saga that definitely involves TMI. Not going there.

I need to read up on 2-stagedness to determine if we should upgrade.

dh's very happy -- in the sociology department -- for everyone's assistance and information. But he's kinda eager - my reading - to just change the thing out rather than trouble-shoot it. No patience for the effort to articulate the weird problems we're having. "Just buy a new one". I think he wants to put it in. ;) Gotta justify all those tools somehow. He also wants me to be the justification ("she needs wifi") - so now I can be the 2-stage justification shy of wifi. It's all good.

Except I have to now research and understand this dual-stage-furnace thing. oof.

Thanks...


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RE: Thermostat help please?

From the Goodman site: "These furnaces are designed to be used with a single stage room thermostat. They are similar to the Two-Stage Variable Speed (GMV) models. These furnaces are capable of the following heating modes: two-stage burner- low stage to high stage based on an adjustable time set on the board (not controlled by the thermostat). "

A story. My mom had a programmable thermostat installed when her new system was installed. She hated it. She was always setting it to a constant temp but the program would always take over. We replaced it with a simple non-programmable thermostat.

What I think is going on is that the unit has resorted to it's factory default program. This program cannot be removed nor 'turned off'. The default goes to 70 at 6am, 62 at 8am, 70 at 5pm, 62 at 10pm. The weekend is the same. Cooling uses different temperatures. You cannot delete the factory defaults, but you can override it with your own program.

Since your picture shows 'Temp Hold', the unit is in Temporary Hold. If you press ^ or v to change the temperature from the program, this is a Temporary Hold. This only lasts for 2 hours and then it reverts back to the program temperature. I'm betting this is what is going on: the program is running and at 8am it switches to 62. After a while, you feel chilly and look at the display and think "how did this get changed?", you push ^ to raise the temp to 72 and the unit goes into Temp Hold. Two hours later it reverts back to 62, you get chilly and the cycle repeats.

Dead or removed batteries set it back to factory default, most likely.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

Weeds: Nah...

"Since your picture shows 'Temp Hold', the unit is in Temporary Hold. If you press ^ or v to change the temperature from the program, this is a Temporary Hold. This only lasts for 2 hours and then it reverts back to the program temperature. I'm betting this is what is going on: the program is running and at 8am it switches to 62. After a while, you feel chilly and look at the display and think "how did this get changed?", you push ^ to raise the temp to 72 and the unit goes into Temp Hold. Two hours later it reverts back to 62, you get chilly and the cycle repeats. "

I've long "felt" the two-hour default reset. This isn't what's going on. I have the thing programmed, and the display at least still reads that I still have it programmed, to go to 67 at 5:45a, 60 at 7:45a, 68 at 5pm, 62 at 9:15pm . If I override it at 10am from, say, 67-deg to 69-deg it will do what I say. But if I override it from, say, 67-deg to 70-deg at 10pm, it will not do what I say. It will reach 70-deg and then keep going, it will not stop.

During the day it will reach the temp I tell it to hold at and it will hold the temp there. At night it will ignore the upper maximum.

I cannot understand it, but this seems to be empirically what's going on. If you say somehow the factory default is being reverted to, what I cannot understand is why the thermostat override seems to work in the am but not in the pm. If, as I think you are saying, it is not my thermostat that is actually controlling things, but the default furnaces', then why is it seemingly "feeling" the override in the morning only?

OK, let me try to unprogram the thermostat altogether ... I wanted to wipe the program clean rather than reprogram it to "nothing". But I'll try this instead...


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RE: Thermostat help please?

OMG this is complicated. Here is the manual, I think: http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/White-Rodgers/instruction_sheets/0037-7014.pdf

It has a big installer/configuration menu on p5 that I should probably understand somehow, but I can't.

Somewhere it's gotta tell me how to reset the thing, no? What's the slider-switch in the lower left corner visible in the picture I posted above? This doesn't carry through to the front user plastic interface. If I move that will I wipe the memory of the program?

It was driving me crazy that I can't figure out what the model number to the stat is but I finally found it: 1F80-0224 and here's the spec sheet: http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/White-Rodgers/sell_sheets/wr_6352_Blue2inThrmsts_SS.pdf ... It says it's 24 hour single stage 1/1 heat stage 1/1 . I have no idea what that means.

Any advice anyone? I am stuck. What should I do next? There is a homeowner hotline phone number mentioned! ... 1-800-284-2925

For starters, knowing the furnace we have and the thermostat, can someone please confirm that these are appropriately compatible? It would be nice to know things aren't fundamentally akilter like this...

Thanks for any thoughts/ideas...


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RE: Thermostat help please?

" It says it's 24 hour single stage 1/1 heat stage 1/1 . I have no idea what that means."

This means this thermostat can control one heating and one cooling stage only. Your 2-stage furnace is controlling itself by a built-in timer on its control board.

The program for this model is only 24 hours. This means you can have 4 heating and cooling settings everyday, but each day the settings are the same. A 5+1+1 program means week days can be programmed differently from Saturday and Sunday.

Now that you have the manual you can go into each setting and see how it has been set up. Try calling the customer hotline for help.


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RE: Thermostat help please?

IIRC, the switch at the bottom left is for setting whether your heat is Gas or Electric.

As I said, you cannot reset the default program.

Maybe it wants to keep the 'light' on after dark...


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