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6175 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Feb 16, 2013 1:26 PM by stjvilla RSS
wendyjames New Member 4 posts since
Sep 8, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 13, 2012 11:46 PM

Contol heating & air conditioning

Hello,  Can someone tell me if you use any certain devise that can control heating and air conditioning settings?  Being new to vacation rental by owner I fear guests will set the temp control very high this winter and then set it very low in the summer. 

  • Contributor 188 posts since
    Aug 30, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 14, 2012 9:10 AM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    We just have a standard thermostat.  We ask our cleaning crew to check on it when there are there.  I would be careful about trying to limit someone’s ability to change the temperature to their liking even if you feel it is not what you would do.

  • skiandglee Active Contributor 509 posts since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 14, 2012 12:36 PM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    I think most recent digital thermostats will have an "installer settings" section where you have to press a special key combination outlined in the instructions to gain access to the settings.  Usually there will be a max and min for the temperature setting.  I have trane thermostats that link to my alarm system and notify me when the mode is changed or temp is changed etc.

     

    Rick

    www.vacationrentalhelper.com

    • Contributor 188 posts since
      Aug 30, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Nov 14, 2012 11:31 AM (in response to skiandglee)
      Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

      As a renter if I could not turn my heat up past 72 in the winter if i wanted, I would be pretty mad if that was not disclosed to me prior to arrival.

      • gatx New Member 15 posts since
        Feb 2, 2012
        Currently Being Moderated
        Nov 14, 2012 12:31 PM (in response to sml)
        Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

        I have to agree, as a guest I would expect the home I rented to be comfortable, including the temperature settings.  Setting a min/max temp is fine as long as its not too restrictive.

         

        We have a Trane thermostat that can be controlled wirelessly.  These days they're more common and you can find several different ones at Home Depot / Lowes.  We mostly use it just to turn off the a/c or heat when our home is vacant.  I want my guests to be comfortable even if their stay costs me $20 extra on my utility bill.

          • skiandglee Active Contributor 509 posts since
            Apr 27, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Nov 14, 2012 4:27 PM (in response to wendyjames)
            Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

            Hi Wendy,

             

            I did a quick search on lowes.com and found the thermostats I use.  These would require a zwave controller such as the alarm system I use in my properties or a Schlage iLink portal that they sell at Lowes which also controls their Schlage iLink locks. I'm sure if you look closely, you will find other "internet enabled" thermostats.  I think the new NEST 2 thermostat also allows itself to be controlled via the internet.

             

            http://www.lowes.com/pd_333-352-TZEMT400BB32MAA_0__?productId=3382198&Ntt=thermostats&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNtt%3Dthermostats&facetInfo=

             

            I setup an alarm system with cameras and thermostats for a friends house in the Outer Banks, NC.  It was a 10,000 sq. ft. house with 7 (yep, 7) separate heating/AC units.  I replaced the 7 thermostats he had with 7 of the trane thermostats I linked to above and programmed them into the alarm system and he can now control them via phone/internet and setup programming schedules from them right on his computer.  I can imagine the electric bill he would get if he let someone set the AC on all 7 units to say 65 and they corresponding left the windows open for a week.  Trust me when I tell you that you WILL get renters that will do that, not even kidding.

             

            My properties are in the mountains at high elevation at a ski resort.  One of them is on a 1000 gallon propane tank stored underground at the property.  I would fill it up in November and barely make it to February in the winter.  Since my alarm sends me messages about when the temp goes above threshholds I set, I was getting messages stating my house was 80 degrees in the winter.  I had my thermostats set to not going over 72 so I was baffled how this was happening.  I tracked it down to guests running the 2 gas fireplaces 24/7, while they slept and while they left the house to go skiing with no one around.  Renters would return from skiing and open all the windows.  I subsequently installed 1 hour timers on each fireplace that wind down and shut off.  This solved the problem and my house has not reached 80 degrees in the winter since!   Now I have no problem making it to April with the 1000 gallons of propane as opposed to barely making February.  I haven't had any complaints whatsoever from the renters.

             

            Rick

            www.vacationrentalhelper.com

            • mike-dfv Community All-Star 835 posts since
              Mar 5, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Nov 15, 2012 9:29 AM (in response to skiandglee)
              Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

              I have a similar, but opposite, issue as Rick. In the Disney World area of Forida, we have the expensive problem of people leaving the sliding glass doors and windows open while running the A/C. While I completely agree that I want my guests comfortable, I do not want to cool the entire state! Reasonable limitations work well.

               

              I use the Vera system, micasaverde.com.

               

              Mike

              • skiandglee Active Contributor 509 posts since
                Apr 27, 2011
                Currently Being Moderated
                Nov 15, 2012 4:43 PM (in response to mike-dfv)
                Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                Mike,

                 

                Did you hook an alarm panel into the vera?

                 

                Rick

                • mike-dfv Community All-Star 835 posts since
                  Mar 5, 2011
                  Currently Being Moderated
                  Nov 16, 2012 8:29 AM (in response to skiandglee)
                  Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                  Not currently, Rick. I have been told that's not functional feature yet, but coming soon. Have I been misinformed?

                   

                  Mike

                  • skiandglee Active Contributor 509 posts since
                    Apr 27, 2011
                    Currently Being Moderated
                    Nov 16, 2012 8:38 AM (in response to mike-dfv)
                    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                    I quickly checked their forums and found that there are alarm panels that can be configured with the Vera but it is not mainstream yet.  Something similar to the Vera is the Lowes IRIS system that uses ZigBee and Zwave protocols with alarm sensors, motion sensors, door locks (presumably coming soon - the schlage iLink renamed to Nexia), power meters, keyfobs and thermostats.  I have it to test with and it's decent, just not ready for primetime yet.  Still waiting on smoke detectors, water sensors etc.  The other drawback to the IRIS system is that although it uses the zwave protocol, you can not simply use any zwave device with it.  It has to be labeled with the IRIS logo.  For example, I was able to pair a zwave schlage iLink lock with the IRIS system but it said unknown device and would not allow me to do anything with it. 

                     

                    Rick

                    www.vacationrentalhelper.com

                      • skiandglee Active Contributor 509 posts since
                        Apr 27, 2011
                        Currently Being Moderated
                        Nov 19, 2012 1:16 PM (in response to wendyjames)
                        Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                        I've replaced 2 pool heaters, Amazon.com is your friend.  Mine were in the $1300 range and I installed them myself. 

                         

                        You can replace the thermostat with nothing but a small screw driver as the thermostats all come with detailed instructions.

                         

                        Rick

                        www.vacationrentalhelper.com

                      • mike-dfv Community All-Star 835 posts since
                        Mar 5, 2011
                        Currently Being Moderated
                        Nov 20, 2012 3:18 PM (in response to wendyjames)
                        Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                        I'm with Rick on this. $6,000 is too much!

                         

                        Mike

            • New Member 4 posts since
              Nov 23, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Nov 30, 2012 3:23 PM (in response to skiandglee)
              Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

              I think I had a similar situation only I think they turned on the AC instead of opening windows because the gas fireplace was heating it up too much because my electric bill spiked.

          • New Member 6 posts since
            Oct 30, 2012
            Currently Being Moderated
            Feb 15, 2013 10:55 PM (in response to wendyjames)
            Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

            Hi  Guys,

             

            I bought a HONEYWELL THERMOSTAT WIFI  at Home Depot for about $129.00.  Its a great investment considering our V/C home is in Connecticut and we live in Texas.

             

            Using my cell phone, or laptop I am able to monitor the temperature in the house at all times.  From your phone or laptop anywhere you are able to pick up a WiFi, you are able to change the temp. in you home.

             

            Our home is a non smoking home, and we have it listed that way in our listing and in our Rental Contract.  What we

            have found is that our Guest open the windows so they can smoke and turn up the heat in the house to try and maintain a confortable level.

             

            Recently we had a guest do this, we figured it out because we found ashes in the window sills.  This happen Jan. 27, this year in Connecticut when the temps fell to 25 degrees, I used my cell phone to monitor the temp in our house only to find it set at 90 degrees.  So I dropped it to 75.

             

            As we speak, the guest who is there now has set the temp to 78 degrees.  Who can sleep in 78 degree temperature?  The only thing I can say about this Guest, is that he has left it at 77-78 the whole time he as been there.

             

            Last thing, there is no monthly service charge for using the WIFI Honeywell Thermostat.

             

            George

            • stjvilla Active Contributor 626 posts since
              May 27, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Feb 16, 2013 8:19 AM (in response to gondarza48@gmail.com)
              Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

              It's interesting to hear how this works in a real rental situation.  Do you do anything when you discover they are smoking in the house with the windows open?

              • New Member 6 posts since
                Oct 30, 2012
                Currently Being Moderated
                Feb 16, 2013 9:36 AM (in response to stjvilla)
                Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

                Ambassador,

                 

                In my rental agreement, I clearly state our home is a non smoking home and that violation will be an automatic lost of deposit.

                 

                I bought clear plastic placques you can buy at office depot for $9.00.  I printed non-smoking, no parties, no pets, lost of deposit for violation and I posted them in every bedroom, and main living areas.

                 

                It seems to work if you require a $250.00 deposit.

                 

                We opened OCT 01, 2012.  We started with a $250.00 deposit, 100.00 cleaning, rental rate and tax.  We started slow with getting rental inquires and actual bookings.

                 

                Then I stopped asking for deposit and instead use the $49.50 Property Damage Insurance.  The customers would pay, I was covered for $1500.00, and I did not have to worry about returning the deposit. I did not emphasis so much on the fact our home was non-smoking.

                 

                I started booking like crazy, then on January 27 2013 we had a guest who only payed the $49.50 PDI and no deductable.  Signs are posted in our home NON-SMOKING IN HOUSE, however considering they have no deposit to loose and the weekend has been paid for, they did not follow any rules.

                 

                They brought 12 guest with them, and did not pay extra, they smoked leaving window open the whole time they were there and I monitored the thermostat as it was set at 79, 90 then down to 68.  Up and Down for 3 days.  They had a party, and were the guest from hell! 

                 

                The insurance will cover actual damage items, but will not cover the cost of extra cleaning.  So the insurance in this case did not cover all the expenses we incurred.

                 

                Now, I require $250.00 deposit and the PDI, and make clear again about the non-smoking rule, and while I get Inquiries, again I see a slow down in actual bookings.

                 

                The bookings I do get are quality guest.

                 

                I do think that  that there is a chance that I lose the opportunity to rent because of how clear we make the lost of deposit.  We may come off to ridgit.

                 

                George

  • sapphiresteve Active Contributor 506 posts since
    Dec 16, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 14, 2012 1:46 PM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    Reminds me of an amusing story  of minimal pertinence.

     

    When the CIA built their HQ in Langly (for security reasons) they would not tell the architects how many people they expected to occupy each section. This made it very difficult for the HVAC engineers to "size" the various components of the system.

     

    Understandably some areas would be too cold, and other areas too warm, and everyone was always fiddling with their thermostat.

     

    So they attempted to resolve the problem by putting those clear  plastic covers that could only be opened with a key over every thermostat and set the thermostats for optimum distribution.

     

    Forgetting that almost all CIA employees could pick the locks.

     

    Steve

  • hkquinn Active Contributor 341 posts since
    Jul 22, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 15, 2012 12:39 PM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    We too have a WiFi controlled thermostat (Lowes) and I definitley want my guests to be comfortable, but I have it programmed to turn the heat down to 50 as soon as my cleaners leave. Worth every penny!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Nov 19, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 19, 2012 12:22 PM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    You can use a temper proof thermostat with a security code.

  • sfowner Contributor 33 posts since
    May 16, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2012 4:05 AM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    We are in San Francisco were we do not use cooling (fog does the job) and have a heating thermostat with programmed settings changing all during the day.

    Low while sleeping at night, warm for the morning and lower when the usual guests leave for sightseeing then warm for the afternoon and evening then finally cooler for the night.

    Guest can raise or lower the heat setting so they have the temperature they like. However, the setting returns to the programmed setting within a few hours so they can not leave the setting high all day.

    BUT now I will get a thermostat with a security code for changing the program because occasionally someone will get in there and change the program. Thanks frankcorredor and skiandglee for the idea!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Dec 1, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 1, 2012 9:51 AM (in response to wendyjames)
    Re: Contol heating & air conditioning

    I designed a control system that is connected to my entry & patio door.  If either one is open more than few minutes, the system automatically disconnect the compressor at my HVAC system and reconnect after the door is closed.  The process is resets and functional again.  Tenant can maintain temperature so as long as they keep the doors closed.

    As a rule, my tenant will leave the ocean side door open to hear the ocean and do nto adjust the A/C setting.

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