22 Replies Latest reply: Sep 12, 2014 9:11 AM by j6626 RSS

    Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?

    New Member

      I just got an email from a guest who said the air never really cooled down during their stay. Obviously not enough of a problem for them to call the management company or me during their stay but still I hate for guests to feel that something isn't working properly. So I contact my property management company who check and say they don't think the guests had it set so the air conditioner was on - just air flow... And I had another issue a few weeks before that I suspect may also have been user error. 

      So I am wondering does anyone have the HVAC controller in their rental home preset and locked off or some other way of controlling the unit. I want my guests to be comfortable but wish their was some way of assuring that the unit is being used appropriately.

      Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.

        • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
          Contributor

          we had an energy management system installed to take care of our heat/ air and water heater-     sensors were installed on the balcony sliding glass door and other areas.     If the sliding glass door is left open for over 90 seconds the heat or airconditioner shuts off.   90 seconds is longer than you think and plenty of time for guests to enter/  exit the balcony-    this prevents someone from turning the ac down to 65 and leaving the slider open 24/7    -      the sensors also detect if no one is in the unit /   no movement for 12 hrs or some variation there of  that cuts off the water heater  and puts the heat/  ac in dormant mode-    its a neat system -   it wont let the guest alter the ac lower than  70   (  our choice) in summer   and wont let the heat setting be over 75   winter   ( our choice )    

          • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
            New Member

            I have an online thermostat that would work perfectly if you have an internet connection in your home. I actually work for a controls supply company that carries these control stats, along with a less expensive online temperature sensor. Each of them connect to the internet to show real-time readings by logging into a personal website. The stat can be controlled online, but the sensors can only monitor.

             

            The stat is the first link on this page: http://alpscontrols.com/index.asp?xMN=185&xCT=46&xPT=364&xPRO=27524

            The sensors can be found here (#3008-28-V4): http://alpscontrols.com/index.asp?xMN=123&xPT=581

             

            Let me know if this is something you are interest in. I can give you more details and info on the monitoring site.

            • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
              New Member

              I forgot to mention... the thermostat from my previous post allows an administrator (you) to lock-out the keypad so that guests cannot adjust it. If you are concerned about overuse, resulting in high energy bills, this is a way to protect you.

              • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                tyann Contributor

                The sensor thing sounds pretty nifty!

                 

                We use the Trane thermostat that is synced with our Schlage LiNK system. I receive a text message and email each time the thermostat is touched. If I don't like the setting the guests put it to, I can log into my account from my phone or computer and adjust it remotely. I am amazed at how often guests adjust the heating/cooling in the house.

                 

                I agree with Murdock that it is important for the guests to feel comfortable during their stay and able to adjust the temperature in the house to their comfort level. I usually don't change a guest's settings unless they lower the AC below 70 degrees. In Branson it gets quite warm during the summer, and guests think the house will cool off faster if they set the thermostat lower and lower...I just chuckle and change the thermostat back so it doesn't freeze up. I do include instructions on the AC settings with their directions, so that helps as well.

                 

                Tyann Marcink

                www.vacationhomeinbranson.com

                • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                  New Member

                  We also have the Schlage Link with the Trane thermostat.  This allows you to monitor the thermostat temperature.  Also turn it on, off, up and down.  They can still run it while they are there.  You can change it if you don't approve of their settings or if they have some operator error issues. I think having the ability to turn the temp to a comfortable setting a few hours before check in allows the furnishings to become comfortable and inviting before your guest arrives. This may help with your guests complaining about it never cooling down if it was warm when they originally arrived.  Though this system is new for us, we are especially looking forward to using it during our hot, humid summers.  It has already proved a great aid during the recent low temperatures this winter.  You'll need Internet service and have a $100 annual fee.  It does a lot more than run the thermostat.  The lock monitoring is wonderful too.  They have several new features coming this year.  Go to the Schlage site and check it out. 

                   

                  Sandy K

                  www.meadowbrook-resort.com

                  www.vacationingbranson.com

                  • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                    New Member

                    We installed programmable thermostats for our heaters where we have set a minimum and maximum heat level.  The heat is always set to the minimum so that the pipes don't freeze mid-week when there are no renters.  The renters can increase the heat but not above a certain level.  If they forget to turn the heat down when they leave the thermostat resets itself after a few hours so that the heat doesn't run constantly.  This was an inexpensive solution (less than $100) and has reduced our propane bills by 1/3rd.  I still plan to look into the Trane thermostat too since heat during the winter costs is still too expensive.

                    • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                      spoonbill Contributor

                      I too use the Trans/Schlage system and it is great.  You can also set limits as to what the guests can enter.  The only thing missing and they should be adding it soon is a link into door sensors so that you can cause the unit to shut off if the doors are left open.  Too often I see my door left open and the AC set down to 65 when it is hot and humid.  If the door sensor turned the unit off or up to a higher temp after a set time period that would be a great feature.

                        • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                          Contributor

                          What kind of initial investment are we talking about with the schlage/trane set up. It sounds great, however, I know as a guest, I sometimes go into places where I am chilly and just turn the AC off completely. I do think guests need some control.

                           

                          On a similar topic, maybe I'll repost, is there a way to put restrictions on your pool heater?

                          I had someone set the pool for 104 degrees - luckily my pool man caught it, turned it down and called me. I had one person remove the stop tack on my timer so it ran continuously. How do you handle pool heating?  Any way to limit it so it isn't on for 24 hours, or 98 degrees?

                            • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                              tyann Contributor

                              The Schlage lock started kit is $175 to $199 - you can get it from Amazon, Best Buy, Lowes (special order)... We order ours from www.gokeyless.com (very good customer service, and they usually ship same day or next day). Then the Trane thermostat is between $80 and $99 and can be purchased online from Amazon, Best Buy, Lowes...

                               

                              So you're looking at a $300 investment. It will take some time to put it in. The first time tokk us 2 hours probably...the key is to follow the directions to a "T" and then it should take maybe 20 minutes max. We're adding a LiNK lock to our backdoor tomorrow, being our fourth lock, it should go quickly.

                               

                              On the Trane thermostat, if you're not familiar with wiring, you will want a HVAC person to install it for you. Because...if it's not set up properly, it will reverse, acting like the wires are crossed. Then when it's supposed to be cooling, it will actually be running the heat...and all the candles in your house melt...handsoap will bubble out of the containers...not that I would ever know...

                               

                              There is a monthly cost for the Schlage LiNK system to access it online and change codes and settings. I think it's been lowered to $8.99 per month. It's just one fee no matter how many devices are on it - locks, thermostat, camera, etc. But it's a fee per house, so times that by how many properties you have.

                               

                              Tyann Marcink

                              www.vacationhomeinbranson.com

                                • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                  sophie Senior Contributor

                                  Tyann,

                                   

                                  Can you be more specific on what the locks do?  I believe you can see when people are coming and going and you can unlock and lock the doors remotely? Thanks.

                                    • Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                      tyann Contributor

                                      The deadbolt you cannot actually lock and unlock it remotely, which is a downside. You can activate it remotely for 5 seconds so that someone standing at the door can unlock it without a code. You also have an "event" list of each thing that happens with each device - each time the deadbolt is manually turned, a code is entered, etc. If the wrong code is entered 5 times, you will receive a tamper alert.

                                       

                                      I also change the code for each guest and name the code so I know who is entering the codes. My housekeeper also has a named code so that I know when they arrive. I like being able to delete a code as soon as a guest leaves. I feel more secure knowing the codes are always changing on my locks.

                                       

                                      There is a new feature that I have yet to use. This is a scheduled code, only good for a specified time period.

                                       

                                      You cannot set regular codes by phone, but I can set a temporary code that is god for 24 hours through my phone. You can also give a particular phone specific access - like just access to the front door lock but not to the back door. Or just to the thermostat but not the locks.

                                       

                                      You can see more info at the Schlage site.

                                       

                                      Tyann Marcink

                                      Canyon Retreat | Nature's Retreat | www.vacationhomeinbranson.com

                                      Website Design | Photograpy | www.marcinkdesigns.com

                              • Re: Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                New Member

                                Hi Tiffany.

                                The name of the company you need is Coastal Green Air.  www.coastalgreenair.com. I am the distributor for this company. So, contact Hiram @ 850-249-7988 or hiramh11@earthlink.net.  My company is the one to which I believe piercetc is referring.  It does turn the ac off after the door is opened for 90 seconds as well as if there is no motion detected for a period of time, it will move the thermostat temps up or down to preset ranges automatically. But, when guests are there they can turn the stat wherever they wish and will show that setting on the stat, but in reality will only stay within preset parameters.  We also have a motion detected device that turns the water heater off.  Owners have proven savings 33%-47% on their power bills.  Most installations pay for themselves within 24 months or less.

                                hiramh

                                  • Re: Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                    crescentbeach4u Community All-Star

                                    I second Hirams remarks on Coastalgreenair.  One other thing that Hiram did not mention is that the airbox will cycle itself after so many hours to keep the air fresh within the home/condo/unit.  This is important for slow season etc. when the air just sits there picking up smells.  I am amazed that even after knowing the benefits people just dont come running to buy one of these. I have one and they work great, and I have not had one complaint from any renter but there are issues that you might want to consider. 

                                    1. If you have an older air box unit you might have to have an additional wire added to match the CGA thermostat.  In my area the boxes ran 4 wires,  CGA thermostat requires 5 unless you do a workaround.  This can double your installation costs.
                                    2. Most HVAC companies have no clue how to install so you become their test bed for first installs.  As a result, ignorance = time which = more installation costs.
                                    3. The thermostat unit itself is not user friendly in program mode.
                                    4. Total cost is higher than one might initially think but savings will eventually offset the costs.

                                     

                                    Regarding the water heater switch: I think this is great for a rental home or condo's that have long slow seasons.  Not so much for high volume properties.

                                     

                                    If you have the Coastal Green Air unit and then also buy a "Resort Lock" (you do not need Internet service for this) you will be miles ahead of your competition. 

                                     

                                    Doug

                                  • Re: Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                    brookesmommy New Member

                                    We have installed Nest thermostats (Home Depot or Amazon) and they paid for themselves in 2 months!  These things are amazing! Very easy to install and user friendly on your phone.

                                    We've had guests turn the A/C down to 65 and leave for the day when it was 100 degrees out!  (We had electric bills of $1,800+ in the summer.)  We monitor usage on our phones and lock it so they can't go below 69 in the summer or above 73 in the winter. It goes on "Auto Away" when they check out or when there is no movement in the house. (be sure to take it off of "learning mode" though). That only works on personal usage (with a routine). You can also monitor energy usage for the week....so cool!

                                    • Re: Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                      j6626 New Member

                                      I read many of these and wish to contribute

                                       

                                      I use the LIVEWATCH system. I replaced ADT. This security system integrates z-wave capability. I use the Trane thermostat. This unit, in the installer setting, does allow setup of hard setpoints for min/max on both AC and heat. Mine are currently set at AC min 70 and heat max 78. I also have the Schlage communicating door lock. Both of these I can control through either my PC or smart phone. I've recently added my driveway lights and water heater to the z-wave network. So the driveway lights come on at sunset (regardless of time of day) and stay on for 2hrs. My water heater (especially in summer) is shut down between guests. And it's on a 7a to 10p "on" schedule when occupied. BTW - on the door locks, yes - I can lock/unlock and change access codes remotely. It's really surprising how often a guest and housekeeping leaves the property without locking the door or arming the system. Oh and Yes too to being able to arm/disarm the alarm remotely. I'm paying an acess/monitoring fee of $40/mo with no a up charges as I add devices..... as opposed to ADT.

                                       

                                      FYI - I created multiple lock/alarm codes so I know who the Mgt company has in the house.... guest, maintenance, Management, housekeeping. Entry in the house logs the code and code name description.

                                       

                                      The logging system is very informative, I set up email notifications for every time the system is armed or disarmed. I'm analyzing extended door open abuse. One 2 day guest racked up 12:45m of open door of duration > 10minutes. So, I'm trying to find an AC automatic shutoff mechanism. Any help there from the field would be helpful. BTW - 90days (Jun/Jul/Aug) ran up over 160hrs of open doors of greater than the 10m.

                                       

                                      My question - what is PIERCTC using to control the HVAC?????

                                        • Re: Guest access to controls for Heat/Air Conditioning?
                                          j6626 New Member

                                          One other comment or question. Motion sensors. What happens when the motion sensor goes idle in the middle of the night while a guest is sleeping. Is the AC/Heat shutting down? Even during vacant periods, I'd have concerns over humidty in the house, should the AC be off in 95+ degree high humidity locations. How is that working for you?