24 Replies Latest reply: Feb 16, 2013 1:26 PM by stjvilla RSS

    Contol heating & air conditioning

    wendyjames New Member

      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. 

        • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
          Contributor

          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.

          • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
            skiandglee Active Contributor

            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

              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                Contributor

                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.

                  • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                    gatx New Member

                    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.

                      • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                        wendyjames New Member

                        Hello,

                        I looked at home Depot and Lowes and did not see one that I could control wirelessly.  I am in the Atlanta area.

                        There were only a couple choic es on the shelves.  I did speach with some at Lockstate Connect, the manufacurer of Resort Lock.  I got some interestin info from them.  In addition to the resort Lock They have a new product called remote lockthat is operates through wiifii.  While I was getting information about about Resort Lock and Remote Lock I mentioned I was looking into a devise for my HVAC system as well.  They said they will be rollling another product latter in 2013 that can operate with motion detectors and be programable with alerts as well. 

                        My vacation rental is 6,200 square feet and has 3 diferant HVAC systems.  That is a big space to heat. My thought is to have the ability to control settings in the winter for a max of 75 degrees.  I would include that in my policies and let them know that at anytime they were not comfortable they could call and I would adjust the temp remotely.

                        I certainly do want my guests to be comfortable but at the same time I feel that I need to protect myself from a guest

                        turning the heat to 90.If if were $20 that would be fine, but it would be $100's and possibly $1,000's. 

                        Am I being to cautious?  The summer before while Myself and my daughteer travels to Asia for 52days I gave a friend permission tto use my pool.  They accidently left my pool heating at 98 degrees. When my house keeper went in to clean 8 days after she saw the pool steaming.  My bill was almost $1,200.  LOL. I can not imagine how much my gas bill could get out of control.  I am trying to figure out the best way to have my guests comfortable and avoid mistakes

                        that could cost me enormous amount of money.

                        Thanks for all the comments and sugestions!

                          • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                            skiandglee Active Contributor

                            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

                              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                mike-dfv Community All-Star

                                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

                                  • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                    skiandglee Active Contributor

                                    Mike,

                                     

                                    Did you hook an alarm panel into the vera?

                                     

                                    Rick

                                      • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                        mike-dfv Community All-Star

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

                                         

                                        Mike

                                          • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                            skiandglee Active Contributor

                                            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

                                              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                wendyjames New Member

                                                I am having my HVAC company present what thier wireless system cost with installation etc.  I am NOT handy with those type of things.  I will check out Vera and Iris on the net so I can educate myself somewhat.  Thanks for the sugestions.

                                                I have had the same HVAC company that installed 2 of the systems 7 years ago when I built my house and 6 years ago they put another system in when i finished the terasce level.  I have had a pre pay Fall and spring service contract with them.  I just added monthly filter change as well.  That way if something is wrong I will know sooner!!!

                                                 

                                                I am having my first guests Wednesday to Sunday!!!!

                                                 

                                                Also Does anyone know about pool heaters.  I have a huge RUDD . Stopped working!  Pool company said not worth tryning to fix!!! and $6,000 for a new one!!!!!!  I am freaking that is not in the budget!!!!!!

                                                 

                                                thank u all for your info!

                                                Happy Renting!!!!

                                                Wendy

                                                  • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                    skiandglee Active Contributor

                                                    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

                                                      • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                        wendyjames New Member

                                                        Hi Rick,

                                                        I got a quote for Nexia 3 theromstats, and 2 video cameras $1,500 installed for all and $9 month for recording video.

                                                         

                                                        I want to get a auto shut off for the gas line leading to the outdoor kitchen's jenair grill.  It is built in (surrounded in rock)

                                                        so if i can not get an auto shutoff I will have my HVAC company cap in and use propane.  I will just plant somthing

                                                        so it is out of sight!!!

                                                         

                                                        My first quests arrived Wednesday!  They are VERy happy !  They have called once to ask if I had coarsters!

                                                         

                                                        I dropped off a couple sets of coasters and a new Salt grinder and a broom/dust pan and quest book! They raved about my decor,lights, beds!!!   YEAH sucess!!! They LOVE IT!!!!

                                                         

                                                        I also put together a beautiful round hat box with matching welcome card and tissue papper.  Inside I put Mrs. Fields cookies, Ghiadelli Chocolare, Bag of Peets Coffee, Tray of pistaccos, dries friuts, a little toy for the 16 month old,

                                                        and A whimsical wime stopper!  A bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge!!!

                                                        I am selling Luxury!!!!

                                                         

                                                        now I just need to get mechanically handy!!!! 

                                                         

                                                        I did get a another quote for pool heater $2,800 installed and the old one removed!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

                                                         

                                                        Happy Holidays!!!

                                                      • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                        mike-dfv Community All-Star

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

                                                         

                                                        Mike

                                              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                New Member

                                                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.

                                              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                New Member

                                                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

                                                  • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                    stjvilla Active Contributor

                                                    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?

                                                      • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                        New Member

                                                        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

                                            • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                              sapphiresteve Active Contributor

                                              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

                                              • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                hkquinn Active Contributor

                                                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!

                                                • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                  New Member

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

                                                  • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                    sfowner Contributor

                                                    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!

                                                    • Re: Contol heating & air conditioning
                                                      New Member

                                                      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.