A first impression when taking the Venstar ColorTouch thermostat from the box was that the thermostat was smaller than I had imagined however it is no smaller than the typical digital programmable thermostat. The more I got into the thermostat the better I liked it even though I found what I think is a minor flaw in the thermostat. Despite the flaw we are recommending the Venstar ColorTouch thermostat for residential and light commercial users who will find the benefits and features rich and colorful.
Minor Flaw of the ColorTouch Thermostat
I took the thermostat from the box and began examining it. A small transformer was hooked up to power it from my desk so I could explore the features comfortably by my note pad. I had done this before with other thermostats. One thing that stood out from the other thermostats from the ColorTouch was the fact that I had to use a tool to open it up or to separate the sub-base from the main thermostat. It is necessary to do this upon initial installation and whenever an HVAC technician wants to troubleshoot the HVAC system. I’ve done it a thousand times and so has many other technicians. It is a process of eliminating a possible problem and the core definition of troubleshooting. Anyhow, other modern digital thermostats do not need tools to take apart. I simply want everyone to know this so that someone does not pull the entire thermostat from the wall. This includes homeowners and HVAC technicians.
Feature Rich along with Ease of Programming with a TouchScreen Interface
One of the big bonus features to this thermostat is that you can load your own photos on it and display the photos as wallpaper on the thermostat or as part of the screensaver feature of the thermostat. Or both. The screensaver and wallpaper feature can be set to one of many themes that come default in the thermostat. You can also set the screensaver to a clock (analog or digital – your choice) rather than photos.
It has its own software you can download and set up all the features and programs from your desktop. You will need an SD card to do this but it is one of the features I have been waiting for and it is refreshing to finally see. The ColorTouch Assistant is easy to use for most people. See the video below. No longer does one need to take a course in rocket science to program a thermostat.
Dealers or HVAC Contractors can easily preprogram their contact information into the thermostat so the customer can have easy access to contact information.
Alerts are easily programmed to remind you to change the filter, change a UV Bulb, or call for annual maintenance.
Set your vacation dates in the thermostat and the system will respond according to your setting when you go on vacation.
Additional features include multi-stage heating and cooling settings, English, Spanish, or French language settings, a free cooling option, heat pump condenser lock out feature and dual fuel settings.
There are other features to the ColorTouch Thermostat by Venstar that make it stand out from the average off the shelf thermostat. Once the thermostat is installed and your photos are loaded in this thermostat you will love it and never want another thermostat.
4) Please confirm this advice if you would; it is better to have your thermostat left at 70°F. to 72°F. during the day while your home is empty and adjust accordingly when you get home as opposed to shutting off the heater/ac and turning on when you get home. I would think this would put less strain on the unit. Thanks in advance for your help. The answer…….
It would be better for you turn the system off while you are work and then turn it back on again after you arrive at home. There is a better way though. You can purchase a programmable thermostat and set the thermostat to your schedule. You set the programmable to turn off approximately a half hour before you leave in the morning and then set it to turn on approximately a half hour before you come home. This means you will not have to wait for the house to warm up or cool down after arriving at home. The programmable thermostat will make sure that the system is on so that when you arrive home there is a degree of comfort for you.
The programmable thermostat should be set for a temperature differential of 3 ° F. to 5° F. above the comfort zone temperature if your system takes a while to cool or heat the house. If your system has no problem cooling or heating the house you can increase this temperature differential to 7° F. to 12° F. That is, when you leave home the programmable thermostat timer increase the temperature in the summer and decreases the temperature in the winter so when you are not home the HVAC system doesn’t cycle as much and you save in energy costs. The same can be said about when you sleep at night. Be comfortable for sure but you can increase or decrease the temperature when you are sleeping and with a programmable thermostat set it to bring the house to a comfortable temperature just before you wake up. This is better than turning the system off completely and it maintains reasonable temperatures in your home or business whether you are there or not. The thermostat pictured to the left is the Honeywell Touchscreen programmable thermostat.
One thing to note about this though is that if your system is undersized or your house is not properly insulated then the system will continuously run no matter where you set the thermostat. A properly insulated house with the correct sized air conditioning and heating system will gain you more efficiency and less power bill by turning the system off when you are not home for prolonged periods of time. Think about the system running when you are not at home and the good that it is doing. It is not benefiting anyone except maybe a pet. The programmable thermostat properly programmed will reduce the costs of your energy bill by at least ten percent (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). This makes perfect sense to me and have my thermostat in my home (a Honeywell Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat) set to do the same thing. Unless I come home early my home is comfortable when I arrive home because I set the programmable thermostat to come on thirty minutes before I arrive home.
I’ve seen a lot of air conditioning and heating systems and I would not recommend this to you if your air conditioner typically runs all the time. You have a problem that is well beyond the thermostat and needs to be corrected. I would start with the insulation in the home and then move up to having the system checked and resized to make sure it has been properly sized in the past. Only then would I say get a programmable thermostat especially if your air conditioner or heating system runs all the time due to inadequate sizing or poor insulation. If all is fine with that then get yourself a programmable thermostat and save yourself some money on your power bill. Turning off during the day is not going to strain the heating and cooling equipment to the point where you have to worry about replacing the system sooner rather than later but it will save you money in energy consumption.
We all know know that fresh clean air is important to our health. We should also know that our home air filters need to be kept clean not only for our health but also to protect the air conditioning and heating equipment. A dirty (or worse, no filter at all) filter can cause our heating and air conditioning equipment to fail. By maintaining a good filter maintenance schedule we protect our health and the heating and cooling equipment.
Before we discuss the different types of air conditioning and heating furnace filters and which one is the best for you, I want to stress the importance of keeping your air conditioning and heating furnace filters clean. Air flow is very important to the efficiency of your HVAC system and furnace filters play a key role in maintaining the proper air flow. Whether it be your A.C. system or your Heating system, both HVAC systems need the proper amount of designed air flow throughout the HVAC system. Dirty HVAC furnace filters restrict the airflow which results in higher energy and HVAC repair costs to you.
The first thing we need to do when comparing a Trane Versus a Carrier is to make sure we are comparing similar models with similar features. Each manufacturer makes various models from a builder’s grade unit which is usually the HVAC manufacturer’s cheapest model all the way up to the unit that has bells and whistles and some of these have bells and whistles for the bells and whistles. You simply want to make sure you are comparing apples to apples and not an apple to an orange.
The next thing we need to do when comparing HVAC equipment is to look at the HVAC contractor installing the equipment. If you get a lousy installer or contractor forget about name brand because the HVAC system WILL NOT FUNCTION PROPERLY if it is not installed properly. Also the unit will not have the same life expectancy and will fail prematurely and will need to be replaced sooner than if the HVAC equipment is installed properly in the first place. Out of any advice about air conditioning and heating equipment that someone can give you this is probably the most important part.
Red Arrow Shows a Duct Work Leak in a Brand New Installed Duct System
A good consideration when replacing the air conditioning system is the duct work. Duct work seems to be the most ignored part of an HVAC system but is a very important consideration in this age of new technology and higher energy efficient equipment being developed and manufactured. You can have the most energy efficient engine but if its in an old 60 or 70’s model car your efficiency is going to suffer. The same is true with HVAC systems. You can have the most energy efficient compressor available on the market but if your duct work is leaky or your house or business is not properly insulated that high efficient system you just spent big dollars on is wasted money. For more insight on HVAC ductwork see the High Performance HVAC Ductwork Page. Continue reading “Air Conditioner Ductwork Leaks” »
Looks like good software for designers of HVAC Systems in data centers. I am wondering if it is possible to integrate this in a live data center for real time modeling of how the data center floor is operating at any given time of day or night. It would allow super tweaking of the HVAC system to offer optimal cooling efficiency.
HVAC blower motors move the air through the system. The blower motor is sized based on the amount of air flow necessary for the system. This blower motor is the supply fan for the supply air in a large commercial York air handler. An air conditioning and heatingforced air system is sized based on load. The load factors include heat loss and heat gain, number of people in the building, types of rooms served factoring in heat produced by equipment such as computers and other heat producing equipment. The amount of conditioned air needed to satisfy the load demand is calculated for maximum air flow. Because more air flow is generally needed for cooling applications the fan, blower, and duct work are sized to allow the proper amount of flow. Other factors in sizing the HVAC blower motor are the amount of changes of air per hour as required by the mechanical code. This can add additional load to the system as outside air being added to the system is often less than ideal for use in the HVAC system and will require additional conditioning. Continue reading “HVAC Air Conditioner Squarrel Cage Blower” »
The Building Commissioning Guide defines commissioning as a systemic process of assuring verification and documentation, from the design phase to a minimum of one year after construction that all facility systems perform interactively in accordance with the design documentation and intent, and in accordance with the owner’s operational needs including preparation of operation personnel. Typically from the perspective of someone who has direct experience in the commissioning of buildings, commissioning has different levels and different definitions according to the project requirements of the job. Five years ago commissioning was simply making sure the test and balance company made sure the HVAC system was balanced according to the engineers specifications. Today, as we move towards Green Buildings and energy efficiency a higher standard of building commissioning is being applied not only to the HVAC systemsbut also the electrical systems, life and health systems, and the building envelope itself. Today’s building commissioning scrutinizes nearly every aspect of the construction process from the design of the building to training of the operators who will operate the building after construction is complete. That is defined as total building commissioning and while this total building commissioning can add costs to the entire project over the long term if it is implemented properly commissioning can save the owner money. This article will cover the basics of electrical and mechanical commissioning and how it is beneficial for the owner to have the systems commissioned and how building commissioning benefits all parties involved in the construction process.
Ductwork is necessary to deliver the air throughout the HVAC system. It is important that the system has integrity with no leaks. Duct work is made of different materials. Duct systems also have different construction methods which hold the ductwork together.
Pictured above is an old ductwork system (which needs to be replaced) made of duct board, which is a rigid fiberglass board, and flex duct work. The duct board is cut to size from the duct work sizing requirements for tonnage and taped together with special duct tape. For the branches coming off the duct board trunk, metal collars are inserted into holes cut to size in the duct board. Flex ductwork is attached to the metal collars for the branch ductwork. Continue reading “Duct Systems and Bad Ductwork” »