How I made my 45 year old furnace a "Smart Furnace" and at the same time got a "Freeze Alarm."
Every winter, as a realtor, I hear of waterfront home owners who have huge water damage caused by heating issues which resulted in their water pipes freezing and breaking while the homeowner was away. And yes, sometimes the damage is huge, resulting in massive headaches and weeks or even months where the house is not usable.
Well, here is one inexpensive solution, that we just put into our own waterfront home: A smart thermostat:
We installed this Ecobee smart thermostat, which connects to our WiFi. This allows the thermostat to send us “notifications” if our home’s temperature drops below a certain trigger point. So yes, you could consider this thermostat a “freeze alarm” for our home.
Our furnace is very old, which probably means it is unreliable. When we go to Phoenix for Christmas this year, this fairly in expensive device will tell us if our old furnace is not up to the challenge of keeping our pipes warm.
This smart thermostat was purchased for $149 and then, Wisconsin Focus on Energy sent us a rebate check for $75 as these units save lots of energy.
Besides being a “freeze alarm,” we have our Ecobee smart thermostat programed with “home” and “away” temperature settings as well as a night time lower the heat setting. And, we can control this high-tech unit from our smart phones and computer.
Friday night we went out for a fish fry with friends, forgot to hit the “away” button on the thermostat so, I punched up the Ecobee phone app and told the unit we were “away” so the app lowered our temperature to 66 (from 69) degrees. As we headed home, we told the Ecobee phone app to pump up the heat to our “home” setting and wa-la, our home was nice and toasty warm when we arrived.
For an extra fee, the Ecobee thermostat can be outfitted with remote sensors that can tell the thermostat when no one is home so, it can automatically lower the temperature to the units preset “away” temperature. We have not installed the sensors – yet.
This unit was easy to install and program. Ya, I did all the work myself, with just one call to the support line.
Click here for Rebate link