Smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are thermostats that can be used with home automation and are responsible for controlling a home’s heating and/or air conditioning. They perform similar functions as a Programmable thermostat as they allow the user to control the temperature of their home throughout the day using a schedule, but also contain additional features, such as sensors and WiFi connectivity, that improve upon the issues with programmable thermostats.

Like a connected thermostat, they are connected to the Internet. They allow users to adjust heating settings from other internet-connected devices, such as a laptop or smartphones. This allows users to control the thermostat remotely. This ease of use is essential for ensuring energy savings: studies have shown that households with programmable thermostats actually have higher energy consumption than those with simple thermostats because residents program them incorrectly or disable them completely.

Smart thermostats also record internal/external temperatures, time the HVAC system has been running and can even notify you if your air filter needs to be replaced. This information is typically displayed later on an internet-connected device.

                          

                           A nest Labs Thermostat

 

Manual vs. programmable vs. smart thermostats

Manual thermostats

Manual thermostats (also known as analog thermostats) are the oldest and simplest type of thermostats. These thermostats are set to one temperature and do not change until the user manually adjusts the temperature.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable Thermostats, first introduced in the 1970s, are a type of thermostat that allows the user to set a schedule for different temperatures at different times. Most programmable thermostats also have a hold feature which suspends the schedule and effectively turns the thermostat into a manual thermostat. The idea of the scheduling feature is that users will set a warmer or cooler temperature when the home is unoccupied to save energy and money. Due to this assumed energy savings, some building codes and government programs began requiring the use of programmable thermostats. Unfortunately, due to human error in using these devices, many programmable thermostats result in more energy use than the basic manual thermostat.

Honeywell Manual Thermostat

Issues with programmable thermostats

One of the main objectives of smart thermostats is to reduce the issues involved with using traditional programmable thermostats. In order to understand how smart thermostats take on this task, it is important to understand the issues regarding programmable thermostats and how they affect energy consumption. Between 2008-2009  Florida Power & Light .(FPL) provided 400 homeowners with programmable thermostats and monitored their heating and cooling patterns. Out of the 400 participants, 56% of users used the programming feature while the remaining participants did not program the thermostat and left it on “hold”. It was determined that the users who used the programming feature actually consumed 12% more energy than the non-programmers. This consumption increase resulted from higher overnight duty cycles associated with lower thermostat setpoints (i.e. lower temperature setting), due to confusion with setting the schedule. This study reveals that programmable thermostats will not necessarily save energy. The smart thermostat attempts to combat this issue by taking the user out of the picture and relying on sensors and computers to save energy.

Another study conducted on the issue determined that the biggest problem for programmable thermostats was the human using it. The technology inside a programmable thermostat is no doubt one of the most important factors in determining whether or not the thermostat will be successful in saving energy. But an equally important factor is the human who is using the thermostat. Unfortunately, many people who own programmable thermostats do not know how to use the thermostat or are not using all of the features that are offered. One study conducted a number of interviews, surveys, and observations to determine that the vast majority of programmable thermostat owners are not using the thermostats for their intended purpose. An online survey showed that 89% of respondents do not use the schedule feature on their programmable thermostat. Other results from the interviews and surveys show that a large number of people have misconceptions about heating/cooling and the use of programmable thermostats. One misconception is people believing that heating all of the time is more efficient than scheduling the heat to turn off. Another misconception noted in the study is that turning down the thermostat does not substantially reduce energy consumption. These misconceptions reaffirm the idea that the programmable thermostat itself could have all of the necessary tools, but if the user does not use them or uses them incorrectly, then these thermostats will fail at saving energy.

As a result of these studies and others like them , energy star suspended its labelling of programmable thermostats in December 2009. It became the goal of smart thermostats to address these issues by taking the human out of the picture and creating a thermostat that uses smart computing to truly reduce energy usage and cost.

Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats are similar to programmable thermostats in the sense that they have a scheduling feature that allows users to set different temperatures for different times of the day. In addition to this feature, smart thermostats implement other technologies to reduce the amount of human error involved with using programmable thermostats. Smart thermostats incorporate the use of sensors that determine whether or not the home is occupied and can suspend heating or cooling until the occupant returns. Additionally, smart thermostats utilize Wi-Fi connectivity to give the user access to the thermostat at all times. These additional technologies have proven to make smart thermostats successful in saving users energy and money.

History

Development of the smart thermostat began in 2007 with the creation of the ecobee thermostat. The founder of ecobee, Stuart Lombard, wanted to save energy and reduce his family’s carbon footprint. After realizing that heating and cooling made up most of his home’s energy usage, Lombard purchased a programmable thermostat in an attempt to reduce total energy usage. Lombard quickly discovered that the programmable thermostat was difficult to use and unreliable. Following difficulties with the programmable thermostat, he set out to create a smart thermostat that saved energy and was easy to use. With that goal, the ecobee company was created in attempt to offer users a thermostat that could truly save energy by fixing the issues with programmable thermostats.

Following the ecobee, EnergyHub released its version of a smart thermostat in 2009 with the creation of the EnergyHub Dashboard. The co-founder of EnergyHub, Seth Frader-Thompson, got the idea for the Dashboard from his Prius. The Prius had screens on the dashboard that displayed the car’s gas mileage in real time. Thompson felt that a house should have something that does the same. With that goal in mind, Thompson created a thermostat that could communicate with a home’s furnace and appliances to determine the energy usage and efficiency and how much it was costing. The thermostat also had the capability to turn off appliances or raise and lower the temperature to save energy and cost. Ultimately, the goal of this thermostat was to display energy usage to users and to save energy and money.

       Nest Labs company logo. Creators of the Nest Learning Thermostat

In 2011, Nest Labs developed the Nest Lerning Thermostat.The Nest Thermostat attempted to reduce home energy consumption by addressing the problems with programmable thermostats through the use of better technology. This new technology included the implementation of sensors, algorithms, machine learning, and cloud computing. These technologies learn the behaviors and preferences of the occupants, and adjust the temperature up or down to make the occupant comfortable when they are home and to save energy when they are away. Additionally, the Nest Thermostat connects to the home Wi-Fi. This allows users to change the temperature, adjust the schedule, and check energy usage from a smartphone or laptop. All of these features were part of Nest’s goal to create an easy to use thermostat that saves users energy and money.

Technology:

Programmable Schedule and Auto Schedule

The programmable schedule feature on the smart thermostat is similar to that on standard programmable thermostats. Users are given the option to program a custom schedule to reduce energy usage when they are away from the home. Studies have shown, though, that manually creating a schedule may lead to more energy usage than just keeping the thermostat at a set temperature. To avoid this problem, smart thermostats also provide an auto schedule feature. This feature requires the use of algorithms and pattern recognition to create a schedule that results in occupant comfort and energy savings. Upon creating a schedule, the thermostat will continue monitoring occupant behavior to make changes to the auto schedule. By taking the human error out of the scheduling, smart thermostats can create smart schedules that actually save energy.

Sensor :                                                

    The Nest Web Portal allows users to remotely change the temperature,

                              create a schedule, and view past energy usage

In an attempt to mitigate the issues with human error involved with programmable thermostats, the smart thermostat utilizes a sensor that can determine occupancy patterns to automatically change the temperature based on occupant patterns and behaviors. The Nest Learning Thermostat in particular uses passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors inside the unit to sense occupancy in the vicinity of the thermostat. This sensor informs the thermostat whether or not the home is occupied. In the case that the home is not occupied, the thermostat can suspend heating/cooling until the sensor is reactivated by an occupant. This sensor is also used to determine the occupancy patterns to create the auto schedule. A grille member is placed in front of the sensor to visually conceal and protect the PIR motion sensor inside the thermostat. The grille also helps to make the thermostat visually pleasing. While this sensor technology is important for conserving energy, it is not without flaws. One of the major issues is that the sensor must be activated by someone walking in front of or near the thermostat. It is possible that an occupant could be at home and not pass in front of the sensor. In this case, the thermostat would shut off the heating/cooling and decrease human comfort.

Internet Connection

Another major feature of smart thermostats is their ability to connect to the internet. Smart thermostats are designed with a WiFi module that allows the thermostat to connect to the users home or office network and interface with a web portal or smartphone application, allowing users to control the unit remotely. The WiFi feature also has the ability to send reports on energy usage and HVAC system performance via the web portal, informing the user on their energy efficiency and how it compares to other smart thermostat users. It also alerts users when a problem arises with their HVAC system or when it is time for equipment maintenance. The thermostat also uses the WiFi connection to display current weather conditions and the weather forecast.

Another feature offered by some smart thermostats through the internet connection is geofencing. A geofence  is a perimeter boundary created around the location of a smartphone or other device, based on GPS signals. The benefit of having a smart thermostat with geofencing capabilities is that it uses a users smartphone location to determine whether the home is occupied. Instead of using a schedule or sensor to determine occupancy, the smart thermostat can rely on the location of the geofence to tell the HVAC system whether it needs to be on or off. Since most people carry their phones with them, geofencing can be an accurate way to determine occupancy patterns.

Learning thermostats                                                                                                                    

         The Ecobee 4 thermostat

Some smart thermostats, such as the Nest thermostat, can learn when the house is likely to be occupied, and when it is likely to be empty. This allows automatic pre-heating or pre-cooling so the temperature is comfortable when a resident arrives. If the residents or lifestyles change, these smart thermostats will gradually adjust the schedule, maintaining energy savings and comfort.

Motion detectors can determine if someone is home. One smart thermostat that uses motion detectors is the Ecobee 4.

A wireless Network can be used to sense when someone is out of range, thus determining if they’re in or nearby their home. This technique called  geofencing is used by the Honeywell T6 Smart Thermostat.

Connected thermostats

A Connected thermostat is one that can be controlled through an internet connection, but will not provide analytic information. In recent years WI-FI thermostats have risen in popularity, they combine the technology of thermometers and WI-FI. So now you can have a thermometer in your home that is displayed on your phone that uses WiFi technology. This technology is being developed right now so it will be available for thermostats in machinery and cars. Google are involved in this push towards technology since they acquired a Wi-Fi temperature company called Nest. The market of smart thermostats is expected to reach around 3.5 Billion USD by the end of the year 2022.

Zoned systems

Rather than controlling the temperature of the whole house, zoned systems can control individual rooms. This can increase energy savings, for example by heating or cooling only a Home-office and not the bedrooms and other areas that are empty during the day.

Learning zoned systems

The most advanced smart thermostats combine both: they are able to learn when each room of a house is normally occupied and automatically schedule the heating for that room appropriately. Currently, the only such system available for home use is Heat Genius.

Studies

Internal Studies

To show that their thermostats save energy and money, numerous smart thermostat producers have conducted models and studies to confirm their savings claims. One popular way that smart thermostat producers calculate energy usage is through energy modeling. In these models, the smart thermostat is compared to a thermostat set at a constant temperature, and savings are calculated. Using this method, ecobee calculated energy savings by correlating how long heating and cooling equipment run to local weather conditions. Energy savings were calculated relative to a constant temperature of 72 °F. Upon conducting this model, ecobee determined a 23% savings on heating and cooling costs for those who switch to their smart thermostat. Using a similar modeling method, Nest claimed a 20% energy savings for homeowners who install a Nest Learning Thermostat.

To determine energy savings using actual data instead of energy models, in February 2015, Nest conducted a national study of Nest customers in 41 states who had enrolled in Nest’s MyEnergy service. In May 2013, Nest acquired MyEnergy, a company that tracks and analyzes utility usage of people enrolled in the program. Upon acquiring MyEnergy, Nest was able to use the historical data to determine the energy savings of those who installed the Nest Learning Thermostat. This study looked at energy usage before and after the installation of a Nest Learning Thermostat and used a weather normalization procedure to prevent unusually cold or warm weather from skewing the data. The study had a sample size of 735 homes for gas usage analysis and 624 homes for electrical analysis. All of these homes were enrolled in the MyEnergy program and had sufficient energy data before and after the installation of a Nest Learning Thermostat. After observing the energy usage for one year, Nest determined that there was an average gas savings of 10% and a cooling savings of 17.5%. The savings varied from house to house depending on how occupants set their thermostat before the installation of a Nest thermostat, along with differences in occupancy patterns, house characteristics, and weather.

Gas and Electric Savings Results
Fuel Sample    Size Pre-Nest Total    Energy Use Pre-Nest HVAC Total Energy   Savings % of HVAC
Natural Gas (therms/yr) 735 774 584 56 ±12 9.6 ±2.1%
Electricity (kWh/yr) 624 12,355 3,351 585 ±97 17.5 ±2.9%

While the results from the MyEnergy study are significantly lower than those from energy modeling, both show a savings in energy usage by switching to a smart thermostat.

What is a Surge Protector?

The surge protector definition is an electrical device that protects the computer system as well as various electronic devices from sudden voltages within electrical power otherwise transient voltage that supply from the power supply. In Canada, the limit of standard voltage used for home, office, or buildings is 120 volts.

If the voltage is increased over this amount then it is considered as transient voltage. This voltage can harm all the electronic devices which are plugged into a channel. Although surges are so short, they are calculated in nanoseconds. These can cause huge harm to electronic devices.

 

Surge protector

Fortunately, a surge protector protects electronic devices from voltage surges. Even though, these devices always do not guard against the voltage surge because of lightning. They definitely guard the devices from the voltage surges which can be caused due to many reasons.

How Does Surge Protector Work?

A surge protector working principle is by directing the additional voltage into the grounding wire of outlets, avoiding it against supplying through the devices while at the equal time permitting the usual voltage for maintaining along its lane. The surges can harm the computer system through blazing its wires otherwise slowly over time wearing down the interior components of the equipment and also destroy any saved data. These protectors are also used for protecting cable as well as telephone lines because these also hold electric current.

These protectors are normally shields apparatus from lower voltage surges. These types of surges occur often in current electrical wiring. For instance, electronic devices like air conditioners & refrigerators require using more energy to control motors, as well as compressors, forming surges within the power, which can disturb the stable flow of voltage.

Power surges can cause by defective wiring, faulty devices, and down power lines at the power source that can cause power surges too. Alternate names of surge protectors are surge suppressors, power strips & transient suppressors.

Surge Protector Types

Surge protectors are classified into four types which include the following.

  • Service Entrance Type
  • Branch Surge Panels
  • Service Entrance Type
  • Surge Protection Modules

 

  1. Service Entrance Type

This kind of surge protector installation is in the entrance of Meter base.

  1. Branch Surge Panels

  This kind of surge protectors is arranged on the load side to the       entrance of the main service to guard the entrance of electrical service from motor-driven searches, lightning energy & other inside produced surges. The main intention of this protector is to defend responsive electronics as well as different loads based on microprocessors through transient voltage limiting. These surge panels are used in different applications like commercial, residual and industrial.

  1. Power Strips

These are secondary surge protectors. A power strip is used to plug into any electrical channel. These strips are available with numerous channels so that several electrical devices can connect into. If there is an electrical surge occurs then the power strip will cut the power. This is the most useful feature to protect the devices from damage.

  1. Surge Protection Modules.

This kind of protector provides a different type of summit to view the protection of surge than the power strips provide. These protectors offer defense for industrial applications like PLCs automation of factory, motors drives which are obtainable in both configurations like DIN mounted and standard wall. These protectors also give wired within the protection of surge for devices used in commercial and industrial equipment cabinets. There are several types of surge protectors available in the market that can guard a few devices in a home as well as commercial services in the whole electrical system.

 

Surge Protector Advantages & Disadvantages

 

 


                          

The advantages of surge protectors include the following.

  • These devices guards’ electrical equipment from voltage spikes
  • It controls the voltage in your electrical equipment to keep the equipment at a safe level
  • These are affordable
  • Maintenance costs will be reduced
  • Repair costs and replacement will be reduced

The disadvantages of surge protectors include the following.

  • The surge protector for owl home is expensive
  • The cost of installation for owl home is also costly
  • Its usage is limited and strip surge protectors shouldn’t be utilized through with hard-wired machines such as a stove otherwise a dishwasher.

Surge Protector Applications / Uses

Surge protectors are used to guarding electronic equipment against surges. The equipment which is at risk includes the following.

  • Speakers
  • TV receiver
  • Computer systems
  • LCDs and Plasma TVs
  • Router
  • Phone System
  • Game consoles

Thus, this is all about the Surge protector. From the above information finally, we can conclude that by using these protectors, electronic appliances used in homes like refrigerators, laundry units, dishwashers will also be sheltered from harm. It provides expediency by opening up additional obtainable outlets to you; however, they can also conserve your money when you control the multiple devices by a flick of the knob only. Here is a question for you, what is the function of a surge protector?

Is a circuit breaker a surge protector?

 

While circuit breakers protect wires from starting a fire due from too many amps (amount of electrical current), surge protectors protect your appliances from power surges, which is a brief spike in voltage (electrical power or force.

Our team in Redox Electric in Richmond will help you with professional electricians that can be in your by calling with  604 476 5611   or   604 910 9691.

 

 

Smoke detectors beeping:

One customer from surrey called Redox electric company and complaining that all smoke detectors beeping and the owner wanted one electrician to check them. After checking, I noticed that they had recently changed one Smoke detector and the sound was because of that. The new smoke detector was not known to others because in a building according to the electrical code all smoke detectors wiring are connected together. (more…)

One customer from Coquitlam city called Redox Electric office and he wanted one electrician check the 4 lamp florescent which is flickering and installed on the ceiling in the kitchen. As the owner said they changed the bulbs in the fixture still the problem is there. (more…)

Now that winter is around the corner and the temperature is already dropping and the heating bills will start to increase. Here are a few ways you can keep down your expenses this season.

  • Lower the thermostat at night

Wrap yourself up in bed and turn down the thermostat by 10 degrees. If you are not moving around the house don’t use energy for the area that you don’t need.

(more…)

GFCI outlet for ground fault circuit interrupter

Since 1980, GFCI building code requirements that previously only used on construction site have expanded.  GFCIs are not required in many different rooms of your home especially those with moisture such as washroom, kitchen, pool area, etc. The GFCI cover the input and output levels being passed through an outlet.  If there is a slight difference in the current being transferred from the hot outlet to the neutral outlet then the device will quickly cut off the power supply to prevent damage or injury. A GFCI can detect changes in the current supply as minor as if you Milliamps.  GFCIs are simply advancement in technology that could potentially save lives or prevent injury to your family. (more…)

Having a hot tub spa at home is a wonderful amenity. But before you have the ability to sit back and relax, there can be a lot of headache. Proper preparation is required before you position the hot tub and plug it in. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your hot tub or spa installation.

Coquitlam offers a full range of services in the northeast part of the Metro Vancouver and is counted as a city center. Coquitlam with a population of 144,851.6 and area of 152.5 square kilometers is the sixth-largest city in the province. There is a high demand for using Hot Tub and Spa in hotels, inns, pools, and high raises building or houses in Coquitlam.

Location selection & setup

You probably have an idea of where you would like to place your hot tub. If you are planning to build a place for it outdoors, ensure that you have:

  • A firm level surface
  • Sufficient foundation material
  • An appropriate walkway

Keep in mind the warranty of your hot tub. Some bases can void the warranty and the material of surrounding walkway. For an indoor spa, ensure that the room you have chosen is suitable for the condition. You will require a strong foundation as well as suitable ventilation for the steam and moisture.

Municipal building code

Before a deck, support structure, or upgrade to a room in your home, check with your municipality that you are able to complete the improvements. You may require permits and there may be codes that your new structure must meet in addition to the manufactures, warranty. Building illegally can cost you more in the long run.

Electrical requirement

This is where a certified electricians important. Most hot tubs require approximately, 240 volt. A Hot tub does not plug directly into a standard outlet like other appliances; you will be required to add an additional circuit breaker into your main service panel. This can be a complex job and should be done correctly to keep your Family and home safe. In proper electrical wiring can cause electrical surge and fires.

Redox Electric professional electrician can install Hot tub and Span in a location like made rise as well as customer wants.

When upgrading florescent lighting, don’t forget the ballast:

We have lots of customer for fluorescent light repair here at Redox Electric. But before calling, always remember that if your fluorescent light fixture is burnt out or flickering, first change the bulbs to see if this corrects the problem and also save yourself some money. If you are not comfortable changing the bulbs due to location or any other safety concern, we would be very happy to help you. Fluorescent fixture still does not light up after changing the bulbs then the problem is most likely faulty ballast, or less commonly a possible wiring issue.

Fluorescent fixtures

Fluorescent light is the product of two components: the lamp and the ballast, the role of the ballast is to boost voltage for short duration. The ballast will then maintain a constant applied limited current to property operate the lamp. You must use the proper ballast for each type of fluorescent bulb. Bulb types are T12, T8, and T5.

Ballast upgrades

The ballast technology has improved a lot in the last 15 years. If you are not upgrading your ballast you won’t see the potential energy saving that efficient fluorescent lighting can provide. The new electronic ballasts operate differently from older electro-magnetic ballasts.

More control

Electronic ballasts can be manufactured to under drive or over drive. The lamps they support, producing more or less light. This allows you to adjust which need less light. The lighting pattern can now be changed due to work patterns and specific lighting requirements.

Dimmer switches

Dimming is also with electronic ballast. Present your dimmer and it can cut your light by 50% and this will save you money as well.

Less Heating

Electronic solid- state ballast produces less heat than electromagnetic. Type ballast what this means is if you are operating cooling equipment, such as food coolers or air conditioning during summer the electronic ballasts will help you save on cooling costs.

 

Importance of Smoke Detectors

Alarm or smoke detectors are installed in houses to provide early warning of a fire. Note that smoke detectors can only save lives when they are properly installed, tested and maintained. The most important subject is that all the smoke detectors must be connected together in house area because if some problems appear in the home area all smoke detectors will start beeping. The smoke detectors working age usually is 10 years so recommending that   replace them with new ones.

Area of Smoke Detectors Installation

According to electrical codes in each level of house must have smoke Alarms and by the new code in each sleeping room must be installed one smoke detector as well as outside sleeping rooms such as living room and hallway to have sufficient time to run away from the fire.

Regular Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Smoke Detector

Regular smoke detector can be installed everywhere except the area which installed furnace already. Carbon monoxide smoke detector must be installed in basement and main floor. Installing at least one carbon monoxide smoke detector in hallway is essential also.

Battery Backup in Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors usually have battery back-up for no power in the house so smoke detector always will be activated. Replace the backup battery of hard-wired smoke or carbon monoxide (CO) alarm at least once per year so that smoke detectors can operate without electricity at home during power outages.

 

There are many reasons that electrical fires can start in the home. One of the best protections ways to reduces electrical fire threats is AFCI (arc-fault). AFCI detects any dangerous electric arc in its related circuit and breaks it. AFCI is very sensitive and is not comparable with the traditional circuit breaker.

Dangers of Aluminum Wiring

Few years ago because copper was very expensive in compared with other materials like Aluminum, the common wiring for home constructions were Aluminum. But the problem is that Aluminum was very soft and electricians were not able to tight that wire with screw. Therefore, power transferring would make heat and sparking on the screw connection and is not safe for preferring of fire.

By new code there is one method for preferring of Aluminum connection to the Electrical parts. The name of the method is (pig tailing) after that method connection to electrical part will be copper instead of Aluminum.

From the very first tool that was invented in Stone Age; humans have developed and used wide variety of tools for every task. From simple screw drivers to complex cutting edge tools used in space missions. Electricians are not exception and there are many tools they need in their everyday tasks to provide them with efficiency, accuracy, comfort and safety in order to keep homes and offices wired and industries and institutions running. (more…)

”Redox