Basic Thermostat Control

Thermostats generally share some common functions:

  1. Heat Setpoint - the temperature at which the heating function of the HVAC system turns on.
  2. Cool Setpoint - the temperature at which the cooling function of the HVAC system turns on.
  3. Mode - usually one of: Off, Cool, Heat, Auto
  4. Fan Mode - usually either Always On or Auto On

Newer thermostats often also have a program mode - they can store programming so that they can automatically change settings depending on time of day, day of week, etc. For basic operations, we'll assume that Indigo will be performing this function.

Scenario #1

Tom has 1 thermostat, and he wants to have temps set multiple times during the day: Morning, Day, Evening, Night. Each of these will be a separate Time/Date Action. For this scenario, we assume that you've already defined your thermostat in Indigo. The How-to level of difficulty is Simple. Here's how he'd create them:

  1. Make sure TIME/DATE ACTIONS (or one of it's subfolders) is selected in the outline view on the left side of the main window
  2. Click on the New… button above the t/d action list
  3. Give this t/d action a name: he's gonna use “Morning House Adjustment”
  4. Set the Time: at which this t/d action will fire: Tom sets this to 6:30am because that's about 30 minutes before he gets up in the morning.
  5. Set the Date: for which this t/d action will fire: for this scenario, Tom wants it to go off every day, so he selects “Every 1 days”
  6. So, Tom's now defined when this action is going to fire. For this example, we'll skip the Condition tab, so click on the Actions tab
  7. On the Type: popup control, select Control Thermostat
  8. On the Action: popup control, select Set Heat Setpoint
  9. On the Device: popup control, select the name of your thermostat
  10. In the To: text field, type your desired Heat Setpoint: Tom likes it warm in the morning, so he sets it to 74
  11. OK, so, now we've set the Heat setpoint - but what if its summer? We also need to set the cool setpoint. We should also make sure the mode is set to “auto” so that it'll do the right thing regardless of the previous setting. Click the Add New button on the lower-left side of the screen. This will create another action for this t/d action to execute (when you do, you'll notice the text action 2 of 2 in the middle at the bottom of the window - this let's you know that you have 2 actions for this t/d action)
  12. On the Type: popup control, select Control Thermostat
  13. On the Action: popup control, select Set Cool Setpoint
  14. On the Device: popup control, select the name of your thermostat
  15. In the To: text field, type your desired Heat Setpoint: Tom likes it warm in the morning, so he sets it to 76
  16. Now, we have both set points set correctly, now we want to make sure that the mode is set to “Auto”, so if someone turns the unit off, it will still follow the schedule. Again, Click the Add New button.
  17. On the Type: popup control, select Control Thermostat
  18. On the Action: popup control, select Set Mode
  19. On the Device: popup control, select the name of your thermostat
  20. On the Mode: popup control, select Auto Heat/Cool
  21. Click the OK button to save the changes


OK, so now at 6:30am, the thermostat will change it's settings to adjust the house temperature so that it's between 74 and 76 degrees fahrenheit. Tom likes a pretty specific range of temps in the morning. However, during the day, when nobody is home, he wants to save energy, so the settings for Day are much more liberal. Repeat the steps above with the following differences:

  1. Set the name of the t/d action to “Day House Adjustment”
  2. Set the time of the t/d action to 9:00am since everyone is gone to work and school by that time every date in Tom's house
  3. Set the heat setpoint to 65
  4. Set the cool setpoint to 80


Now, at 9:00am, the thermostat will change it's settings to adjust the house temperature so that it's between 65 and 80. This should save some money in the long run. Now, he wants to make sure the house is at a livable temperature when everyone starts coming home for the evening. Repeat the steps above with the following differences:

  1. Set the name of the t/d action to “Evening House Adjustment”
  2. Set the time of the t/d action to 4:30pm - the first person usually arrives home around 5:00 every day at Tom's house
  3. Set the heat setpoint to 72
  4. Set the cool setpoint to 76


The house will be nice and ready for everyone to come home and enjoy the evening. Finally, he wants to save some money at night - but, nobody in his family likes to sleep in a hot house. Repeat the steps above with the following differences:

  1. Set the name of the t/d action to “Night House Adjustment”
  2. Set the time of the t/d action to 11:30pm - Tom's family is usually in bed by this time
  3. Set the heat setpoint to 68
  4. Set the cool setpoint to 76


That's it. By using t/d actions, Tom now has a house that smartly adjusts temperatures for various parts of the day, which will save money in the long run. But, you know, there is one thing that's a bit of a problem for Tom: he wants the daytime temperature to be set differently if it's a weekend day (Saturday or Sunday).

Scenario #1a

So, Tom has all of the t/d actions created in scenario 1, but he wants different behavior during the day if it's Saturday or Sunday. There are several ways of doing this: have 2 different Day t/d actions, use AppleScript as the action, etc. To keep this as simple as we can, we'll go with the former. What we'll do is to alter the current “Day House Adjustment” to only work on weekdays, and create a new one that works only on weekend days. The How-to level of difficulty is Simple.

  1. Open the edit dialog for the t/d action named “Day House Adjustment” by double-clicking it in the t/d action list or by selecting it and clicking the Edit… button.
  2. Change the name to “Weekday House Adjustment”
  3. Click the radio button beside Days of week in the Date: section
  4. By default, all days will be selected (all will be dark). Click on Su and Sa to unselect them
  5. Click the OK button to save the changes


Now, this t/d action will only execute on weekdays. Next, let's create one that will execute on weekend days.

  1. Select the t/d action you just edited, “Weekday House Adjustment”, in the t/d action list, and click the Duplicate button
  2. A new t/d action will appear titled “Weekday House Adjustment copy”. Double-click this t/d action to open the edit dialog
  3. Change the name to “Weekend Day House Adjustment”
  4. In the Date: section, unselect all the currently selected days and select Su and Sa.
  5. Switch to the Action tab and change the heat setpoint to 70 and the cool setpoint to 78 - to do this, click on the Actions tab - you'll see a list of the actions, just double click on the “set heat setpoint” line to change that; when you've changed the temperature value, click on the Show All button to see the list again


Great! Now, Tom's family will be more comfortable when they're home on the weekends.

As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility in Indigo to control your environment. Earlier, we named the t/d actions “XXX House Adjustment”. This was intentional, because we might want to do something else when the day transitions are made. This How-To discusses using variable change triggers to do some interesting things.

thermostat.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/25 22:53 (external edit)
 

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