Sunday, December 1, 2013

Honeywell Prestige 2.0 Review

The Honeywell Prestige 2.0 is the high and mighty of remote controlled (web and phone app) thermostats currently on the market.  The most costly of all the competitors, it performs like all the others, but has the added nicety of easy and intuitive thermostat menu.  The main reason I like these thermostats is not for their easy of setup, the difficulty is high, and definitely not for the average do-it-yourselfer, but for the streamlined approach to the touchscreen and navigational menus of the touchscreen itself.

Most high end thermostats, excepting the NEST, now have the ability to send alarms via the internet to pre-assigned users, be it the home-owner, or contractor that can alert them of a preset condition.  This is crucial in cold-weather climates, and 2nd homes where an error in a heating system can cause $50,000 dollars. A small price to pay for peace of mind.  The robust ability to send custom alerts with pre-defined set of auxiliary contacts gives the knowledgable contractor even more options that can alert the homeowner.  I have setup a low temp alert from a crawlspace thermostat, an alert from the boiler indicating a problem, an alert from a water detection system when a leak from a water heater, or a washing machine is present, the possibilities are endless.

The brain of the Prestige system is the EIM controller, or equipment interface module.  The complexity of the EIM can seem daunting at first, but this allows integration with various systems.  I have used the Prestige and EIM in heating/cooling applications with a furnaces with or without A/C, and boilers, with Redlink Enabled accessories (remote temperature monitoring), humidifiers, and many more options.  All of the robustness comes from the plethora of relays present with the EIM and the Prestige installation menu, which allows for control of the 3 extra dry contracts (usually used with custom alarms), and the 3 sets of normally-closed contacts for auxiliaries.  The other major benefits of the EIM, is it frees the thermostat from multiple wires, requiring only 2 wires at the thermostat side for proper operation.  This is very handy in retrofit applications, as the EIM is installed in a remote location, like the mechanical room, where wiring is easily changed, unlike pulling new wires through the wall.

Once configured properly, the difficult task of connecting the thermostat to the internet takes place through the installation of the Redlink gateway and account setup @  This rather unglamorous web-portal gives access to account creation, or login.  The login creation itself is not difficult, however, if the homeowner is not present, can possibly cause a return visit when the email confirmation halts the process of registering the gateway.  If all goes well, and the system is relatively simple, with the homeowner present, the above can be accomplished in a very reasonable 2-3 hrs.

The drawbacks of the Prestige system, compared to say the Nest thermostat, is the phone app interface. Very boring and not a whole lot of information is available to the fingertips, relying on most system changes (outside of temperatures) needing to be done on the thermostat itself.  That said, the honeywell system does a very good job of keeping you informed when a troubled system manifests itself, and like the competition gives you remote control and monitoring of the house while you are away.  Well worth the investment and peace of mind.

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