Control Vacation Home Temperature by Phone

With all the stress you deal with during the work week, there’s nothing like spending weekends and vacations at that relaxing vacation home by the beach or the cozy family-owned cabin near the lake. The only problem is, depending on the time of year, usually the place is freezing or roasting when you first arrive. Sure, you can crank up the heat or air conditioner, but even that will take a couple of hours to really take effect.

The Solution

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. With an X10-controlled thermostat and an X10 telephone responder, you can adjust your vacation home’s temperature with a phone call, ensuring that the temperature is set to your liking even before you walk in the door. This solution will allow you to do things like:
* Use any phone to set the temperature anywhere between 60° and 90°F — hours before you arrive
* Use any phone to set a low temperature setting of 40°F in case you forgot to do it before you left
* Use any phone to switch between heat mode, cool mode or auto mode

Of course, even though you can control the thermostat over the phone, you’ll still have direct, on-command control of the thermostat while you’re at the vacation home.

The Shopping List

For basic remote thermostat operation, we recommend the X10-Compatible HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) System. It responds to X10 signals, which are transmitted along the power lines that are already installed in the vacation home, so no complicated wiring is required.

You’ll also need an X10 Telephone Responder. This device acts as the “translator” between the touchtone buttons of a phone and the X10-Compatible HVAC system.

So, your order should look like this:

X10-Compatible HVAC System (#3045)

X10 Telephone Responder (#5000)

If at a later date you plan on adding an intelligent controller for full-scale remote property monitoring, we recommend substituting the X10-Compatible HVAC System with the Bi-Directional X10-Compatible HVAC System. This version works much like the system described above, but adds the ability to send reports via X10 signals.

The Set-Up

The X10-Compatible HVAC System consists of three basic parts: a Wall-Mounted Thermostat, a Control Unit that connects to the home’s existing HVAC system and a Powerline Interface Module and cable.

First, using the instructions in the owner’s manual, replace the existing thermostat connected to the HVAC system with the Control Unit. Once it’s connected, plug it into an AC power outlet using the included Powerline Interface Module and cable.

At this point, you’ll want to choose an X10 “house code,” which are represented by the letters A-P (16 total). We recommend using anything other than “A”, which the default setting and the one your neighbors are most likely to use if they get a similar system, which may result in phantom signals. The house code is set by adjusting four dip switches according to the instruction manual.

Next, using the steps in the instruction manual, replace the home’s main wall thermostat with the new X10-compatible model.

Finally, you’ll want to connect the Telephone Responder to a phone jack and a nearby AC outlet. Using a small screwdriver, set the Telephone Responder “house code” to the same letter that you set the Control Unit. This ensures that the two devices will communicate with each other. You’ll also want to set up a 3-digit security code of your choice so that only people with the code will be allowed to adjust the thermostat.

Once it’s set up, you’re ready to put the system into use. So if you want to set the thermostat to 72° a few hours before you arrive, simply dial the vacation home from any touchtone phone, enter the 3-digit security code and enter the touchtone code that corresponds to setting the temperature to 72° (Click Here to see the code chart). The thermostat will then set the house temperature to 72°, ensuring the place will be comfy by the time you arrive.

Reprinted with permission from Smarthome.COM