When you want to save money on your heating and cooling costs without getting super fancy, you're going to want a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats let you set schedules for your heating and cooling so that your house or building is comfortable, but not running when there's nobody home. For this, the Honeywell T6 Pro is one of the best options for you.
The Honeywell T6 pro is a small and unobtrusive thermostat that looks professional without looking gaudy. It measures 4-1/16 in. long x 4-1/16 in. wide x 1-3/32 in. deep (103.6 mm long x 103.6 mm wide x 28 mm deep), and weighs only 12 ounces. The thermostat is ENERGY STAR certified as well.
The large 6.89 square inch touchscreen on this thermostat is responsive, easy to use, and easy to read. You can program the smart thermostat either from the unit or by using the Honeywell Lyric app. This thermostat is Wi-Fi connected, so it could be considered an almost smart thermostat, but it lacks the learning capability and algorithms that make a programmable thermostat truly smart.
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Honeywell T6 Pro
You can integrate this thermostat into a smart home hub like Apple HomeKit, however, which means that it can become part of a smart home suite. For a more simple integration, the Honeywell T6 Pro is compatible with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.
This thermostat is compatible with most modern HVAC systems. It can control up to a 2-stage heat/1-stage cool heat pump and a conventional 2-stage heat/2-stage cool unit. It is also compatible with 24 Vac systems, gas, oil, electric warm air, and hot water coils. It also works with gas, oil, or electric powered hydronic systems and steam/gravity units. It is not compatible with electric baseboard heat or millivolt (mV) systems.
This programmable thermostat offers 5-2 programming as well as full seven day and 5-1-1 programs. It also offers weekly programs or the ability to turn the program completely off. You can control the device with the schedule, or for people without a set schedule, this thermostat supports geofencing technology.
How a Programmable Thermostat Works
Programmable thermostats can save you up to 23% in your heating and cooling energy use and costs. They do this by optimizing when your system runs based on your inputs. In general, most programmable thermostats have one of two types of programs. One that works seven days a week, and one that works on a 5-2 schedule where you have five weekdays and two weekends. During each day, there are events that are set, where the thermostat changes to a different setting.
For example, for a business, you would want to use the seven-day program. You would set events to occur an hour before you opened, and an hour after you closed. That way, during the day when your store is open, you set the thermostat to a comfortable 76 degrees Fahrenheit. When the store is closed, you set the thermostat to 80 degrees in the summer or 60 degrees in the winter. That way, your HVAC system isn’t running when employees or customers aren’t in the store.
For homeowners, you can use the 5-2 program, so you can account for weekends and create events based off of those. Common events are waking up, leaving for work, coming home, and going to bed. By taking advantage of the changes that programs afford you, you can make sure that your heating and cooling costs are stable and end up saving yourself a lot of money.
If you don’t have a set schedule, and you’re always coming in and leaving at odd times, then models that support geofencing can still help you save a lot of money on your heating and cooling costs.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a technology that uses the location tracking ability on your smartphone. Through GPS and Wi-Fi, the thermostat’s application tracks your location. You set up a set distance from your thermostat where you are considered to be away from your home and that is a virtual boundary. Inside the boundary, you are home. Outside the boundary, you are away.
When you are inside the boundary, your thermostat will attempt to bring the temperature of your home to whatever you decide. When you are away, the thermostat will allow the system to relax and warm or cool to whatever your away setting is. In this sense, you still get the benefits of a programmable thermostat without having to set a program for when you are leaving and when you are coming home.
For the Honeywell T6 pro programmable thermostat, setting your geofencing boundary is extremely easy. You can use the Honeywell Lyric app to customize your home and away temperatures. You can change the geofence radius easily by using the app and clicking and dragging the icon to adjust the radius. If you have more than one person in your home, you can set them up so they are detected by your thermostat. Then the system will keep the home comfortable until the last person leaves. It will then go into energy-saving mode until the first person comes home.
Geofencing is a great way to save money when you don’t have a set schedule or when you have multiple people in your household with random comings and goings. Everyone in your family does need to have a smartphone and their own Lyric app. Thankfully you don't have to share a login. Everyone has their own separate account that is linked to your thermostat, so it can track every member of the family and when they enter and leave the geofence boundary.
Keep in mind that the Lyric app doesn’t actually track your exact position. It only knows when you’ve crossed the geofence boundary. So if you’re worried about the app tracking where you are, don’t be, because it doesn’t.
Overriding a Schedule
Sometimes life doesn’t run according to a schedule, and your Honeywell T6 Pro thermostat knows that. You can make changes based on your needs by overriding the schedule. There are three types of holds that this thermostat allows. The first is “Hold Until”. This is a temporary hold where the thermostat will ignore the schedule and hold a set temperature for up to 12 hours. You can use this in case of an emergency where you need the extra heat to help deal with a water leak, for example.
The second type of hold is a Permanent Hold. This is a hold that has no end. You set this and then the thermostat keeps that temperature until you either reinitialize a schedule or you turn off the hold manually. You could use this if you’re in the middle of construction and there’s a cold snap. Setting this on a permanent hold can keep the buildings above freezing so you avoid burst water mains.
The last type of hold is called a vacation hold. This vacation hold can only be set on the app, not on the unit itself. But essentially, you can choose a start date and time and an ending date and time. During that time frame, you can minimize your energy usage. And of course, while you’re on vacation, you can check your thermostat and the temperature in your home and make changes from the Lyric app.
Pros and Cons of the Honeywell T6 Pro
There’s no doubt that this is a great programmable thermostat that does a lot without going overboard. Here are a few pros and cons to consider.
● Great flexibility for setting up programs. Not just the standard seven day or the 5-2. The inclusion of the 5-1-1 and the single-day options increase the flexibility of this unit.
● Large Touchscreen at 6.89 square inches
● Uses the Honeywell UWP Mounting System making it easy to upgrade or replace the thermostats at any time without having to reconnect the wiring.
● Small and discreet form factor with design-neutral aesthetics
● The ability to add additional indoor and outdoor sensors increases the potential cost savings
● Incompatible with multistage heat pumps above 2-stage and millivolt systems.
● Limited heating range means added expense for contractors during the building stage
● The Lyric app is not as intuitive or easy to use as other thermostat apps.
This is a great introductory model for a programmable thermostat with a lot of smart features but at a reasonable cost. With a Wi-Fi connection and the ability to integrate into an existing smart home ecosystem, the Honeywell T6 Pro can become a part of the overall plan to save you money on heating and cooling costs.
While this programmable thermostat is not compatible with some of the newer multi-stage heat pump systems, this should not be a deal-breaker for residential owners looking to upgrade their homes when they don't want or need the bells and whistles that a Nest brings. As well, contractors and building managers who are looking to upgrade their existing systems to bring costs under control will find a lot to love about this thermostat.