Smart thermostat suggestions

A couple years ago MidAmerican energy sent me a free Powerley smart(ish) thermostat, gateway (z-wave, I think), and wireless meter adapter as part of some pilot program. Apparently the customer data they acquired by hosting the cloud platform for it wasn’t worthwhile, because they’ve now canceled the whole project and shut down the cloud service/app that controlled it. They’ve generously said I could keep the whole kit, but it’s basically be a dumb thermostat since it has a very minimal interface, all programming was done through the app.

Where should I go from here? I’ve asked Powerley if there’s another app I can use to interface with the gateway/thermostat even if it’s just locally, but I haven’t heard anything from them in the last couple months and that seems like a long shot anyway. I’d prefer to run a local service so I’m not subject to subscription fees, privacy issues, and the cloud provider just shutting down. My wife and kids like using Alexa and the Google personal assistant, so compatibility with them would be nice, but not needed. The Powerly system didn’t integrate with Google or Alexa. Our heat is currently a standard propane forced air furnace, which is functionally pretty simple, but I’d like to add a heat pump to the system and make it dual fuel. In a perfect world I’d be able to program current fuel costs into the thermostat so that it could choose to heat with the cheapest fuel.

The Hubitat gateway says that it’s compatible with the Powerley thermostat. I like that it’s not cloud based, but $130 seems like a lot for what looks like a box with an RPi in it. Does anybody have any experience with Hubitat good or bad?

I could buy another smartish thermostat like a CT1000, but that wouldn’t really get me anywhere, I’d still need some server like OpenHAB to control it, and I don’t have a machine I want to leave running in the house 24/7.

I’m leaning towards something like HestiaPi as I can buy the kit and RPi for about $90, print my own case, use a memory card I’ve already got, and use it as the central, always on server for future smart house devices. My house doesn’t have a C wire even though it’s only about 13 years old, so I may need to run off an adapter or something. Any experiences, good or bad, with Hestia?

I have an ecobee thing and honestly - a dumb thermostat would probably work just as fine for what we do.

I have no real complaints about it save that it emails me each time it loses connection to the little remote sensors.

But our house is old enough that we basically have heat on “til it is hot” and don’t really ever have the house empty (work from home). So we basically use this advanced thermostat as a “make hotter” button so we don’t have to get up.

A C wire is just a low voltage AC circuit so it’s relatively easy to rewire or even adapt.

Or you can mount the thermostat near or on the furnace and have it use a wireless remote temperature sensor.

A small Pi as a house SmartHub works well. I have one running

In general the Nest works well if it fits within your system and house needs. Though it doesn’t surprise me to see people roll their own here. If you want special custom program control for dynamic fuel switching based on rate schedules, it is probably not what you want. Nests really aim to just do a more efficient job than everyone’s dumb thermostat while still keeping it simple and presenting as such. It does that very well. (and obviously has Assistant integration)

The HestiaPi does seem appealing. For the same reason OpenSprinkler devices appeal for watering control. But on all of these hacker friendly pieces… I don’t expect longevity.

Have you seen this: Powerley ZWave thermostat - cannot set the target temperature - #4 by sergvanros - Z-Wave - Home Assistant Community

People seem to have managed to get those working again using HomeAssistant (HA aka as mentioned above). Looks like with a bit of tweaking you can reset it use it with Zwave and home assistant.

If you want to do complex heating systems there is a good chance you could link what ever heatpump you get into HA as well and then write your own rules in either yaml, node-red or python (using appdaemon pugin) to control everything locally through HA.

Yeah I roll with just a nest. Pretty much ‘just works’. Only thing I would add would be the ability to tell it ‘windows are open, chill out dude’.

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That might be doable with some of the more automation platforms - add a window sensor or two with a “when open turn thermostat to fan only”.

I’ve been thinking about that for my vent fans.

If the bathroom window opens in the evening, turn the fans on. When incoming temperature exceeds outgoing temperature, turn the fans off and whine until someone closes the window. If the window is closed, turn the fans off.

Something also to be aware of, not sure about thermostats, but most Zigbee or other smart home temp/humidity/pressure sensors tend to have a minimum change before reporting, or maximum time before reporting. E.g. >0.5C change and it’ll report an update, or 1 hour has elapsed. It won’t report smaller changes. So if it goes from 10 to 10.4C, back down to 9.6C, and back up to 10C all within 1 hour since the last reading report, it won’t report any of that.

Not sure about smart thermostats, the kind that actually controls heating/cooling, since I don’t actually have any real heating/cooling in my apartment. Whenever I get a house, I’ll definitely be doing some real investigation.

Is that for wired ones, or just wireless? It makes sense for wireless on battery, sensor reads are cheap power-wise, transmit is expensive.

Yeah, the ones I got are cheap ZigBee wireless, CR2032 powered.

Thanks, I forgot about HA and I think that’ll be a good fit.