A thermostat is nothing more than an on/off switch, activated automatically based on temperature settings, for a heating and/or cooling zone. Nevertheless, thermostats have evolved significantly over the years, including two relatively recent advances: programmability and internet connectivity. Honeywell’s new Lyric thermostat makes the most out of these features, offering users an efficient, smart thermostat.
The Lyric resembles the Nest thermostat and shares many of its features. Both the Lyric and the Nest allow remote access via the internet and smart phones while giving users the ability to view detailed energy reports. The big difference between the thermostats lies in their respective methods of efficiency maximization. Out of the box, the Nest operates like a standard, non-programmable thermostat. Occupants change the temperature as they normally would, and within a week the thermostat learns their habits and creates a customized program schedule.
Lyric thermostats rely on “Geofencing,” a non-battery draining feature of Android and Apple iOS smart phones. The geofence represents a selectable radius of either 500 feet or 7 miles (depending on your lifestyle) around the thermostat. During heating season (for example), the thermostat will reduce its setpoint temperature (“away mode”) when your smart phone moves outside your geofence and increase it (“present mode”) when it moves back inside the geofence. Multiple occupants of the same building can have their own geofences, and mode changes will always be based on the last person to leave and the first person to return. The Lyric targets tech-savvy people. You must own a smart phone and always have it with you to take full advantage of geofencing. Installation requires a smart phone along with an app geared toward do-it-yourselfers.
The Lyric’s Fine Tune feature ensures that ambient air temperatures feel as occupants would expect them to, using online weather data to access current conditions (including outdoor temperature and humidity levels) in order to incorporate them into system operation. Weather forecasts can conveniently be viewed on the thermostat at any time. Easy Comfort shortcuts allow homeowners to create custom temporary settings to override program schedules. Possible shortcuts include settings to be used during a workout in a home gym or during a large gathering in a particular part of a house. Another feature, Smart Cues, can be used to alert users to maintenance recommendations or link them to local professionals.
Additional features/benefits offered by the Lyric include multi-stage compatibility, IAQ terminals for devices such as humidifiers and ventilators, and the ability to operate without a common wire. The thermostat features a lighted ring that turns orange in heating mode, blue in cooling mode, and green in energy-saving mode. Its circular design was inspired by Honeywell’s famous “Round” thermostat that was first introduced nearly 70 years ago.