While HVAC manufacturers have continued to improve the efficiency, style and performance of heating and cooling equipment, thermostat technology has remained relatively stagnant until recently. The introduction of “smart” thermostats has revolutionized residential controls and provided consumers with new ways to lower utility costs and optimize HVAC system performance.

Learn About the Honeywell Lyric

The Honeywell Lyric is the latest entry in the smart thermostat space, and it includes a variety of unique features that make it an attractive alternative for energy conscious homeowners.

The design of the Lyric thermostat is based on the premise that energy saving functions must be intuitive and require minimal input from the user. In fact, this is the most frequent complaint relating to traditional programmable thermostats. Many consumers feel they are too complicated and time consuming, which is why 90 percent of installed programmable models are actually only used in the “temperature hold” mode.

The primary feature that sets the Lyric apart from competitive models is the inclusion of geofence capability. In essence, the thermostat uses positioning data to establish the homeowner’s location through a smartphone app. When the phone moves away from the house, the thermostat automatically lowers or raises the temperature setting to maximize energy savings. When the phone pierces an extended radio signal perimeter upon return, the thermostat is readjusted so that the indoor environment will be comfortable just before the homeowner arrives.

The Lyric is also exceptionally stylish and features a flat glass front panel that covers a digital display and a proximity sensor. A light halo flashes orange for heat, blue for AC and green for the away mode. The Fine Tune feature can be used to automatically adjust the thermostat’s settings based on air moisture content instead of only temperature. This is particularly useful in Sunbelt climates where high humidity can seriously impact comfort perception in the summer.

All functions are accessible through an iPhone or Android app and include:

* Reminders: Automatic reminders are generated for maintenance, filter changes and other important service events.

* Alerts: Alerts are sent directly to the homeowner’s phone to provide notification of irregularities in the indoor temperature or equipment function.

* Monitoring: The Lyric thermostat continually monitors the HVAC system to help avoid an unexpected disruption in service. If a problem does arise, a professional heating and cooling contractor can run a set of remote diagnostics to determine the cause of the malfunction.

Is a Smart Thermostat Right for Me?

The latest smart thermostats are targeted for tech savvy people who actively pursue new ways of enhancing energy efficiency. The cost effectiveness of the device is usually dependant on the living habits of the occupants and the expected length of home ownership.

While the adaptive intelligence of the Lyric is intriguing, many of the same efficiency features are available in traditional programmable thermostats when they are used properly. If the programs mirror the user’s actual living habits, the additional energy savings gained by installing the Honeywell Lyric will be minimal, especially since the devise costs around $280.

Installation can also be problematic in some instances. While Honeywell claims that most users can easily install the thermostat, complex systems with variable speed blowers and two-stage compressors may require the services of a licensed HVAC professional.

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The Nest Thermostat Vs. The Honeywell Lyric