I have a Centralite Pearl thermostat. It's probably the cheapest Zigbee thermostat made. I'm unsure what functions it actually supports internally. I have never bothered to learn anything about it or any of the thermostat apps because I figured I would just use rule machine to for what I want it to do. Am I missing something here? What purpose do built in functions or thermostat apps in Hubitat serve?
For the built in apps...
Thermostat Scheduler app is to set up schedules based on many different factors like day, time, presence, eco mode, etc.
Thermostat controller is mainly to control your thermostat based on the temperatures from other sensors in the room and more.
I use both and they are way easier to setup than anything you could do in Rule Machine.
Generally speaking, if you have enough time and skill, it’s possible to use rule machine to replicate the features of pretty much any other automation app that Hubitat offers.
To learn about the features of a device, I typically start with the manual.
Are you certain you want to trust your home's HVAC system to the "cheapest Zigbee thermnostat made"?
Amazon reviews only gives the Pearl WiFi thermostat a rating of 3.9 out of 5. I doubt the Zigbee version is any more reliable.
Do you have a backup plan should the thermostat fail? Such failure is likely to occur at a most inopportune time.
There are plenty of satisfied (zigbee) Pearl users here, myself included. The price point is, IMO, commensurate with what it’s capable of doing. It’s not an Ecobee, for instance.
Amazon reviews are a weak predictor of my own experience with tech devices in particular. Taken as a whole, that is a user population that’s highly prone to PEBCAK as the actual reason for a bad user experience.
I could always pop the old one back on the wall if it was an emergency.
Maybe I have simple needs or haven't been creative enough. I have the thermostat turn down to 50 when I go to work and back to 65 when I leave. These are triggered using location tracking in Alexa to a virtual switch in Hubitat. I work weird hours so a typical m-f setup is useless to me and it seems most devices work on that assumption. In the summer I am unsure if I should shut the ac to shut off, I feel like the energy used to bring the temp back down is more than just leaving it.
I do have to figure a way to deal with my bedroom in summer when I sleep. The room is small and gets warm and humid/stale at night when it's too cool out for the ac to be triggered. Maybe just a quick cycle every half hour or base it on humidity in comparison to the house average... Like I said I am unsure.
Other than those I don't know what else an ecobee could do for me. As you can see the thermostat is just the device that turns on/off the hvac.
That’s why the Pearl’s limited functions, and lower cost, are appealing, to me at least.
I bought a bunch of them to control some mini-split a/c’s. Like, seven, including a spare or two. At $50 each, it was doable.
Whether to change thermostat modes or set points manually with a dashboard, with rule machine, or other built-in apps is essentially a user preference.
This is one feature of the Ecobees I like that I presume you could emulate. They have a setting to ensure the fan runs for XX minutes each hour regardless of whether or not heat/cool is commanded. Definitely helps to keep the air moving and my air handler doesn't use (relatively) that much power.