To freeze or to overheat

That is the question

by | Jun 20, 2019 | 0 comments

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One of the problems with being a quad is that our body’s inner “thermostat” is broken. We cannot regulate body temperature as a “normal” person would, making it too easy to overheat or end up shivering cold is if we are suddenly dropped in the Antarctic.

Waking my Mom up at crazy hours of the night was really awful. She would get even less rest than she usually does, and I had to keep depending on her. As a result, I kept trying to hold off until I couldn’t handle the temperature any longer, and by that time, I’d be either too hot or too cold.

When I overheat, for example, I have a very hard time breathing, focusing and my spasticity spikes up. I have to cool down ASAP and end up either having to put a bag of ice on my head, sit in front of an A/C vent, or run my head under cool water; sometimes all of these steps are needed rather than one.

If I get too cold, I can’t control the shivering, spasticity again gets out of control, I need warm blankets, and/or the heat. Then, because I cannot feel my body, I tend to go from one extreme to the other, making this a very tiring cycle of going from hot-to-cold-to-hot.

The best way for me to avoid this is to adjust the temperature after the slightest indication that I’m heading out of my comfort zone; so, as you can imagine, waking someone up every hour or two is plain cruel.

Thanks to technology and advances in Home Automation, smart thermostats provide to be extremely useful when you have glitches such as mine; though such technologies tend to have high price tags.

I came across Honeywell’s RTH6580WF back in December of 2017 and bought it since it was on the lower price range. As for installation, I did get an A/C guy because we were transitioning from a standard one to this one, and I didn’t know what a C-Wire was nor if my unit had one. The process seemed fairly easy, my unit did not have such C-Wire, but there was a very simple workaround; so, about 30 minutes later, we were ready to program.

For this thermostat, in particular, I had to register the unit, verify my location, ownership, etc., I was then good to go.

I downloaded their app and did most of the setup from it, which was great since I was having difficulties reaching the actual unit, and I’ve always hated dealing with physical buttons, of which this device still had 4 at the bottom, and 3 to the right.

The app pretty much handles the regular operation of the thermostat, minus the “Setup” area. In order to enter the setup mode, you must press and hold 2 buttons on the unit itself. I’m not going to say that this was a major inconvenience for me, as I do live with my Mother, but it can be a big put off for someone living alone and/or expecting full independence with this device.

The app itself is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate, I never had a problem adjusting the temperature, switching from “Cool” to “Heat” nor shutting it off. Tapping through the app did not require gestures nor finger dexterity, so that was always very simple for me to use and the buttons on the screen were large enough to not miss-tap; however, from time to time, I’d change the temperature and later get a message that it could not process the request and to “Dismiss”, yet temperature would seem to have adjusted most of the time (not always).

This unit worked well with Alexa by adding the Honeywell thermostat skill. I was not able to make it work with Apple Home.

The Honeywell RTH6580WF lasted a little less than 2 years before I started having trouble with it. Initially, the app would not load on my phone, and I’d get an error that there was no internet connection, even though I was connected to WiFi and all other apps and websites would load with no issues. This would happen at random and I’d have to force-quit the app a couple of times ‘till it’d kick in. For this particular issue, I think the problem was with the app itself, not the thermostat, as it worked fine through Alexa.

Around the 2 year mark, the device would also randomly shut off for a couple of minutes. This went on for a couple of months until summer hit us, and it became a bigger issue; so, with help, we placed the device in “Setup” mode by pressing down on 2 buttons, navigated to the WiFi feature and reset it. This made matters worse, after resetting the WiFI, the Thermostat stopped seeing the “Cool” setting and I only had “Heat” and “Off”… Not exactly what you want to see in South Florida mid-summer.

We reset the WiFi twice more to no success, then switched the breakers off for a couple of minutes and nothing. We removed the thermostat from the wall plate, cleaned the contacts… Nothing.

We then worried about the issue being the A/C unit itself, but before spending money on an HVAC tech, we decided to buy another thermostat (which we installed ourselves woohoo) to test and boom! The unit works, A/C is cooling and working as expected.

Our only logical conclusion is that the Thermostat reached the end of its life, and while I was a bit disappointed that it “only” lasted a little over 2 years, I must also say that it was a great entry level thermostat that allowed me to have a great deal of independence at an affordable price. Also, I did reach out to Honeywell, but the device comes with a 1-year warranty, so mine had expired and they just wished me a good day.

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