footer-logo

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

The Many Benefits Of The Nest Smart Thermostat

nest thermostat in heating mode

Image Source: ShutterStock

Nest Smart Thermostat

You may have seen advertisements for the Nest Smart Thermostat, a sophisticated Smart Home device with extensive capabilities.  Nest Thermostat’s Buyer Satisfaction Score at Amazon.com is 4.6 Stars (out of 5) with nearly 13,000 reviews on Amazon alone.

Click Here For A Short Video About The Nest Thermostat: Video: Nest Thermostat

The Difference Between Traditional, Programmable & Smart Thermostat

early style thermostat

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Traditional Thermostat

Thermostats have a variety of abilities.  A traditional thermostat is fully manual.  It does nothing more than keep the home’s temperature it’s set to.   All temperature changes must be done made manually.

 

programmable thermostat

Image Source: ShutterStock

Programmable Thermostat

Digital, programmable thermostats  follow a Temperature-Adjusting Routine as programmed by the user.  They make the same temperature adjustment at the same time each day — matching exactly what they are programmed to do.

These thermostats offer notable energy savings for those who reduce their home’s indoor temperature when they are gone or at night — except with a Heat Pump.  With a Heat Pump, lowering temperatures will likely cost more than if the temp is always the same.   This is because once the programmable thermostat turns the heat up, the Supplemental Electric Heat will run until the indoor temp is only -1 degree from the thermostat’s setting.  During this time, heating costs are twice that of running only the Heat Pump.

The Nest Thermostat minimizes Heat Pump heating costs by ensuring the Heat Pump does as much of the heating as possible.

To Learn More About Nest With A Heat Pump Click Here: AlsPlumbing.com Nest Thermostat With A Heat Pump

 

Smart Thermostat (Nest is 1 brand)

nest thermostat in heating mode

Image Source: ShutterStock

Nest Smart Thermostat Features:

  • Auto Schedule:  Nest learns your desired temperature settings in 1 day!  When first installed, Nest sets itself to 68°F for heating and 75°F for cooling.  Nest holds these temperatures until you change it.   All you must do is change the temperature setting to what you want – when you want it..  Any changes you make will be added to the next day’s schedule (and going forward).   To make additional changes, simply make them manually for one day.  Nest will add the new changes  to its program.
  • “Time-To-Temp”:   Nest learns how fast your furnace warms your home.  In a short time, Nest can tell you how long it will take the HVAC System to reach the new temperature.
  • “Early-On”: Nest wirelessly connects to the home’s WIFI & checks the outside temperature.
  • Nest’s “Early-On” Feature Combines:
  • 1. Thermostat’s schedule
  • 2. Time-to-Temp knowledge
  • 3. Outdoor Temperature.
  • Then Nest starts the HVAC  earlier / later as needed to achieve the desired temperature at the scheduled time.

The “Early On” feature ensures the HVAC System will be turned on only as soon as needed — maximizing heating & cooling savings.  If it’s 42 overnight on Tuesday, then 22 overnight on Wednesday, the home will be at the correct temperature at the scheduled time.  Nest will take care of the details.

Additional Nest Thermostat Features 

When You Are HOME, Nest Can Be Controlled With Voice-Command With Alexa.

  • 1. Using Amazon’s Alexa: You must have an Amazon “Echo” receiver (available at Amazon.com).  Once installed and connected, you can adjust Nest from anywhere any Alexa / Echo receiver can hear you say “Alexa, set Nest to XX degrees.”

 Click On Image To: View Product, See Details, or Purchase From Amazon.com

SHOWN: Amazon Echo Dot – 3rd Generation 

 

  • 2. With Google Now APP installed on your smart phone.  You can set the temperature from anywhere in the house with your phone by saying, “Ok Google, Set Temperature To XX degrees”.

When You Are AWAY Nest Can Be Operated From Anywhere In The World (using Nest app).

You Can Also Adjust Nest with the Nest App While At Home. 

  • Change Nest’s Temperature Setting With Your Phone. 

Click Here To See Nest APP’s Display When Changing Temperature: Nest App Display To Change Temperature On Cell Phone

Changes To Your Schedule?

  • Leaving Early?  Nest tracks your cell phone’s location.  When it detects you are not home, Nest sets itself to the “Away”  preset temperatures.
  • “Away” temps are Nest’s “Eco Temperatures”,
  • Click Here To See Nest Thermostat’s Display When Entering “Away” & “Home” temperatures.  Setting Nest’s “Away From Home” Temperatures
  • Returning Early?  Nest will reset to the “Home” temperature as you get near your home.
  • Nest can remind you When To Check / Replace The Air Filter.
  • Click Here To See Nest Thermostat Display For “Filter Change Reminder”: Nest Thermostat Filter Reminder

Nest Can Test Your HVAC System To See If It’s Working Properly

high efficiency gas furnace with two white pipes visible

Photo Source: DreamsTime

Here’s How:

  • The thermostat will tell you what you can check for during the test. For instance “Fan Is Running”.

If There Is A Problem With Your HVAC System, Nest Will Display One Of These Error Codes:

T01: 1-Stage (Single-speed) FAN has a problem

T02: Single-Stage COOLING SYSTEM problem  (most HVAC systems are single-stage.  More expensive systems have two stages / speeds)

T03: Two-Stage COOLING SYSTEM problem.   Example: It may work in the lower stage, but does not go to the higher stage when needed.

T04: FORCED-AIR HEATING SYSTEM problem.

T05: (for radiant / in-floor heating systems)

T06: (for radiator heating systems)

T07:  (for baseboard electric heating systems)

T08 :Humidifier problem

T09: Dehumidifier problem

T11:  Two-Stage FAN problem

T12: Three-Stage FAN problem

Nest Notifies Thermostat & Your Cell Phone

If Your Furnace Appears To Have A Problem

photo of properly working gas burners in a gas furnace

Image Source: ShutterStock

Newer furnaces have many automatic-shut down devices to prevent the furnace from running if it’s unsafe.   Some reasons a gas furnace shuts down may be: Furnace is overheating, Furnace can’t determine if there is a flame while gas is released, & The power-venting of the furnace’s exhaust is not working.

If Nest detects a pattern that the furnace is not able to heat for longer than 15 minutes at a time (including it not being able to run at all) — you will get a “Furnace Heads-Up” message on the thermostat and your phone (with Nest app installed).  The message will say, “Nest noticed that your furnace shuts down within 15 minutes of heating.”  This message advises there may be something wrong with the furnace.

Click Here To See Nest APP’s Display For “Furnace Heads Up”:   Nest App “Furnace Heads Up” Notification

Click Here To See Nest Thermostat’s Display For “Furnace Heads Up”: Nest Thermostat “Furnace Heads Up” Notification

 

Additional Nest Thermostat Features Provide

Increased Comfort & Energy-Savings 

  • Does The Sun Shine On The Thermostat At Times?  Nest Senses Direct Sunlight hitting it and adjusts itself accordingly.  It notifies you with a sun icon when it’s in SunBlock Mode.

Click Here To See Nest Thermostat’s Display While Setting the “SunBlock” feature: Nest Thermostat Sunblock Feature

  • “Airwave”: In Cooling Mode, Nest Runs The Furnace Blower-Fan For An Additional Period Of Time after the outside A/C unit shuts off.  This extracts the cooling still available within the A/C cooling coil (inside the furnace).    Airwave learns how much cooling can still occur once the outside compressor unit turns off, and adjusts how long it runs the blower-fan.
  • Nest Senses Humidity Level In Your Home And Make Corrections (if you want it to). When humidity exceeds your preset percentage.  Nest goes into      Cool-To-Dry Mode and it tells you when its doing it.   You set the maximum humidity you want the thermostat to allow.

Click Here To See Nest Thermostat Display For Dehumidification Setting:  Display To Set Nest To Maintain Indoor Humidity

  • If your furnace has a variable-speed furnace blower-fan, Nest reduces the blower-fan’s speed to move air more slowly over the cooling coil. The slower air moves over the coil, the more humidity is removed.
  • If your Furnace Does Not Have A Variable-Speed Blower, the Nest can Lower The A/C Temperature Setting up to 5 degrees so A/C runs more to remove humidity.

Click Here To See Nest Thermostat Display Asking Level Of Humidity To Maintain:  Nest Asks What Level Of Humidity To Maintain

 

Summertime Peak Energy Demand-Response Programs

outdoor thermometer reading 102 degrees

Image Source: ShutterStock

While not yet common in DFW, Demand-Response Programs have made their way into Texas.  Demand Response programs have been used for decades in the northern U.S. where summertime electrical demand begins to exceed available supply often.  Because the northern U.S. has cooler summers, and gas or heating-oil heating systems, electricity supply is more limited.  Demand-Response programs keep electricity charges by minimizing the need to build “Peak Demand” Electrical Generating Plants that are used only a few times each summer.

Demand-Response programs provide the Electricity Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT) by helping preserve system reliability and encouraging the demand side to respond.  In collaboration with market participants, ERCOT has developed Demand-Response products & services with the ability to reduce or modify electricity use in response to instructions or signals sent by ERCOT.

A customer may choose to Reduce Consumption during periods of very high electrical demand.  Demand-Response provides an opportunity for energy consumers to lower energy use during periods of peak demand.  The electricity retailer will provide an incentive for participating.

With residential Demand-Response, a signal is sent to WIFI Connected Thermostats (like Nest) to either 1. Raise the temperature setting, OR 2. Turn the A/C off for up to 15 minutes each hour. **

** One group of homes has their A/C turned off.  After up to 15 minutes, that group of homes A/C’s turned back on.  At the same time, another group of A/C’s are turned off.    This program is used only during peak demand.  To participate, a WIFI connected Smart Thermostat is required.

In other cases, the consumer may be able to Shift Electricity Consumption from peak times to off-peak periods ***  in order to improve grid stability and prevent blackouts. Grid operators offer financial incentives for participation.

*** NOTE: Dallas’ Fountain Place Office Tower Has “Off-Peak” Air Conditioning.  The system freezes ice at night (when electricity demand is lowest) and cools the building using ice during the day (when electricity demand is highest).  This allows Fountain Place to notably lower cooling costs by dramatically reducing their daytime electricity usage (when electrical rates are highest).

dallas skyline showing fountain place office tower on left

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

Shown:  Dallas Skyline.  Fountain Place Office Tower Is On Left, With Pointed Top.

 

Residential Ice-Assisted A/C Is Available NOW!  Click Here To Read The Details:  Residential Ice-Assisted A/C

SUMMARY:

The Nest Thermostat offers many advantages over older manual and programmable thermostats.  This sophisticated device minimizes heating and cooling costs by knowing both the current temp and the weather forecast. Using that information, Nest determines when the HVAC needs to start in order to get the house to the temp you want at the time you want it.

Next also provides humidity-level management abilities, using your A/C to remove excess humidity as needed.  If you have a Heat Pump, Nest will maximize its efficiency by running it as much as possible, thus minimizing the amount of Electric Back-Up Heat required.

Nest can alert you to advise your furnace appears to have shut down which could result in frozen water pipes.  Especially when out of town, this feature may save thousands of dollars in water-damage due to ruptured water pipes.

 

footer-logo

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s also provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s is near your home in northern Dallas, Richardson, and Garland.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.