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February 08, 2020

Hot and Cold: How Heaters & Smart Thermostats Make Guests Happy

Loudoun Escape was built with a one-zone HVAC unit and as a result, the basement (and certain other rooms, depending on the room’s floor material) will stay fairly cold in the winter. On the other hand, the upstairs level will be warm in the summertime. We had to come up with a solution.

Our fix involved connecting heaters and smart thermostats to automate the temperature at our rental property.

Solving both problems mentioned above, simultaneously, is not feasible without installing another zone and HVAC unit. This isn’t cost-effective, nor is it very practical. I evaluated this option, and the contractors I spoke with confirmed the level of work needed and the high price tag attached. With this post, want to share the best option I found to cheaply remedy this issue.

I started looking at heaters that could be installed into the wall. One of the key points to consider is that you want an appliance that is 120V or lower wattage, so that you don’t overload your circuits and pop fuses. I would advise checking with an electrician and a trusted handyman first before purchasing anything. In talking with my handyman company, we determined it was best to stay between 1000W to 1500W for the maximum voltage range for installed equipment.

In my research, I ran across these a few different options for in-wall heaters:

1) Cadet CSC101TW Electric Wall Heater120V 1000W
2) KING PAW1215-W PAW Pic-A-Watt Electric Wall Heater – 120V 1500W

I’ve already installed option #1 in a few places within our Loudoun Escape property. We will end up installing option #2 as well in the basement to provide additional heat.

For installing electric wall heaters, I had one major concern. What if someone left these on for extended periods of time or ran them at too high of a temperature? I ran across these thermostats that addressed this concern for me.

You’ll need an experienced handyman and electrician to wire all of this safely. Below are some pictures of our installs in Loudoun Escape in the master bedroom’s bathroom and in the basement bedroom.

smart thermostats and heaters
smart thermostats and heaters

Once the smart thermostats are set up and connected with your Mysa account, you can control everything from the Mysa App. Below are some screenshots of the app and how you can control the temperature. Visible stats include the current temperature, level of humidity, and whether the heater is on or off.

smart thermostats settings menu
smart thermostats settings menu

The features I like the most in the app are shown below. I can lock or unlock the thermostat buttons from the app if I don’t want someone at the Loudoun Escape property to make any changes. (Keep in mind that the temperature itself cannot be adjusted either at this point.)

Another feature I like is the Setpoint Control. This allows you to set an allowed maximum and minimum value for the temperature settings. This is very important to me, especially with the maximum value, to ensure that it does not get set too high and/or left on.

smart thermostat settings menu

There are several features I have not tested yet, such as the scheduling capability. Overall, I am very satisfied with this solution and guests have been happy.

As I mentioned before, I am adding a few more thermostats in the basement’s theater room area. We’ve also installed a few heaters and smart thermostats in the garage. I’ll highlight these installs separately in a future post.

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