With the Venstar T5800 you can track daily energy usage, program the thermostat on your computer, and can store your HVAC company's logo and contact information.
Once the cell phone morphed into an entertainment device, it was only a matter of time before somebody did the same for the digital thermostat.
With four daily program periods, seven-day programmability, touch-screen control, and the kind of vibrant color that makes my flat-screen TV jealous, the Venstar T5800 ($200) is a cut above in terms of features and interface.
First, you can track daily energy usage in bar-graph form and use the information to fine-tune your programming based on actual energy use. HVAC run-times also are displayed so that you can look for short cycling or extended operation, both of which indicate that service is needed on your heating/cooling system.
Second, you can program the thermostat on your computer and then transfer the settings to the thermostat with a built-in SD card slot. In most circumstances, this is more trouble than it’s worth, but it’s an advantage if your home has multiple zones because you will need to program only one thermostat rather than several. More important, this allows you to download and transfer updates to the Venstar that will modernize features without having to buy a new thermostat.
Finally, HVAC installers and servicemen can forget about leaving behind business cards. Venstar’s SD slot can be used to upload a company’s logo and contact information, making it easy on customers come service time.