Vacation Rental Management for busy people!

Thermostat and Vera Home Automation

Here is a breif set of notes on using the Vera-based thermostat control system.

View/Change settings

Click on "Setup>Thermosts - Recent History & Settings" to see the settings and most recent temperature history.

View reservation history

If you are looking at a reservation when you click the Setup menu then you will see another item called "Thermostat - Reservation History" - this will show the history for that reservation.

History Graphs

When just starting out there'll be nothing much to see in the history. Hover your mouse cursor over the points on the graphs to get more info. You'll see one tab for each thermostat. Right now there's no way to label these differently.

Vera screens

Take a look at your Vera and you'll see a new Room called MyVRZone at the bottom. In it are 2 scenes and one device -  showing as Occupied or Unoccupied.

Getting updates from MyVRZone

The "Get Latest Settings" scene downloads the occupancy and thermostat settings from your MyVRZone account and also triggers an upload to MyVRZone of the latest temperature history. This is set with a timer to do a check every 4 hours - please don't set it more frequently than that. This way, any changes you make will get to Vera within the next 4 hours - this should be fine for all but very last minute bookings.

Checking the temperatures


The "Check Temperatures Now" scene looks at all the thermostats and makes any adjustments required. This is set on a timer to run every 5 minutes. Please don't set the timer to run it more often than that.

How to change occupancy status

If you click on the Occupied/Unoccupied buttons of the device then nothing will happen to the system even though the button will change - it will be reset to the real occupancy status the next time the check temperatures scene is run.

To change occupancy status, go to your MyVRZone account and create a reservation for the property. To make the change effective immediately, go to your Vera and click the "Get Latest Settings" scene Run button - this will get the changes you made. Then run the "Check Temperatures Now" scene to apply any changes.

Note that this way of changing the system is as if the temp targets were changed manually and so any drift settings will apply and so the temps may not get set/change to the starting points like they would at a period change. This is so that a power down/up cycle does not reset everything each time. You may need to manually set the temps if you need them changed right away.

Setting a temperature for guest arrival

There's no distinction right now for check-in day, other than switching occupied mode. Use the daily Occupied Period settings to set a different temp around the check-in time. This will apply to every day, but as it can be overridden it's not usually a big deal. We set ours with the notion that people will be out late morning and then back early evening and set a period for that time with higher CoolTo and lower HeatTo settings.

Setting a different temperature per guest

The "Target Occupied Cooling/Heating" values set in the Setup screen can be overridden per guest if you want to provide a better comfort level that way. If you plan to do this, then you may want to use the relative temperature adjustments when setting period changes rather than absolute values.

Set the override temperatures in the "Reservation" tab of the reservation.

Drifting

Drifting only occurs in the Energy-saving direction.

For example, if the drift-to cooling temp is 78 and the guest sets the cool-to temp to 80 then the set-point will not be drifted towards the 78.

Overriding the system

If you need to stop the automatic settings etc then you can disable the Timers in the MyVRZone scenes. As everything is assessed when the "Check Temperatures Now" scene is run, this is the key one to disable - from that point Vera will not make any more changes to the thermostats (unless you have set up your own scene for that).

If you disable the "Get latest settings" scene then you'll not get the graph data for viewing it online - there's not usually any reason for disabling this scene.

Controlling other devices

You can use the Occupancy status to control other devices in other scenes. You can make them dependent on the setting of this "switch".

Create an event for a scene that will react to a change in state of the "Is Occupied?" device.

Fo more complex control you may need to use/write some LUUP code for Vera (beyond the scope of this article).