Landlord Thermostat Recommendations?

11 Replies

I'm looking for a good landlord thermostat. In the multi-family I own, two furnaces heat four apartments, so there is no way for me to divide the heating bill amongst the tenants. So, my best bet is to make the apartments as efficient as possible and control the heating from remotely. I'm looking for something that gives me remote access and isn't hackable by the tenants. If they aren't paying for the heat, they have no incentive be smart about the heating bill. So, it falls on me to monitor it. Any good thermostat products out there I should know about?  Thanks for the help!

is it hot water boiler system,,?? we had a control on our boiler in basement that only we could access,, we disconnected the theromstat in the unit and set the boiler at the temp we wanted,, kept it at about 70.. we had a new thermostat put in the boiler room. 

Talk to a good Plumber if it's a boiler and find out what your options are.. We had another building that was a zone system we took it off zone and ran that boiler also by a setting on boiler. We had total control of heat in the builiding.. 

where are the thermostats?

definitely if their are thermostats in the apts take them out?

Even if you lock them up all they have to do is place a bag of ice on them to cause the heat to kick on and stay on 

Wifi Thermostats are all I will ever put in. You can set the temp, login remotely and make sure it's still set at that temp. Put a clause in your lease that states that any deviation from the set temp (xx degrees - xx degrees) will result in a $250 fine. That's what I will be doing in my duplex when I leave that doesn't have separate systems.

We use landlord stat by Chicago temperature control. It has setback to 68 after 2 hours and tops at 70, it is low tech but we weren't planning on an internet version. It is also not obvious that it is capped. I know you can go higher tech but it seems to do ok. I do want a shutoff on the boiler for summer but because it also heats the water it is a bit more complicated.

I am with @Colleen F. , I love the pre-set version that goes to 68 degrees in the morning, resets itself at 9 to 65, then on again to 68 after work and back to 65 at night. Love it. You can raise it to 71 at any point in time, but it will reset at the given interval. They were a huge contributor to slashing the heating bills.

You can password protect a Nest thermostat so your tenants would be unable to change the temp. You can control it remotely via wifi and monitor usage. Nest just came out with a new less expensive version.

https://nest.com/thermostats/nest-thermostat-e/overview/

Thanks so much everyone. All this insight is super helpful. Maybe the easiest is the low-fi landlord thermostat with an automatic set back. But the clause in the lease about not touching the wi-fi thermostat is interesting too. Really great stuff and much appreciated. Have a few options now. Thanks again.

Originally posted by @Colleen F. :
I do want a shutoff on the boiler for summer but because it also heats the water it is a bit more complicated.

 If you haven't solved this problem yet, and your boiler is not a cold start, a good solution is a tank hot water heater in addition to the boiler so the boiler doesn't run in summer.  You run the output of the boiler coil into the WH, so in winter the input is already hot and the tank is mainly storage, and you've great decreased the recovery time, making more hot water available for the tenants.  You'll save a lot of energy in standby losses from keeping that boiler hot all through the warm months.

@William Conrad I would be equally concerned about tenant leaving window half open since they aren't paying for heat. Your thermostat control won't solve that issue. If you control the tenant with set point of thermostat, they will care less about being responsible in other ways. Tell them you will need to increase the rent if your bills are high. I have automation setup in my Airbnb units where HVAC turns off if any window or door is open. You can do the same,but it should be seen by tenant as a solution that helps both of you.