Puck on mini-split and Nest on gas boiler



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  • Official comment
    Daniel Myers

    Hi Manuel,

    Thanks for the great questions.  Since this is a bit technical, I figured it made since to jump in with some answers.

    Q1: I just learned the hard way that Ecobee is not good for controlling mini-splits. However Puck's strength is that it can properly control mini-splits, making use of their technological advantages (like variable speed fans). Is that correct?

    Correct. Some people wire minisplits to traditional thermostats through transformers/adapters however most minisplits are now "inverter driven" (essentially, they are variable speed in both their compressor and/or fan) which is less common on central heating and cooling systems which traiditonal thermostats are used for.  As a result, traditional thermostats turn on and off the system when really, the minisplit was designed to efficiently and variably adjust up and down in its output.  In fact the abrupt on/off operation can cause MORE energy use and be harder on the equipment and is not recommended by the original minisplit manufacturer.  

    The Puck on the other hand respects the operation of the minisplit's inverter and allows the minisplit to adjust its output as designed to met the setpoint needs of the homeowner/guest.  HOWEVER, many minisplits, for a variety of reasons, when told to maintain a temperature (lets say 72), are unable to do so such that a room might regularly be 4 or more degrees off in the relevant part of the room.  This can be a result of the room layout, the minisplits internal thermostat, etc..  The Puck however has a feature called 'RoomSense' which learns how a minisplit heats and cools a room and compensates so that when you tell the system that you want 72, you will get 72, all while respecting the inverter and overall minisplit design.

    Q2: My Nests don't control cooling, so in the summer they would essentially stay inactive. In winter, the Nests would call for heat and also the Pucks. Can I set the Pucks so that they only call for heat above a certain outside temperature? I hope I don't need the more expensive Pro Edition for that.

    A couple thoughts here: 

    The first is that while we have many customers using the Nest integration for Flair, we currently can not sign up new users as Google ended their 'Works with Nest Program' (see here: https://support.flair.co/hc/en-us/articles/360032817912).  So in terms of coordinating between Nest, new customers with Nest thermostats aren't able to be integrated and coordinated with unfortunately.  We really wish this wasn't so.  That said, we do work with the Honeywell Smart Thermostats and ecobees if you ever consider swapping them out!

    We have a super set of this feature on our Pro Edition Puck where we handle the hand over between your central heat and your minisplits, in fact that is the core feature of the Pro units currently.  I like the idea of adding a low temperature cut out for the minisplits thats unrelated to the hand over, I'll put this in front of the engineering team.  If you write us a ticket to hello@flair.co, we can link the feature to your ticket and notify you upon release of the feature.

    Q3: With mini-split active at higher outside temp, the Pucks could keep the inside temperature above the temp at which a Nest would call for heat. So Nest would only become active when outside temps are really low. Is that thinking correct?

    This is what the Pro Edition Puck does (it actively switches between the two systems based on outdoor temperature).  To reiterate, we need to have an ecobee or Honeywell instead of a Nest as the Works with Nest program was ended by Google.  If you are outside of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, feel free to contact us about this feature and getting upgraded.  We are obligated to charge for the upgrade to the Pro Edition features because of our arrangements with our Pro Distributors but it is a software enabled feature, much like how Tesla upgrades work.  If you are in Massachusetts or Rhode Island where Minisplit rebates are available, fee free to contact one of our distributors here: flair.co/integrated-controls

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