If you know me well, you know I’m still a bit of a luddite. Maybe more than a bit. A smart phone still eludes me. I complain ceaselessly about my work technical difficulties. Just thinking about finding a new system to store all our digital photos makes my blood pressure rise.
So for me, it’s extra amazing when a technological device just works, and works well, and serves an awesome purpose.
Heat in the tiny house is provided by an electric baseboard heater. It works just great. It’s quiet. I have no complaints. I mean, it’s not the cheapest heat source in the world, but we don’t have much space to heat.
But I live in fear that the electric service will go out. No electricity means no heat. No heat makes me freak out about frozen pipes. Frozen pipes would be bad. Very bad. Especially since weeks might go by before we are back here again. I dream about walking in only to find a giant iceberg has taken up residence.
So I’ve looked for solutions to montior the heat while we’re not here. Solutions that don’t involve pestering my patient neighbors to check on the cabin to sooth my anxiety.
There are systems out there that will call you when the temperature drops below a certain level. This is great, but … we don’t have a land line. There are systems that can do the same with a cell phone, but that requires getting some kind of pay-as-you-go phone, and making sure it doesn’t run out of minutes. It seems like a system prone to error. Of course, there are wireless thermostats. But these generally aren’t compatible with baseboard heat.
Enter the Honeywell eConnect with Redlink Gateway. You must forgive the clumsy name, because the eConnect is the best. Somehow I stumbled upon the product while searching again for a remote heat solution. It’s a three-piece system consisting of a relay (that connects to the baseboard heater), a wireless thermostat, and an internet gateway, so the system can be controlled remotely. It costs about $250.
I had to do a bit of shopping around to find someone to install it for me (the first quote was $1,110; not sure if that was a ladies’ price, or a 773 price?). But it’s now happily working in the tiny house. Getting the internet part to work was a breeze.
Now I can have the system alert me if the temperature rises or falls above a certain level. I can keep the heat set way back without fear of freezing the pipes. And best of all …. I can turn the heat up a few hours before we arrive, so we don’t need to wait hours for the place to warm up (Ylvis-style).
So here’s the system. The relay:
The internet gateway (oh wait, you can’t see it? that’s cause it’s hiding out under the sofa).