The Honeywell RTH7600D 7 Day Programmable Thermostat for the central heating and cooling system, costs approximately $100 at Lowe’s home improvement center. Priced on the high side of fair, this computerized touchscreen furnace / air conditioner controller still clicks as it turns the climate control system on and off (like the Robertshaw 9415 digital thermostat I replaced with the Honeywell programmable) (reviewed here). However, this sound is neither loud nor distracting as my thermostat is located in the living room, far away from any bedroom or other area where sleep or study would mandate a quieter operation.
The RTH7600D is a programmable thermostat that allows you to set up seven different programs; one for each day of the week. Each program supports up to four temperature periods. For each period you set the time of day that that period begins and the temperature that you want the room to be during that period, and how you want the system fan to operate during that period. Each day, including the weekend days, can be programmed independently of the others. Or, you can program a group of days that you can individually select, in blocks. Handy if you want to utilize one program for the week days, and another for the weekends.
Warnings and Cautions
This is a low-voltage thermostat device. So do not try to use it on a line-voltage heating system such as electric baseboard heaters.
Benefits, Features, Advantages, and Pros of the Honeywell RTH7600D 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
- Owners manual included. Honeywell’s supplied installation instructions with the RTH7600D were easy to follow and straight forward, as was the case with the RLV430A that I installed on my baseboard heaters upstairs.
- Quick hookup. Honeywell thermostat models like this one, have nine screw terminals inside that supply control for multi-stage heating and cooling systems. The climate control system here requires only six of these. But hookup was nonetheless a breeze when the installation instructions are followed.
- Easy installation. Installation of the RTH7600D took under thirty minutes and required only a Philips screwdriver since I was just replacing an existing thermostat, and NOT installing a new one from scratch. However, unlike my previous thermostat, the Honeywell RTH7600D has a wall plate that you must fasten to the wall first. This plate is where you make your wiring connections. Then, the thermostat unit just snaps onto it. No ground terminal is provided, as the RTH7600D is packaged in an all-plastic case; including its mounting plate. This simplifies installation.
- Battery backup of internal memory. During power outages, the Honeywell RTH7600D retains all program data, and even retains correct time if you supply the two AA batteries.
- Simple to program. Even considering that this unit is programmable for each of the seven days of the week (which can make operation rather complex on some models), setting up and operating this thermostat was quite straight forward.
- Touchscreen control. This unit has no actual buttons. It instead, employs a touch screen, though which all thermostat functions are accessed. So, there are no actual switches to wear out, corrode, or become dirty.
- Rapid response to settings changes. The unit responds within several seconds when you change the temperature set point, turning on the heater when you raise the temperature, and off when you lower the temperature, until the room temperature reaches the new set point.
- Tight room temperature regulation. In terms of comfort, we like the tight temperature control of the RTH7600D, as it allows no more than a plus or minus 1 degree temperature swing in the room, before actuating the heater (turning it on or off). While you cannot set this temperature differential directly, you CAN adjust the number of on-off cycles per hour for your climate control system. This provides an indirect adjustment of the temperature differential, and experts say that the cycles parameter is a more effective adjustment in terms of comfort control.
- Big opportunities for lower energy bills. As the RTH7600D limits the size of the temperature swings in the room, savings in heating and cooling bills should be significant. This is important when paying for central air conditioning, where much electricity is consumed anyway.
- One year warranty. This digital thermostat comes with a 1-year warranty and plenty of documentation.
- Easy-to-read backlit digital display. The bright green back-lit display is quite easy to read in either lighted or very dark settings.
Disadvantages, Problems, Limitations, and Cons of the Honeywell RTH7600D 7-Day Programmable Thermostat
- Relay switching can be distracting. Surprising that a climate controller so advanced as this one still relies on relays for its switching functions instead of the more advanced solid state (and quiet) switching devices. There’s really no reason that they could not have built the RTH7600D to be completely silent.
- Needs constant-on backlight. It would be helpful if the back-light could be programmed to stay on at all times instead of having to touch the buttons on the screen each time you’d like it illuminated. In some of the newer models, like Honeywell’s wifi Internet enabled RTH8580WF thermostat, the backlight does stay on, but just dims a bit after some seconds of inactivity on the touch screen.
- Entire screen should be touchable. Also, the touch screen is only sensitive to touches where the buttons are. However, when the back-light is not on, and the thermostat is in a darkened room, telling exactly where to touch in order to turn on the back-light can get a bit cumbersome. Nice it would have been, if the entire screen was touch sensitive, as it is on devices like the Apple iPod Touch and iPhone.
- Numbered parameters hard to remember without the manual. The settings use number codes (as in setting 120, setting 150, setting 300, and so on, instead of more intuitive descriptions as in ‘Year Setting’, ‘Heating Fan Control’, ‘Select System Type’, and so on.). But with the advanced state of today’s touch screen technology, the need for these old-fashioned numeric codes should have long since passed. The numeric codes mean that you must look up, in the installation and user’s guides, which code you should change for a particular function. So, if you lost the manual, you might not any longer be able to program this unit completely. Hopefully in subsequent models of this programmable thermostat device, Honeywell will phase out these numeric style settings codes, and opt instead, for plain-English menus and settings.
- Not blind accessible, except for possibly through the Total Control website. As is true with so many consumer electronics devices these days, no audio indication is given on the Rth7600d when the UP and DOWN, time setting, and programming buttons are pressed, which can complicate use by blind and vision impaired individuals. Having and audible indication of all button touches would go far toward making this thermostat blind-accessible.
Overall, We’re pleased with the Honeywell RTH7600D programmable digital thermostat. The unit works exactly as described in the operation manual, and it provides a plethora of adjustments to please everyone from the most casual user to the most technically advanced homeowners and apartment dwellers. We would rate this thermostat at 96 out of 100.
Where to Buy the Honeywell RTH7600D 7 Day Programmable Thermostat
Look for this digital thermostat in the red and white plastic packaging at your favorite home improvement store, such as Lowe’s.
- Honeywell’s Product Page for the RH7600D Thermostat
- Where to Buy the RTH7600 D Touchscreen Thermostat
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