Smart Thermostats: 50% of Consumers Who Think They Can Install DIY … End Up Calling a Pro

Honeywell uses HomeAdvisor API to give users on-demand access to professional installers via Total Connect Comfort app because DIY installation for smart thermostats is “scary.”

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To many would-be do-it-yourselfers, smart thermostats look so easy to install, with all the consumer-friendly packaging and merchandising that puts these products right next to other (presumably) DIY devices.

But roughly half of consumers who buy thermostats at retail end up giving up on a DIY install according to Scott Harkins, VP, IoT Partner Programs at Honeywell Connected Home & Buildings.

Speaking at Parks Associates’ Connections Conference this week, Harkins says about 70% of thermostats are installed by contractors in conjunction with new HVAC systems. Of the remainder, about 50 percent of retail buyers end up calling a pro.

“They take it home, take the [existing] thermostat off the wall, and there’s five different wires,” Harkins said. “It looks a little bit scary.”

Honeywell has teamed with HomeAdvisor, a network of almost 160,000 independent contractors, to provide on-demand access to qualified installers.

Through Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort app, users can summon a professional installer for service – not just for a Honeywell thermostat but for any HVAC or home-improvement need.

Honeywell is the first company to embed HomeAdvisor’s new API into a third-party app.

Honeywell implemented the feature to better engage with its customers, most of whom will barely use their smart-thermostat app otherwise.

According to HomeAdvisor, Honeywell contractors don’t get preferential treatment in serving stumped homeowners who buy at retail. Rather, Honeywell implemented the feature to better engage with these customers. After all, most consumers don't generally interact with their thermostat apps on a regular basis.

The implementation goes a step further: If select Honeywell’ comfort-related devices, like a leak or freeze detector, triggers an alert, retail customers will have the option of requesting a related pro such as a plumber, right from the Total Connect app.

This isn’t HomeAdvisor’s only on-demand service partner. Currently, the company is rolling out a service in select regions with Overstock.com. At checkout, users have the option of hiring a professional installer, selected based on the products purchased.

HomeAdvisor vets all of its contractors, not just with background checks, but also to ensure they have the proper certifications for any specific job.

Consumers can select HomeAdvisor’s “Instant Connect” option to be contacted (by phone … gasp!) within one or two minutes with a HomeAdvisor specialist, who will tell the user about the pros available and then connect them immediately by phone.

HomeAdvisor also offers Instant Booking for purchasers who prefer to select a contractor and a specific time for service.

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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