Lennox iComfort Thermostat Wifi/Server Connection Issues

A few months ago we had a new air conditioning and heating system installed. We had done a lot of research first, looking at all the major brands like Carrier, Amana, Bryant, Lennox, Trane, and American Standard. We got quotes from companies that carried the one or two brands we liked. In the end, we chose based on the company that quoted us, the kind of support we received, and the price. The system to be installed was the Lennox XC21 with iComfort Thermostat, which had a large color screen, high and low temperature settings, and a wifi connection for smartphone control and weather updates.  In the end, the a/c system works well, but the thermostat has issues.

After checking around online I found that others have similar issues with their theromstats. First, the thermostat seems to have issues connecting to wireless routers that aren’t using common channels, like channel 6 or 11. My router was set to channel 3 and the thermostat just wouldn’t connect. Being an IT consultant, I tried everything – different routers, no encryption, and still no success, until I changed to channel 6. At that point the thermostat connected and hasn’t dropped the connection since. However, that takes us to the next, and most prevalent issue – the poor connectivity to Lennox’s servers.

As I stated, the wifi stays connected. However, randomly, and the majority of the time, the weather forecast will not show on screen, and there will be a little exclamation point at the bottom left of the screen, indicating a connection problem. Until recently, going to the wifi settings page would tell you almost nothing – that the wifi is connection but that there is a problem. Recently, Lennox pushed out a firmware update (which my thermostat didn’t download until days after it was released since it couldn’t maintain a server connection) that now displays where the connection issue is. It always shows that the wifi is connected, but that the server connection is down. This indicates that Lennox’s servers are the culprit.

Lennox Error

Lennox is a big company. A big company that makes a lot of money. Why on earth can’t they implement a more reliable system? Is it too much to ask that they provide a better service to customer that shelled out thousands of dollars for a premium air conditioning system? While having wifi in one’s thermostat is still considered a luxury , I think that this will eventually be the norm for a lot of home appliances. They seem to have added the wifi and associated features, but then didn’t take it seriously when it came to supporting it. If too many thermostats are connecting, add more servers. If the bandwidth isn’t high enough, increase it.

In IT, when the problem is on the customer’s side, it is usually a bigger hassle to fix because you need to work with someone who may not be tech savvy, and who also may not be providing the full story of what is wrong or what they did that might have caused the issue. When the issue is on the provider’s side, it makes things much easier because the provider has full control of their own systems – they can physically fix the issue themselves.

Lennox – please fix this thermostat server connection issue. I know you aren’t considered a “computer technology” company, but it is inevitable that such technology will find its way into more and more of your and your competitors’ products. Having good internet-enabled products now will most definitely affect your standing in the marketplace later when it is more prevalent. You have an opportunity here – don’t let it slip away.