Thermostat bugs

Posted on May 16, 2013
Tags: software

I seem to have the Therac-25 of thermostats at my apartment. Usually it works fine, but once in a blue moon it will just turn the air conditioner on full blast, and I’ll come home and the temperature will be near 60 degrees, even though the thermostat was set in the mid-70s.

(The irony is that it’s an “Energy Star” thermostat, but I doubt it’s very energy efficient to turn on the air conditioner full blast at random when I’m away and bring the apartment down to 60 degrees.)

This is part of my ongoing gripe about software quality. (Or, as I like to call it, my “War on Error.”) Nearly everything today contains software, and almost none of it is written well. It’s written “just well enough” that people don’t complain too much.

In the house where I grew up, there was a mechanical thermostat, and it never had this problem. I guess those thermostats contained mercury, though.

Maybe there ought to be an open-source Arduino-based thermostat, so at least we could get the software right.