Review: Trane XL800 Programmable Thermostat & a Giveaway

When I had my house built in 1998, one thing I wanted but could not afford at the time was a programmable thermostat.  Thankfully, Trane was kind enough to send one that I probably would not have considered, the Trane XL800.

The first thing I had to do was install the thermostat.  To do so, I had to turn off my HVAC system — which mean going into the depths of my garage and flipping the breakers.  Then I went back inside, removed the existing thermostat and replaced it with the programmable thermostat.  Make sure to pull the little plastic strip out and to install the batteries that come with it (these batteries will keep your program in the thermostat if you have a power outage).  After I had installed the thermostat, I went back into the garage and flipped the breakers back on.

Once inside, I went through the installation setup menu, setting the date and time and other parameters for the system.  It is from this menu that you can choose to lock the display.  I wish you could do this from any mode, and I also wish you could add a numeric code to lock it as well.

Once set up, the first thing I did is tweak the schedule; the schedule is how the system will help you manage your heating and cooling bill.

The Trane XL800 has four schedules:  Wake, Leave, Return and Sleep.  You set the desired temperature and start for each of these modes, this way you can have the system manage your thermostat for you.  The idea here is so you can make sure that when you wake up, the house is warm or cool.  When away at work or sleeping, you may not want to have your heat as high or your AC as low as you want when you are using your house.  By setting the temperature lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are not there, this will save you money over time.  Even if you only lower it by 3 degrees, there can be a cost savings.  After I have had it for a while, I will check out gas and electric bills to seed if any cost savings is noticed.  Already I notice my furnace running less time than it did in the past.  Since my previous thermostat was a old school one (with a sliding arm),  similar to the one I grew up with, it was hard to set the temp to EXACTLY what you wanted.  With the digital display, it is much easier to hit the desired temp.

The Leave schedule is a bit harder for me to keep the temperature down as I need to keep it comfortable during the day too.  Fortunately, the thermostat doesn’t care if you have it higher at night or lower.  It’s completely flexible to how your family uses their home.

If you are in a schedule and you have to go shopping for 3-4 hours, you can even lower the temperature temporarily.  To do this you first set the temp you want, then set the time you want it to hold the temp until.  Set it to return to the schedule just before the time you arrive, and the house will be back to what it was when you left.  Doing this is another way to keep your system running less and saving you more.

I don’t know why I didn’t get a programmable thermostat sooner.  I love the fine grained control the system gives you over your HVAC and the installation was so easy, even a fumble fingers like myself was able to get it installed and working in less than 20 minutes.  Only time will tell if the thermostat will actually result in a savings on my bills.

The Trane XL800 is available from your Trane dealer; prices (including installation) may vary.  I was also able to find it on eBay for $149.99.

Gear Diary has also been given two Trane XL800’s to give to you, our readers.  To get in on the giveaway, just reply to this post telling me how you would use this thermostat to save money this winter.  Do this by midnight CST January 5th. I will select the winners at random and the winners will be contacted via e-mail.  Giveaway open to those in the US only.

What I liked: EASY installation.  Very easy to program.

What Needs Improvement: Would like to be able to change the name of schedules to make more sense to me.  Would also like a way to lock the display with a security code.

Categories: Reviews


11 replies

  1. We have several of these at my church. Each day is programmable, which is a necessity for a building that isn’t used every day on the same schedule. I think we have the XL900 models.

    We set the temps so the heat kicks in below 50 and A/C kicks in above 85 or so when no one is there. This ensures that the interior of the building isn’t subjected to extreme heat or cold.

    Here’s the most helpful suggestion I can give you for this thermostat. Don’t set it in advance. The thermostat already has a feature built in to anticipate upcoming changes. For example, if you get home at 5:30 PM, you can set the heat at your desired temperature effective 5:30 PM. You don’t need to set it at 4:00 PM or 4:30 PM. If you do, it will come on even earlier and have the place warm long before you actually need it.

    If you see the word “recovery” in the display, that means the thermostat is running based on what the program will be calling for at some point in the near future.

  2. That’s a great review! My wife is always cold and cranks the heat in the morning. When I come home from work, the house is a sauna! I could program the increase and decrease in temperature and save a small fortune with one of these babies!

  3. I would use the Trane thermostat to replace my current thermostat that is really complicated to set up, so complicated that it isn’t even programmed.

    Thanks GD.

  4. We just finished remodeling our house and added a new heat pump upstairs. It sure would be nice to save a little money on my HVAC bill considering I’m now broke, broke, broke!

    But my contractor apparently has a new boat…

  5. Great review! This would be great for our house. Everyday I have to get up early to set the thermostat so it’s not freezing in the morning. With one of these, I could program it the night before so the house would be at a comfortable temperature in the morning. Also this would be a great help because the house is cold after returning home.G

  6. It’s great to set the thermostat so that it will be warm/cool in the areas you want will be in and not waste energy in another area.

  7. I would save money this winter by programming the thermostat to lower temperatures while my kids are in school. I would also lower it at night.

  8. Important Note: This isn’t exclusively a Trane thermostat — it’s an OEM Honeywell thermostat with Trane branding. Honeywell also has an amazing looking full color LCD model that practically looks like a PDA.

  9. Oh, blessed lords of probability, please come through for me on this one because it is colder than a bucket of penguin crap down here in Tennessee this week. We aren’t used to single digits!


  1. Allistair Lee
  2. Trane City Desk