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Typically, Honeywell's intelligent programmable thermostats are equipped with an integrated adaptive smart recovery function. Its purpose is to boost the effectiveness of predefined schedules.

This helps bring temperatures to a comfortable level ahead of the assigned time period. 

So in this guide, I’ll show you its benefits and how to enable it. 

What is the Honeywell Thermostat Recovery Mode?

Thermostats are programmed to achieve a desired temperature by controlling the connected HVAC system. It can take time from triggering the HVAC system to heat or cool, for the ambient room temperature to hit what has been set on the thermostat.

The Honeywell Thermostat recovery mode allows the HVAC system to start heating/cooling before the scheduled time to achieve the planned ambient temperature when needed.

This feature goes by various names, such as Adaptive Intelligent Recovery, Smart Response, and Early Start. It’s also similar to the flashing “Return” mode in older models. 

Without it, your thermostat would disappoint by only starting heating or cooling at the selected time and then taking an hour or two to achieve your desired temperature!

Honeywell Thermostat Hold and Permanent Hold Features

Intelligent Recovery Mode

In smart models, the thermostat really takes the “intelligent” feature to heart as it learns and optimizes the recovery mode so it’s more efficient and tailored exactly to your home’s climate.

Unlike the older models, it won’t always start an hour in advance. After a week or so, it will learn how to readjust itself more efficiently. 

So the early start-up time can be less than an hour or even more. Whatever the case, it will always reach a comfortable temperature at the allotted time.

Situations Where the Recovery Mode is Helpful

The Recovery mode or adaptive recovery is extremely useful when the system is recovering from the “Wake” or “Away” time periods on your schedule. 

For example, if you want your room temperature to be 72° at 7 am. The recovery mode will instruct the thermostat to start heating your room around 6 am which gives the system a full hour to bring the room up to 72°.

Similarly, in Summer, when you have set your thermostat to a lower temperature for the time you return from work, it starts cooling your room before time.

In essence, Honeywell Thermostat Recovery Mode proactively adapts to both your schedule and your home's temperature needs, maximizing efficiency and convenience.

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Benefits of Recovery Mode

There are numerous benefits of the Honeywell thermostat recovery mode.

1. Designed to save energy

For most two-stage style HVAC systems, the recovery mode is designed to be energy efficient. 

Instead of quickly generating and blasting warm or cool air throughout your home, the system gradually alters the temperature up or down.

These incremental changes help put less strain on the system, making it more energy-efficient. 

2. Comfort and Convenience

Using the Honeywell Thermostat recovery mode will provide you comfort by attaining the desired temperatures when you need it. 

Depending on inside and outside conditions, the time it takes to warm up or cool down your home can vary throughout the year. The recovery mode can adjust the time it takes to pre-warm or pre-cool, based on these factors.

Outside of the recovery mode, you can program your thermostat easily so that it works when you need it and remains off when you are out.

3. Less Load on the HVAC System

The Honeywell recovery mode or “Adaptive Intelligent Recovery” system places less load on an HVAC system by not requiring sudden calls for large intense amounts of warm or cool air. This is particularly important for two-stage heating or cooling systems. 

Regular sudden temperature change requests put a heavy load on an HVAC system and this can cause unnecessary wear and tear on the system. 

How to Override or Disable Recovery Mode?

The recovery mode is enabled by default, but you can disable it if needed. 

Below I’ve listed model-specific instructions on how to disable it. You can check these guides or reference the user manual for your specific model here.  

T10 Pro and T9 Models

Smart thermostat with a color touchscreen

T10 Pro 4
  • Labeled As: “Adaptive Recovery”

For the T9 and T10 models, you need to head into the preference menu options to disable the intelligent adaptive recovery feature. Here’s how:

  1. First, wake up the display by touching any part of the screen.
  2. Then, open the main menu by tapping the three horizontal lines located at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Scroll down the list and touch “preferences.”
  4. Pick the setting named: “Adaptive Recovery”
  5. Toggle it “On” or “Off” as desired.
  6. Your changes will be saved, then return to the home screen.
T10 Pro Preferences
Heading into the preferences menu in T9 style thermostats

T6 Pro Smart and T6 Z-Wave

Smart thermostats with touchscreen

T6 Pro Z Wave
  • Labeled as: “RECOVERY”

To toggle the recovery mode on T6 Touch Screen style thermostats:

  1. Press the “Menu” option on the thermostat's home screen.
  2. Swipe through the settings options using the left or right arrows, until you find the setting named “RECOVERY.”
  3. Then, touch on “Select” to head into the recovery mode settings
  4. Use the left and right arrows to toggle the recovery mode between “ON” and “OFF.”
  5. Toggle to the desired setting and touch on “Done” to confirm changes.
T6 Pro Smart Recover
Disabling recovery mode in Honeywell T6 Pro Smart style thermostats

T5+

Smart thermostat with touchscreen

T5 1
  • Labeled As: ISU 425/Smart Response

For the T5+ Model, you might have to do a little extra digging in the installer settings menu (ISU).

So, here’s how to toggle it:

  1. First, access the advanced menu by holding down both MENU and + buttons for about 5 seconds.
  2. After the screen changes, tap on SELECT to enter the system setup (ISU) menu.
  3. Cycle through ISU numbers by pressing SELECT. Until you get to ISU number 425 for Smart Response
  4. Use the + or – buttons to adjust values. 0 for “off” and 1 for “on”
  5. Save changes by moving on to the next ISU number by tapping on SELECT.
  6. To exit the ISU menu and save settings, press HOME.

9000 Series

Smart thermostat with a color touchscreen

9000 series 1 1
  • Labeled as: “Smart Response Technology”

For the 9000 series thermostat with a colored touchscreen: 

  1. Tap MENU to access Preferences.
  2. Choose Smart Response Technology from the list of settings.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to toggle it on or off.
  4. Press Done to save the changes.
9000 series change preferences
Toggling the recovery mode on a Honeywell 9000 series thermostat

VisionPRO 8000

Programmable thermostat with touchscreen

VisionPRO 8000 2
  • Labeled As: “Adaptive Recovery”

For the 8000 Series:

  1. Begin by touching ‘MENU' 
  2. Then choose ‘Preferences' on your thermostat's interface and tap on “Select.”
  3. Scroll down the preferences menu until you come across the ‘Adaptive Recovery' option.
  4. To enable or disable the feature, simply follow the on-screen prompts.
  5. Once you've adjusted the setting to your preference, touch ‘Done' to save your changes and exit the menu.
8000 series change prefs
Changing recovery mode settings on a Honeywell 8000 Series thermostat

RTH6500WF Smart Series

Programmable thermostat

FocusPRO 6000 Series 2
  • Labeled as: “13” for Smart Response Technology in the installer menu

For these older models:

  1. Press and hold the Fan and Up Arrow buttons simultaneously for about 3 seconds,
  2. After the screen changes, tap on “Next” until you see Function Number 13, referring to the Smart Response Technology.
  3. Adjust options for any function by pressing the Up or Down arrows until you see either 1: on or 0: off.
  4. To save your changes and exit, hit “Done.

FAQ

How Long Does it Take for the Recovery Mode to Learn How to Reach the Programmed Temperature?

For the smart models, it usually takes around a week to adjust itself to achieve the perfect temperature at the correct time. This might take longer if the climate is inconsistent.

What are the Disadvantages of Recovery Mode?

In certain instances, recovery mode can become a disadvantage, especially if you don't want the AC or heat pumps kicking in before the set time periods in your schedule. For example: if the HVAC system is particularly noisy, it can be distracting. 

Also, the recovery mode might not always be energy-efficient so to get the most effective use out of recovery mode. As such, it’s always a good idea to adjust the schedules according to their circumstances instead of relying on the default setup. 

Does Recovery Mode Get Disabled by Manual Override?

Yes, it gets overridden when you set up a permanent override. However, it will start back up in the next cycle in the case of temporary override schedules. 

Verdict 

The Recovery mode on Honeywell thermostats helps reach comfortable temperatures in advance, allowing for greater efficiency and comfort. 

Although enabled by default, it can be disabled anytime. So feel free to check my guide above and drop in a comment if you have any questions.

References

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11 Comments

  • Fran
    Posted July 1, 2023 at 3:18 am

    I have the older Honeywell Vision Pro 8000 TH8321U1006. How do I get in the menu in case I ever want to change some thing in the code like shutting off the recovery or brightening the backlit light. I believe they are coal set up functions such as 0280 for the back light 0530 for adaptive, intelligent recovery, etc. I believe you press system and then hold the third and fifth button until the display changes and then touch the upper down arrow to get to the proper function number or code. Thanking you in advance.

  • Christopher
    Posted March 10, 2022 at 5:51 am

    Feature Request: Add a “recovery mode” option when changing the temperature via the mobile app.

    There are times where our family leaves the house for several days to visit with friends and family. We often turn down (or up) the thermostat in order to conserve energy. If it is winter we set the thermostat to 55. If it is summer we set the thermostat to 85.

    When we are on our return trip to home, it would be great if we could activate the smart recovery system and gracefully warm up our home without using auxiliary heat (resistive coils). I know in advance that we are headed home on Sunday, and I can adjust the thermostat from 55 up to 72 on Sunday morning. However, if I do so then the auxiliary heat kicks in.

    I can slowly increase the temperature in our house one degree at a time but that involves the compressor kicking on and off (which is an expensive operation from an electrical load scenario). As a human, I am doing the work a robot can do for me, which is always an opportunity for automation and technical advancement.

    It would be great if the Honeywell product line could allow me to perform an ad-hoc “smart recovery” when I return from being away from my home. I want to slowly warm up my house in an energy efficient manner from 55 degrees to 72 degrees without the use of resistive coils.

    • Daniel Walsh
      Posted May 30, 2023 at 12:14 pm

      100% Agreed – Currently there is not enough flexibility with the Recovery mode when aux heat is in the mix and you can burn money needlessly.

  • Davea0511
    Posted November 24, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    On my Honeywell T4 thermostat you turn of recovery mode (adaptive intelligent recovery) by going into the installer setup (ISU) by hitting the middle bottom button and plus button for 3 seconds, then hit select until you get to 425, then down arrow to change the setting to 0. Keep clicking select after that until you get to “done” and hit select.

    • Liz
      Posted January 21, 2022 at 3:45 am

      Thank you davea0511! You’re a lifesaver! Couldn’t find it anywhere not even the manual

    • CD
      Posted February 3, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! It worked!!!!

    • Daniel Walsh
      Posted May 30, 2023 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks Dave! I’ve updated the article to reflect this info. Appreciate it

  • Dave
    Posted December 26, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    My Honeywell thermostat is using adaptive intelligent recovery to operate a two stage geothermal heat pump with electric resistance auxiliary heat. Is there a way to program the stat to prevent it from using the electric resistance heat during the recovery?

    • David H
      Posted November 19, 2021 at 5:16 pm

      I also need the answer to this question since I have a single stage heat pump and don’t want the resistance heating coming on at all.

    • Daniel Walsh
      Posted May 30, 2023 at 12:13 pm

      Hi Dave, I don’t think there is. For the T10 for example, the manual talks about 2 ramps or thresholds, one for the compressor and one for the auxiliary heat. When the room temp intersects the compressor ramp, the compressor turns on and if it doesn’t climb fast enough and hits the second ramp, the auxiliary heat turns on. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to modify the values of these ramps / thresholds. So you may need to disable Recovery mode to avoid using aux heat.
      REF: https://smarthomeperfected.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/T10-Pro-UG.pdf

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