Home & Garden

upgrade to Ecobee smart thermostat worthwhile?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 20th, 2018 11:11 am
[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 2, 2006
1230 posts
164 upvotes

upgrade to Ecobee smart thermostat worthwhile?

Hi,

Not sure if this goes here or under Elecronics. Will move if this is the wrong forum.

I currently have programmable thermostats (wake, leave, return, night, can program individual days). We picked up a couple of the Ecobee3 thermostats recently on sale (Lowes says they are discontinued as only Ecobee4 will be available going forward). We haven't installed them yet because I am not sure how much energy savings we will actually get out of the Ecobee.

For the time being there is usually someone home during the day so I don't see the "away" feature saving us money. The rest of the features I don't think will be much different from my existing programmable thermostats?

We thought about getting the Ecobee4 for the Alexa feature but from what I have read Google Home is superior to Amazon Echo, at least in Canada.

What do RFDers think?

Thank you!
95 replies
Temp. Banned
Dec 19, 2009
3515 posts
1498 upvotes
Most people don't realize an energy savings from the ecobee, they just like to be able to turn their furnace on from their bed and things like that.
Sr. Member
Feb 20, 2011
543 posts
134 upvotes
downtown TO
i have one about 2 years now and love it...i didnt buy it for the energy saving but i have checked my savings in the app and it says i saved $126 in the 2 years
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 2, 2001
3166 posts
491 upvotes
GTA
crustydragon wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 2:16 am
For the time being there is usually someone home during the day so I don't see the "away" feature saving us money.
That's the only way you save money, by not turning on the furnace. If you program a $20 thermostat the same way you program these smart ones then you wont save any money. These thermostats are only good for people who don't know what they're doing, so they let the thermostat do it for them.
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
12699 posts
4387 upvotes
Toronto, ON
shabby wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 10:24 am
That's the only way you save money, by not turning on the furnace. If you program a $20 thermostat the same way you program these smart ones then you wont save any money. These thermostats are only good for people who don't know what they're doing, so they let the thermostat do it for them.
I'm sorry but that's insulting and not accurate. People who don't know what they are doing would not be the ones getting a smart thermostat because they don't have the know-how or the desire to fiddle around with something like that. They are more inclined to leave a regular thermostat in place and not have to program it or touch it ever.

Saving money is only one part of a smart thermostat's appeal, and the amount of money you save will depend on each household's patterns and comfort level. If no one is in the house all day, or if your family can tolerate a colder house, then you'll save more money. The beauty of a smart thermostat is how it integrates in a home automation environment that gives you the ability to control & automate the function of your furnance or air conditioner without having to manually adjust its settings. As an example, my Ecobee3 is integrated into my SmartThings hub. The moment both my wife and I step out of the house and the ST hub goes to away mode, it switches the Ecobee to Away mode as well, which holds the temp. settings at a higher threshold, which means it won't kick in as often, saving money while the house is empty. Even without being integrated into a ST hub, and just on its own, it has a smart away feature where it uses remote sensors to check if the house is empty or not. If it doesn't detect occupancy, it will switch itself to away mode.

The other appeal to having a smart thermostat is comfort. If your house has hot or cold spots, then placing a remote sensor in that room will allow the Ecobee to fire up the furnace or A/C if someone is occupying that space. Some people may argue that this would mean overheating or overcooling the rest of the house, and in fact that's true. Without being able to control the flow of air to a particular part of the house, that's the limitation it faces for the majority of the households. But at least it will apply temperature averaging so that it won't overheat or overcool the rest of the house. It will try to keep the whole house within a user-defined comfort setting. Again, all this is done by the smart thermostat, without the user having to manually adjust the settings or override the controls.

So to answer the OP's question, it really depends on your household's patterns. If you and the family leaves the house regularly (school, work, activities, weekend trips, etc.) then having a smart thermostat means you don't need to manually adjust your thermostat whenever you leave the house, and you avoid having the furnace/A/C run when your actual schedule doesn't match the one you program into your thermostat. Because our schedules rarely matches the limited wake/leave/return/night settings that a dumb thermostat will have available for you to program.

And Ecobee tracks all your indoor/outdoor/sensor/occupancy data from its main thermostat and remote sensors, and tracks your energy usage and cost savings.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 2, 2001
3166 posts
491 upvotes
GTA
rvs007 wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 12:26 pm
I'm sorry but that's insulting and not accurate.
I'm happy that you're insulated and not accurate.
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
12699 posts
4387 upvotes
Toronto, ON
shabby wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 12:37 pm
I'm happy that you're insulated and not accurate.
Insulation plays a huge part in a comfortable home too Smiling Face With Open Mouth And Smiling Eyes
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 8, 2005
5539 posts
452 upvotes
i have a nest (sorry ecobee fans) for 2 years.

It does provide significant saving to my home heating and cooling, since i am not always home. Programming a dumb thermostat is a pain, so i end up leaving the temperature at 22 year round and +/- 1 if more heating (or cooling) is needed.

With a nest, I can do the programming on an app, much faster and easier. With geofencing, nest will override programming and kick on when i am approaching home earlier.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 2, 2006
1230 posts
164 upvotes
Thank you for the feedback.

Wife is on mat leave so energy savings probably won't be significant. I do like the ability to monitor / change setting from anywhere but not sure if we should wait until we are at the stage when kids are older and newer technology becomes available?

I bought Ecobee3 because they are getting cleared out and are on sale - although missed the better discount with Lowes.ca. Not sure what else they can do to make these thermostats better? Thought about getting Ecobee4 for the Alexa integration but wife is paranoid about the Big Brother listening in. haha.
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
12699 posts
4387 upvotes
Toronto, ON
crustydragon wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 11:29 pm
Thank you for the feedback.

Wife is on mat leave so energy savings probably won't be significant. I do like the ability to monitor / change setting from anywhere but not sure if we should wait until we are at the stage when kids are older and newer technology becomes available?

I bought Ecobee3 because they are getting cleared out and are on sale - although missed the better discount with Lowes.ca. Not sure what else they can do to make these thermostats better? Thought about getting Ecobee4 for the Alexa integration but wife is paranoid about the Big Brother listening in. haha.
Between the Ecobee 3 and 4, the only difference is the Alexa integration. You can get that function with a $49.99 Echo Dot, which doesn't get tied down to one location (where your thermostat is located). And I'm pretty sure the price difference between the Ecobee 3 and 4 is more than $50, so you're coming out ahead with a Ecobee 3 plus a Echo Dot than an Ecobee 4.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 2, 2006
1230 posts
164 upvotes
rvs007 wrote:
Dec 26th, 2017 11:47 pm
Between the Ecobee 3 and 4, the only difference is the Alexa integration. You can get that function with a $49.99 Echo Dot, which doesn't get tied down to one location (where your thermostat is located). And I'm pretty sure the price difference between the Ecobee 3 and 4 is more than $50, so you're coming out ahead with a Ecobee 3 plus a Echo Dot than an Ecobee 4.
Thank you.

Price difference currently is $219 for Ecobee3 and $329 for Ecobee4. Ecobee4 can be had for $199 USD right now.

Too bad Ecobee doesn't give the option of Google Home integration. From what I have read Google Home seems better, at least in Canada.
Deal Guru
Aug 26, 2002
12699 posts
4387 upvotes
Toronto, ON
crustydragon wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 12:28 am
Thank you.

Price difference currently is $219 for Ecobee3 and $329 for Ecobee4. Ecobee4 can be had for $199 USD right now.

Too bad Ecobee doesn't give the option of Google Home integration. From what I have read Google Home seems better, at least in Canada.
There is Google Home integration. It was recently announced/released.

https://smartthermostatguide.com/ecobee ... home-mini/
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2004
1240 posts
63 upvotes
Toronto
I am loving mine. With the remote sensor i can set the house temperature based off the sleeping areas. I keep my bedroom door closed and normally the room overheats. With the ecobee i can set the bedroom temp and the rest of the house will stay cooler while it keeps my room comfortable for me. Also when my nest protect goes off i can stop the furnace from running. When the wife gets cold she tells my google home to change the temp.

It might not be for everyone but I'm getting my money's worth.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Apr 2, 2006
1230 posts
164 upvotes
crazdefool wrote:
Dec 27th, 2017 10:48 am
I am loving mine. With the remote sensor i can set the house temperature based off the sleeping areas. I keep my bedroom door closed and normally the room overheats. With the ecobee i can set the bedroom temp and the rest of the house will stay cooler while it keeps my room comfortable for me. Also when my nest protect goes off i can stop the furnace from running. When the wife gets cold she tells my google home to change the temp.

It might not be for everyone but I'm getting my money's worth.
Too bad I don't have a scenario like yours. My 2 year-old son's room is cold and ours is hot. Our thermostat sits in the hallway. If we put sensor in his room then our room overheats and if we put it in our room his will be cold. Ecobee is supposed to balance out if we have multiple sensors but not really sure how that works because it's on the same ductwork and furnace.

May not be a good idea for wife to have remote control. She likes it warm while I prefer it cooler :)

Top