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Help me understand Smart Thermostats like EcoBee3

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[OP]
Member
Mar 18, 2015
229 posts
179 upvotes
Mississauga, ON

Help me understand Smart Thermostats like EcoBee3

So there was a sale of the EcoBee3 a few days ago and it was the lowest it's been in a long while and everyone got excited.
Can someone help me understand what the advantages are over say just a dumb thermostat.

I work from home most days. I go into the office when I need to attend a face to face meeting.
So with a dumb thermostat, I don't really have a setting for away because I'm home. When I do go to the office for the day, I either 1) forget to set that I'm away, or 2) I do set it, but when I get home, I have to wait a while until the temperature is where I want it.
I don't really have much of a pattern. So this thing detects my phone. Great. This scenario is now covered.

Multiple room sensors.
I don't know how this is beneficial to my scenario.
I have a forced air system. Temperature between my bedroom and living room are different. I can put a sensor in the living room, and a sensor in my bedroom. But now what? One room is going to be either hot/cold while the other room is going to be the temperature I want it.
Not sure how that's going to help me. Can someone help me understand how a smart thermostat with multiple sensors help me.

Thanks
10 replies
[OP]
Member
Mar 18, 2015
229 posts
179 upvotes
Mississauga, ON
$269 + tax at bestbuy
and $100 rebate from Enbridge.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 14, 2010
1718 posts
1193 upvotes
Barrie ON
I use the Ecobee to set a comfortable temperature in the bedroom automatically each night from 10:00 PM until 7:00AM. As you said, the temperature can be different in the living room and the bedroom (especially in a 2 story house), and that is the exact reason the Ecobee multi-sensor is so valuable. What you really want is a comfortable temperature in the bedroom at night and you needn't be concerned if the living room is hotter or cooler.

I normally don't change the temperature whenever I leave the house for a few hours, but if I plan on leaving for a full day or longer (i.e. vacation), the Ecobee will let me set the times that I will be away, and I can determine what temperature I want while I'm away, and what I want when I return home.

During the summer months I just have the system turn off completely during my absence, and in the winter I allow the temperature to drop to about 10 degrees. The great thing about this feature is that I can program my vacation period weeks ahead of the actual date so that I don't have to remember to do it the morning we leave. If I forget to change the settings, or I plan on returning home earlier, I can still make the changes from anywhere in the world. I can also connect remotely to view the current temperature and relative humidity.

Another useful feature are the charts that are created. I can see how often my furnace or AC turn on/off each day, and compare the number of cycles to the outdoor temperature.

It can also be tied in with IFTTT to send you email alerts when certain events happen, such as the temperature getting close to freezing, or when someone alters the settings on the thermostat.
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2007
2624 posts
1615 upvotes
Alliston, ON
I have a nest, not a ecobee so I can't comment on the effectiveness of the remote sensors, but the seem like a gimmick to me.
Unless you have smart vents, that open and close to direct the air to certain rooms/sections of the house, then the remote sensors are pointless. The same thing can be achieved with setting a schedule. At 10pm set temp to 74 from 76 to cool the bedrooms even more. Even though it may take you a few hours to feel any difference in temperature in the upper floors.

The ecobee does have some great features though. I like the idea of getting reports to know how much your furnace ran and what time of the day it turned on and off. The nest does the same, but you can save any of the graphs and they are only good for the previous 7 days
Member
Oct 14, 2007
373 posts
47 upvotes
restie wrote: So there was a sale of the EcoBee3 a few days ago and it was the lowest it's been in a long while and everyone got excited.
Can someone help me understand what the advantages are over say just a dumb thermostat.

I work from home most days. I go into the office when I need to attend a face to face meeting.
So with a dumb thermostat, I don't really have a setting for away because I'm home. When I do go to the office for the day, I either 1) forget to set that I'm away, or 2) I do set it, but when I get home, I have to wait a while until the temperature is where I want it.
I don't really have much of a pattern. So this thing detects my phone. Great. This scenario is now covered.

Multiple room sensors.
I don't know how this is beneficial to my scenario.
I have a forced air system. Temperature between my bedroom and living room are different. I can put a sensor in the living room, and a sensor in my bedroom. But now what? One room is going to be either hot/cold while the other room is going to be the temperature I want it.
Not sure how that's going to help me. Can someone help me understand how a smart thermostat with multiple sensors help me.

Thanks
In a properly balanced house the sensors won't matter. The temperature should be relatively constant in each room and floor. That being said - this is rarely the case. Therefore the sensor is really a way to prioritize what the system thinks the temperature is. So it may push other areas of the home our of the desired range if it's trying to heat/cool the far corner of the house to a targeted temperature.

Where it gets awesome is if you get Keen home vents. Link it with the Ecobee and now you really have a system that can target specific rooms with a specific temperature.

I have a Nest. I geofence it with my family so that if all their cell phones leave a radius of 3km around the Nest, the thermostat goes into away mode. If one cell phone comes within 3KM, it goes into "home mode".
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
5755 posts
3589 upvotes
One really handy feature about the ecobee that rarely gets discussed is that it can control your humidifier in the winter , and continually adjust the target humidity based on the outside temperature to avoid getting condensation on your windows.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
13006 posts
9963 upvotes
Edmonton
Not every device is built for everybody's situation. You might not be an ideal smart thermostat user. If you're home more often than you're gone, and you don't want to bother with a geo-fence to turn your thermostat up and down, you're probably just as well off with a programmable one.

I've got a smart thermostat. Nice features are being able to adjust the temperature from anywhere (multi-story house) and the fact that after adjusting the temperature, when the next cycle hits, it automatically resets the adjustment. But the second part is likely a typical programmable thermostat feature.

I might try the smart vents, but frankly, our ventilation system seems to struggle too much to blow air up to the sleeping area to make it worthwhile. But maybe they would help with that, by shutting down the vents that are allowing "too cold" rooms to happen.

C
Sr. Member
Jan 15, 2013
890 posts
158 upvotes
Mississauga
restie wrote: So there was a sale of the EcoBee3 a few days ago and it was the lowest it's been in a long while and everyone got excited.
Can someone help me understand what the advantages are over say just a dumb thermostat.

I work from home most days. I go into the office when I need to attend a face to face meeting.
So with a dumb thermostat, I don't really have a setting for away because I'm home. When I do go to the office for the day, I either 1) forget to set that I'm away, or 2) I do set it, but when I get home, I have to wait a while until the temperature is where I want it.
I don't really have much of a pattern. So this thing detects my phone. Great. This scenario is now covered.

Multiple room sensors.
I don't know how this is beneficial to my scenario.
I have a forced air system. Temperature between my bedroom and living room are different. I can put a sensor in the living room, and a sensor in my bedroom. But now what? One room is going to be either hot/cold while the other room is going to be the temperature I want it.
Not sure how that's going to help me. Can someone help me understand how a smart thermostat with multiple sensors help me.

Thanks
It's barely a deal (?) reg price is already 299 and they've been running that Enbridge deal for quite a while
Member
Apr 30, 2004
272 posts
78 upvotes
It is not that smart...
It does not detect your phone. You can control it from an app on your phone.
To better understand sensors...
I have a small room with a desktop computer. It is summer now, computer heats up that small room a lot. I Have a sensor in that room an sensor in the liv ing room. Termostat is at 19C.
So, if I work from that small room Ecobee will detect me and run an AC to cool it down to 19C . But the whole house will be cooling down too, so after 2 hours it will be about 16C in the living room- no heater (computer there).
To detect my phone leaving and coming back I use Samsung Smartthings hub, that controlls Ecobee.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 5, 2009
5755 posts
3589 upvotes
Naz wrote: It is not that smart...
It does not detect your phone. You can control it from an app on your phone.
To better understand sensors...
I have a small room with a desktop computer. It is summer now, computer heats up that small room a lot. I Have a sensor in that room an sensor in the liv ing room. Termostat is at 19C.
So, if I work from that small room Ecobee will detect me and run an AC to cool it down to 19C . But the whole house will be cooling down too, so after 2 hours it will be about 16C in the living room- no heater (computer there).
To detect my phone leaving and coming back I use Samsung Smartthings hub, that controlls Ecobee.
You can also use IFTTT with the Ecobee to open up a bunch of possibilities based on your phones location and coming and going.

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