I installed the Ecobee Internet Enabled Smart Thermostat a few months ago. Now that I have been using the Ecobee a while I can say without hesitation that I love it! There are 2 components. The first one is the equipment interface module that goes in the basement to connect to the heating and cooling equipment seen here attached to my cold air return:
The equipment interface module provides the wiring connections from the thermostat in the house to the actual heating and cooling equipment. Also, the equipment interface module provides the wireless connection to the internet so that you can control the Ecobee smart thermostat using their website (free) or a smartphone app (also free). I have adjusted the temperature many times using my iPhone if I plan to arrive home early before the next program takes effect, or if we turned up the heat and we forgot to turn it down before leaving the house.
The second piece of hardware is the actual Ecobee smart thermostat that is mounted on the wall in the living area:
Here is a view from the top so you can see the shape of the Ecobee. Also, notice the reset button hole near the left side of top:
Here is a closeup of the Ecobee’s main screen:
The Ecobee smart thermostat has a touchscreen interface like smartphones. Although the touchscreen is not as high quality as my iPhone touchscreen, it is adequate. The original Ecobee I received had a very squishy touchscreen, but I returned it and they replaced it with this newer version which is noticeably better.
Using the buttons on the bottom of the main screen you can change the temperature setting using the slider. You can also configure it to ask you if the temp change is temporary or permanent and it will give you several choices:
You can check the weather from the main screen:
If you touch the Details button on main screen you will see current temp, humidity, set temp, and fan status. You can also touch Fan to change the fan settings:
You can use the Program feature to see your schedule and desired temps, and touching More on the Ecobee will give you a couple more choices including About:
From the About screen, you can get to the WiFi settings:
Go Back to the More screen, and you can get to the most important area for this smart thermostat, Settings:
You will configure all of your detailed settings from the sub-menus on this screen. We have a geothermal heat pump, so the flexibility of these settings are critical to our overall energy savings and comfort.
I also have the Ecobee thermostat set to issue alerts (which are delivered via email and/or on the screen if you want).
The Advanced Settings are where the real fun begins. Since it costs more to run in stage 2, I have mine set up to run in state 1 at least 30 minutes before kicking up to stage 2. Also, the temperature difference between the set point and actual temp must be at least 2 degrees.
And most importantly, to ensure the heat pump compressor does not short cycle (longer run times are most efficient and less wear and tear on the compressor), I use the detailed settings on the Ecobee smart thermostat to control how long the compressor runs, and how much time in between stopping and starting again. Here you can see I have it set up to run at least 10 minutes, in stage 1 of course 😀 :
Then to ensure the geothermal heat pump has sufficient time between runs to help ensure the longevity of the compressor, I set the minimum cycle off time to 10 minutes.
Also, as you can see above, I currently allow for a little larger temperature swings of 1.5 degrees. Some people would prefer smaller swings, but the Ecobee is great because it allows all of these settings to be fully customized.
To sum up, the Ecobee is the smart thermostat that I have been waiting for. Numerous customized settings and programs, internet-enabled, controllable via the Ecobee website portal or my iPhone app, and email alerts to inform me of unexpected changes in household conditions. If the heat goes off, the Ecobee will send an email to you when the temp drops below your specified amount.
Feel free to drop me a note in the comment area with any questions if you are considering purchasing the Ecobee smart thermostat, I have played around with the settings quite a bit and understand the Ecobee’s capabilities quite well.