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There has been a tremendous amount of innovation in recent years when it comes to heating and cooling. Spearheading this advancement, in many respects, are smart thermostats. There’s one name when it comes to smart home thermostats that absolutely cannot be ignored: Ecobee
Ecobee has proven itself an industry leader in the smart home space and has become my thermostat of choice. Once you’ve tasted the convenience, you immediately understand what the hype is about. In all seriousness, the thought of reverting back to a traditional thermostat would be akin to using a rotary dial house phone.
The most basic thermostats are designed for simple temperature triggers and scheduling. Smart thermostats can be controlled and monitored from anywhere using your mobile device. They also have a ton of energy-efficient home automation features and third-party integrations. For instance, the ability to control your temperature with your voice using Alexa, Google Nest or Apple Homekit.
As a matter of fact, if you’re looking to bring the smart home of your dreams to fruition, a smart thermostat can be the most logical starting point. A quality thermostat will ensure that you are comfortable in your home and will also have a positive impact on your household budget.
While there are enough options to leave you spoilt for choice, it is important that you make an educated decision based on your needs.
Ecobee offers some of the best and most intuitive smart thermostat options available. Packed with a range of unique and impressive features, Ecobee thermostats are not only convenient to operate, but also energy-efficient and nicely priced.
What Is An Ecobee Thermostat?
An Ecobee Smart Thermostat is a device that uses smart sensors and third-party, digital integrations to control the climate conditions in your home. They are said to increase energy efficiency and give you the ability to control your home’s temperature from virtually anywhere using your smartphone.
In addition to thermostats and temperature sensors, Ecobee also makes air filters and home monitoring equipment.
The thermostat’s remote sensors can be deployed in multiple areas of your home to not only monitor and control the temperature in those areas but also detect occupancy. Geofencing uses your mobile device’s location, allowing Ecobee to know when you’re leaving the house (or returning), so that it may adjust the climate accordingly.
With the addition of a smart speaker, you can control your Ecobee using voice commands. Compatible smart assistants include Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT and SmartThings.
Ecobee’s website claims to save up to 23% on your heating and cooling bill. That’s not only a great savings for you, it’s also great for the environment.
How Do Smart Thermostats Work?
Smart Thermostats work by connecting to the internet via your home’s WiFi connection. This allows for settings to be controlled with the thermostat’s mobile app companion or compatible third-party smart devices. These other devices that share the same WiFi network could be smart speakers with built-in voice assistants, remote temperature sensors, motion detectors, smart vents, etc.
Does Ecobee Require An Internet Connection?
An Ecobee smart thermostat can technically function with or without an internet connection. However, it is recommended to use it with an active internet connection if you want to make the most of its smart features and functionality.
If your internet connection drops, the Ecobee will operate as a traditional thermostat would. The following features, however, will not be operable in the event of an internet outage:
- any control, interaction or push notifications using your mobile device or the Ecobee website
- voice control with most smart speakers
- smart home/away via your mobile device geofence.
Basically, you will have to walk to the device to adjust temperature like a caveman, but it is otherwise fine (Talk about first world problems!). Without an internet connection, your Ecobee loses its smart features and becomes a traditional thermostat.
You would still be able to monitor your home temperature and humidity information. However, your HVAC controls would only be accessible through physical access at your wall panel.
Unfortunately, your internet connection is what allows you to enjoy a whole host of smart features.
Can Ecobee Control A Humidifier?
Some Ecobee models are capable of controlling a humidifier, but you have to make sure you use the correct model. These are the Ecobee thermostats you’ll want to operate a humidifier:
- ecobee3 (not the “ecobee3 lite” version)
- ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control
As the Ecobee has a humidity sensor that analyzes the current humidity in real-time, it can make a lot of sense to use it to control a humidifier when the humidity drops below a certain threshold. However, not all Ecobee models are capable of this.
The Ecobee product line includes the Ecobee3 Lite, a stripped-down, value-oriented version of the smart thermostat. If you own this model, it is not possible to control a humidifier. Humidifier compatibility requires the thermostat to have integrated ACC terminals which the Lite lacks. However, the full-featured Ecobee models all have this terminal.
So, if you have the standard Ecobee3, Ecobee4, or Ecobee SmartThermostat With Voice Control, you can directly connect your humidifier to your thermostat in a few easy steps*.
Your humidifier can then communicate directly with your Ecobee and you can use the Ecobee interface to set humidity points. The thermostat will then monitor your humidity levels and engage or disengage the humidifier whenever needed.
*This is assuming you have your humidifier installed already. You may want to consult a professional for installation otherwise.
Ecobee offers a selection of sensors that can work in tandem with their smart thermostats and cameras. These connect wirelessly to one or more Ecobee devices in your home to provide enhanced features and security.
The SmartSensor from Ecobee detects temperature in other areas of the house, aside from just the room your thermostat is placed in. It also detects the motion and occupancy of a room. So, if you have a sensor in your bedroom and you prefer the temperature to be at 70 degrees, the thermostat can detect that you are in the bedroom and make sure that it’s 70 degrees specifically in your bedroom. It may be 72 degrees in the room with your thermostat, but you aren’t in that room.
The Ecobee SmartSensor For Doors and Windows can inform you if a particular door or window is open or closed. It can also register unexpected entries and exits. You can configure these to automatically trigger a notification to your phone whenever there is activity. When combined with Ecobee SmartCameras, this becomes a home monitoring and security solution in addition to climate control.
It is important to note that you need to be subscribed to Ecobee’s Haven service to use the home monitoring features.
What is Ecobee Haven?
Ecobee Haven is a self-monitoring, home security service that sends you instant notifications when there has been activity in your home. You can be notified if a window has been opened, the smoke detector has gone off, the kids have arrived home from school and more. With their SmartCameras you can instantly check the video feed from your phone to make sure everything is secure.
Which Ecobee Should I Get?
If you are considering getting an Ecobee smart thermostat for your home, I would recommend the SmartThermostat with voice control (found here on Amazon). This is really the 5th generation Ecobee. They improved on some of the features of its predecessor, the Ecobee4.
This model is sporting a bigger, better-sounding speaker and the full functionality of a built-in Alexa. Unlike the Ecobee 4, you can utilize Alexa’s Calling, Messaging and Drop-In features. You can play music from Amazon, Pandora, iHeart, Spotify, and more, either straight through the device or connect to an external speaker via BlueTooth. Did I mention it can control your HVAC also?!
Live Life Comfortably
When it comes to providing a wide range of functions and an easy-to-use interface in a budget, the Ecobee remains a leader amidst other smart thermostat solutions. With years of credibility to its name, it is a great choice for someone looking to get started with or enhance their smart home experience.
The newest Ecobee SmartThermostat improves upon all the best features of previous generations and introduces new ones such as the full functionality of its built-in Alexa voice assistant, making it ideal for your smart thermostat needs.