[reminder : These reviews are from internet – from different stores’ websites. These are not my own reviews]
Definitely better than my Nest was., December 5, 2012 (4 stars)
172 of 179 people found the following review helpful
After weeks of putting up with two flaky Nest Learning Thermostat – 2nd Generation T200577 units, I gave up on Nest and decided to give this a shot. So far, it’s been pretty decent.
Since the two are similarly-priced, and there are lots of reviews about each model, I’ll offer a comparison.
Without question, this is harder to install than a Nest. In saying that though, some people are going to find the installation much easier than others.
First, the ecobee has a relatively large panel that needs to go “somewhere” between your furnace and thermostat. For my setup, my furnace and thermostat share different sides of the same wall. So, wiring could have been as simple as cutting the thermostat line somewhere in the middle, wiring up R/W/G/Y in the panel, and using the remaining wire to do +/-/I/O to the thermostat.
The tricky part is getting power to the panel. I decided I was going to run a common wire, and after changing out the physical wire, I realized that I didn’t know as much about 24V as I thought. Now, I *could* learn some more about HVAC wiring, or I *could* check and see if I have a 12V wall wort type of transformer.
Sure enough, I had a 12V transformer from an old Linksys router, and my power problem was easily solved. Then I connected my humidifier to the first ACC terminals, and I was set.
The Nest, on the other hand, required no wire cutting, and draws power from the existing wiring. However, it’s notoriously unstable. Om my particular system, it would complain about improper wiring for ten minutes or more, if the power had been cut. Others have reported the battery slowly discharging. Easy to install, not so easy to maintain.
The Nest tries to learn when you come and go, and when you adjust the thermostat, and creates schedules accordingly. In my experience, it creates them totally wrong — not noticing for hours when the house is empty, arbitrarily turning on the heat to a temperature it had never been set to, allowing a wide variance on either side of the temperature you set it at.
The ecobee, on the other hand, tries to learn how your house and furnace work. It isn’t going to learn that you like it to be 73 when you first wake up, but it is going to learn how long it takes to make sure your house is 73 when you tell it you wake up.
Both Nest and ecobee offer a web interface. Nest is bright, clear, and easy to use. It’s like using Apple’s iCloud service. On the other hand, ecobee is full of options that aren’t necessarily clear to laypeople, was designed for someone data-driven, and is as inviting as reconfiguring your home router for fun.
On the IOS / Android side, Nest presents a smaller (though fully-functional) version of their web interface. Brilliantly, ecobee did just the opposite. Their mobile application presents an interface that looks just like your thermostat’s interface. Very, very smart.
Nest shows you a cute daily bar that represents 24 hours in a day. When there’s a red slash, the furnace was on. Blue for A/C. Some days, you’ll get an arbitrary leaf.
Fire up Microsoft Excel 2010 if you want to get granular with the ecobee, because every five minutes, it logs:
*System Setting (heat / cool / off)
*System Mode (compressor, heating stage, etc.)
*Cool Set Temp
*Heat Set Temp
*Actual Temp (accurate within 1/10 degree)
*Humidity Set Point
*Cool Stage1 (seconds)
*Heat Stage1 (seconds)
So, you wind up with something that looks like this:
Date Time System Setting System Mode Calendar Event Program Mode Cool Set Temp (F) Heat Set Temp (F) Current Temp (F) Humidity Set Point (%RH) Current Humidity (%RH) Outdoor Temp (F) Wind Speed (km/h) Cool Stage 1 (sec) Heat Stage 1 (sec) Fan (sec) Humidifier (sec) DM Offset
12/3/2012 0:00:00 cool compressorCoolOff Kevin Up 72 68 71.8 0 49 45 0 0 0 120 0
12/3/2012 0:05:00 cool compressorCoolOff Kevin Up 72 68 71.9 0 50 45 0 0 0 0 0
12/3/2012 0:10:00 cool compressorCoolOff Kevin Up 72 68 71.9 0 49 45 0 0 0 270 0
12/3/2012 0:15:00 cool compressorCoolOff Kevin Up 72 68 71.8 0 50 45 0 0 0 180 0
It’s exportable as a CSV, or if you want to scour your info from ecobee’s page, it looks like they’ve got some RRDTool implementation running.
The Nest is the one that’s going to impress. It feels substantial, it looks beautiful, and any monkey can use it.
This thermostat is the one that makes people say “…but it has a great personality, and really nice hair”. The interface looks and feels about a decade old, the touchscreen is more than a little temperamental about registering taps, and the unit itself ls flimsy plastic to Nest’s steel and glass.
I’m reserving some judgement to see how my next bill looks. The Nest actually increased my electric bill, and kept my gas bill at the same usage as my previous furnace, which was rated at 15% lower AFUE. Like the Nest, and its eight updates, I plan to update this.
If you put a gun to my head, I’d say the ecobee is the more serious thermostat. So far, I’d buy it again.
I noticed a request or two for an update, so here goes…
Now that I’ve had the Ecobee for a while, my gas usage is down 30% year-over-year. Part of that is a more efficient furnace from last year. But when comparing to the Nest I had, my gas usage went down in spite of the weather getting colder. So the actual Ecobee-vs-Nest savings is fairly substantial.
What I like the most, though, is that the Ecobee lets you get very granular. Want the fan to operate for 15 minutes out of every hour? No problem. Want to set up different temperatures every half hour? Done. Need the humidifier to operate independently of the heat? Just connect the wires to the brain board.
So in addition to saving gas, I’m also able to circulate the air — keeping the temperature even throughout the house, and filtering it — and make a nighttime schedule that drops from 72 to 65 so gently, you’d hardly notice. There’s something psychological about hearing the air circulate, I guess.
As far as intelligence and reporting, there’s so much, it’s probably easier to type out what’s on the HomeIQ page:
First, you get the crazy metrics I pointed out above, presented in a graph.
Then, another runtime report that charts how long your HVAC system ran, and another tab that adjusts the runtime to external temperature.
And then… insights (and I’m typing these out as they appear):
Your Ecobee saved you 4%
Your Ecobee rating: **** / ***** (This is a calculation of how your house retains heat)
Your system ran 7% less than the average for your state / province
In January, your heating ran for 124 hours. This was 43 hours more than the previous month.
Your performance is influenced by a number of factors:
1) Weather — In January, your average weather was 27.1 degrees Fahrenheit. This was 5.7 degrees colder than the previous month.
2) Weekly Schedule — In January, your average heat setpoint was 70.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This was 0.3 degrees warmer than the previous month.
It’s all displayed as infographics, and looks really sharp. Compared to “You got a leaf for today”, Nest really can’t hold a candle to it.
All things considered, this is the thermostat for any true geek who wants to build an insanely custom HVAC system, or for someone who enjoys never having to check the thermostat, because the temperature is so well-balanced after investing some programming time. I’d absolutely buy this again.
I LOVE this thermostat!, May 12, 2011 (5 stars)
95 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Yes, this is a pricey thermostat – there is no disputing that but, this isn’t a clunky time clock that just adjusts the temperature set point a few times a day either. Plain and simple, it’s a computer to monitor and control your home environment and it does this very well. Continue reading »