[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.
Prior to purchase…
The Ecobee website (ecobee.com) has links to download the installation and operating manuals and is well worth a look prior to purchasing the unit. There are no fewer than a dozen different wiring diagrams for various single or multi-stage configurations including heat pumps.
I purchased the EB-STAT-02 for my vacation home. I may use the home on the weekend, a couple of weeks in a row or, I may not visit for a month. A traditional “time clock” thermostat just doesn’t fill the need – I may as well just have a conventional thermostat and deal with waiting for the system to adjust when I arrive.
Complicating my irregular visitation and use of the house, I have a somewhat unique 2 stage heating / 1 stage cooling system. Not that it’s all that “unique”, it’s just not typical. I have a hydronic radiant floor heating system as stage 1 that is augmented by electric forced air as stage 2. Cooling is via a single stage forced air system. A radiant floor heating system is very slow to react to significant temperature changes. What this means is that if I just drop in unplanned for a winter weekend, the weekend may be over before the stage 1 temperature to comes up to its set point. The ability to adjust the settings remotely is *huge* for me. (I know, I know – radiant floor heating for a vacation home?? It’s a future retirement home too!)
Given the fact that there is no industry color standard for control wiring for residential heating and air conditioning, the installation for my system was likely more difficult than most will ever experience. Did I mention that I also have sensors for the floor slab temperature and outdoor temperature adding 4 more wires into the mix? (I purchased the remote sensor module add-on for up to 4 external sensors.) This is where Ecobee’s tech support comes in. Even though the Ecobee website is up front about urging you to find a contractor in your area to install your stat and the warranty contains the standard disclaimers to discourage DIY’ers, Ecobee’s tech support was great. I communicated with them via email since I wasn’t at the house and I was pre-planning. I emailed them diagrams of my previous stat wiring and what I thought was the correct new wiring, asking for opinions. They identified a jumper that I needed for proper staging. Email responses weren’t instantaneous, it took a day or so but, if I was in a hurry, I would have called.
Setting the thermostat up for internet access (wireless!) was completely painless. Typing on the thermostat’s on screen “keyboard” was a lot like sending email on a smart phone – cumbersome to me but not too bad.
My thermostat is all connected now and working fine. I still have to review and tweak the program settings to decide things such as what the temperature differences between stage 1 and 2 should be. There are numerous customizable settings in addition to the typical wake up / away / return / sleep time settings.
After the initial installation and set-up, I seldom make any changes on the thermostat, I use my browser instead. I go right to my thermostat and monitor what the set point is and adjust it if I want to. I can review and download the temperature set point data, internal humidity and temperature readings and even have it email specific data to me such as temperature out of range and air handler filter change needed.
Smartphone Access too!
Although not as comprehensive as the web browser access, there is a free app for your Smartphone that you can use to make adjustments.
All in all, I’m very pleased with the Ecobee thermostat, the only drawback (if you can call it that) is price. However, it’s not at all fair to compare the price of this unit to a traditional thermostat because feature-wise, there is no comparison. It’s like comparing a radio to the HDTV – on either device at the end of the ballgame you’ll know who won, but it’s a very different experience getting there.
Gets the job done but poor interface design, February 18, 2013 (3 star)
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Last fall I purchased two different “smart” thermostats to try out before we made a decision on which to use throughout our home. The ecobee was recommended by a local architect. We’ve used the thermostats for 5 months straight, and I think we will likely go with the other brand due to ease of installation and ease of use issues with the ecobee. That said, the ecobee is a good product.
-Reliable. While occasionally the ecobee seems to spontaneously go offline and display its flapping wings logo (is it updating itself?), it always comes back online automatically and has never required a reset.
-Reasonably good looking
-Programming using the web-based interface is easy
-Does what it is supposed to do and is controllable remotely if you create an ecobee account and link the termostat
-Allows for direct control of variables like temperature differential (i.e., do you want it to turn on and off at +/- 1 degree from the set temperature or +/- 2, etc.)
-Thermostat touch screen is a textbook example of bad user interface design — i.e., they opted for a slick looking slider instead of simple +/- buttons. I do not have large fingers and I can almost never get the slider where I want it on the first try. It drives me nuts that the hardest thing to do on this user interface is set the temperature.
-The iPhone app is very limited and similarly frustrating. For example you can do a temporary override to any temperature but you cannot change the duration of the hold (it defaults to 4 hours). Or you can enter “quicksave” mode which indefinitely lowers the temperature by a preset amount (default is 4 degrees), but you cannot change the amount of the temperature change from the app. For most other functions you need to log in to the website to control remotely or program.
-Install requires someone reasonably knowledgeable about his or her HVAC system or else professional installation
-Because it requires installation of two boxes (interface module connects to heating and cooling systems while the thermostat connects to interface module) it might require a significant run of new wire unless the heating and cooling system controls are in the same location. For most people with forced air systems this is not an issue, but could be when combining AC with steam or hot water baseboard systems.
Perfect for a vacation home provided you have WIFI, July 4, 2011 (5 stars)
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Update: I wrote the below review in mid 2011. I have had a year of use with the ecobee and still believe it is an excellent product. I have however found some minor shortcomings and am also reviewing some other home automation products.
In hindsight I may have considered another option for a thermostat that could be accessed via a larger home automation scheme. If all you need is a good thermostat to access remotely this is a very good solution. If you are like me however and want to expand on the concept the ecobee is limited.
My first update indicated that the ecobee lacks Home Automation capability. In fact it can be extended to Zigbee module. I have not net investigated this capability so I do not know how it compares to other Zigbee or Z-Wave products.
I purchased the ecobee thermostat to remotely control the HVAC for our vacation property. We don’t always know when we will be there, and it is also nice to be able to adjust the temperature after I’ve driven off and forgotten to do it.
The Ecobee is a fully Programmable Thermostat that lets you operate it remotely over the internet. The unit does require a WIFI connection so that it can connect to the Internet. Remote access is actually done via Ecobee’s servers and website. After the unit is configured for your WIFI Router it then starts communicating with Ecobee directly. You will set up an account with an Email Address and Password via the Thermostat. Once done you can now log on to Ecobee.com and access your unit. You can also do this with an Application on your smartphone (IPhone?) but with more limited capabilities. Very cool!
I installed the unit myself but I’m not sure I would advise this as a DIY project unless you have some knowledge of HVAC wiring and controls. The vast majority of us do not. I have a Heat Pump and failed to initially configure the Ecobee for this, so I was struggling to understand why I had no cooling. I was having discomforting thoughts of having to call a Technician to bail me out before I baked to death in my Condo. Alas I figured it out.
Traditional thermostats control your Furnace and Air Conditioning over only a few wires. In older homes that have thermostat wire with 5 or fewer strands this can present real limitations, especially for newer Two Stage Furnaces or Dual Compressor Cooling Units. Add to that Heat Pumps, Auxilary Electric heating, Dehumidification, or Humidification features, and there is no way to do this with only a few wires. Enter the concept of an Equipment Interface Module. Basically this is a separate control unit that is mounted directly to your Furnace/Air Handler and can be wired directly with a much larger selection of options. The thermostat no longer controls your Furnace directly but communicates digitally to the Equipment Interface Module using only the few wires you have in your wall. Many modern high end HVAC units now work this way. The Ecobee functions just this way.
Ideally you would just mount the Module to the side of your Furnace or Air Handler. In my case it was a very tight fit to be able to service it so I purchased some 6 inch ‘L’ brackets from the hardware store and mounted it that way. Next I had to wire it. I searched locally for some thermostat wire to connect the module to my Furnace but no one had anything with more than 5 strands. I ended up driving further than I would have liked and found some 7 strand. I then disconnected the existing thermostat wire from my furnace and tried to connect it to the Module. This would be my communication wire. Too short! I had to splice in an piece to make it reach. Next I installed the new piece of 7 strand wire between the Module and my furnace. Finally I installed a piece of 2 strand wire from the 24VAC supply inside the furnace to power the Ecobee Module, otherwise you will need to buy an AC Adapter. From there it was just turning the breaker switch back on and getting things configured.
Programming is best done from a web browser and internet connection. Use the mouse to drag the 7 day calendar, then select the mode Icon (Sleep, Awake, Away, etc.). Then select the Edit Icon to adjust the mode temperatures. Once you have figured out how this works it is a breeze. I was surprised also with how easily it connected to the internet and became accessible to me. It seems very well sorted out from that standpoint. I don’t feel at all like a new adopter guinea pig. By comparison it took me hours recently just to get my E3000 Cisco WIFI router working, a technology that should now be very mature. The Ecobee is without a doubt one of the coolest gadgets I have purchased in a long time. The fact that I can actually see what the temperature is in my Condo and adjust it with a finger drag on my Iphone is really futuristic stuff.
Big step up from regular programmable thermostats, August 11, 2012 (5 stars)
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I was looking for a home high-tech thermostat that I could control remotely, and my research led me to the Ecobee thermostat.
It was actually fairly easy to install. There is a control unit that you can mount close to the furnace. This is what hooks to the main air handler. I got some thermostat wire from Home Depot and my connection (simple 1 stage heat + 1 stage AC) only required 4 connections: R, G, W, and Y. The Common (C) connection isn’t required with the Ecobee in this configuration. The control unit also requires a power source. You can either connect a 24V connection from the furnace, or use a transformer to convert 120V AC to 12V DC/1 amp and plug into the controller with a 2.1mm circular connector. I didn’t know how to make the 24V connection, but did have a source of electricity nearby and extended a new outlet near the controller box.
The controller then hooks to the thermostat that you mount in a convenient location. I diverted the existing thermostat wire from the furnace to the controller box (possible because I mounted the controller box near the furnace), since it had already been strung through the wall to the appropriate location. The connection between the controller box and the thermostat interface requires only 4 wires (D+, D-, GND, and 12V), which I arbitrarily assigned Red, Black, Green, and Blue, respectively.
Overall, I was able to do the install myself within about 2 hours, and a lot of that time was spent verifying that I wouldn’t be burning any bridges (I was being extra-cautious). Don’t let the numerous diagrams scare you. My simple HVAC system was straightforward to connect.
There is a simple setup the first time it’s turned on in order to make the connections to your house’s WiFi, and setting up an account with Ecobee to monitor the unit.
The website is great, and presents the week the way I think all programmable thermostats should. There are four possible labels for any time in the week: Sleep, Awake, Away, and Home. It’s perfect, because you might sleep with the temperature a little low, then want to bring the temperature up near waking time (Awake), back down while Away to conserve heating costs, and then bring it back to room temperature when you’re back Home. It also keeps track of your local weather. But the biggest feature is the ability remotely view the temperature in your house, and to make changes to the programming remotely. Let’s say that you’ll be away for the week and forgot to put yourself on vacation mode. No problem. Just log into the website and make the appropriate changes. It really is that easy.
Overall it’s pretty good. Just a couple suggestions to make it even better:
1) Provide an option for hard-wiring the network connection (ie, offer ethernet as well as WiFi options).
2) This is a $300 thermostat. Include the 12V DC transformer (I had to purchase one at a local electronics shop that fit the specifications).
3) Consider making the user interface a little larger. It’s on the small side, but does manage to get the job done. And admittedly, there is the website which you can use to do the programming, so that offloads some of the requirements of the thermostat.
All in all, a great and innovative product.
Pretty, intuitive, and geeky, January 23, 2011 (4 stars)
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
My wife and I recently purchased a new heat pump unit and wanted to upgrade to a programmable thermostat. We actually saved up too much money for the heat pump unit and had some extra money to spend. After looking at all the fancy, touch-screen programmable thermostats, I settled on this one. Yeah, sure, it’s pretty pricey, but I think it’s worth it.
Installation was pretty simple. I am no HVAC technician, but I was able to figure out the colored wires from the old thermostat and match them with this one. My setup is pretty simple, electric heat pump with heating and cooling modes, and the auxiliary electric heat, but there are plenty more pins for more complicated equipment setups. For those kinds of setups, I would definitely recommend hiring a real technician. One thing I liked about this unit’s installation was the two-piece setup. The touchscreen part mounts wherever your thermostat is traditionally mounted. Then there is another control board that mounts out-of-sight. Fortunately, my thermostat was mounted on the outside wall of a utility closet, so this gave plenty of room to install the control board inside the closet. If you don’t have the option to mount inside a closet of sorts, the control board is in a nice, clean enclosure with some LED status lights.
As for using the thermostat, it’s a breeze. You can do the heating and cooling temperatures right on the home screen. It’s also nice that it has a weather display of the current conditions, and you can even dig deeper into the forecast. The installation wizard was simple (for my basic system), and everything feels pretty intuitive. I would recommend using the Ecobee.com web site to do the actual time-of-day programming. There are 4 modes: awake, away, home, and night. You assign temperature ranges to each of those modes. Then you assign those modes to 30-minute chunks of each day for the week.
The only problem that I have with this thermostat is that I can never seem to get it to report the correct temperature. I’ve been monitoring the temperature reported by the thermostat alongside another couple of digital thermometers, and the thermostat always seems to be off by 1-2 degrees. There is a setting in the thermostat that allows you to adjust the displayed temperature by a few degrees in half-degree increments. However, I always seem to overshoot it or undershoot it, but I’m not sure how. It seems like it may be overcompensating somehow? It’s either that, or it only takes temperature readings every 15-30 minutes. I’m not sure which.
I almost forgot to mention that there is an iPhone app for controlling the thermostat remotely. It’s a little buggy and could maybe do with a little more “polish”, but it gets the job done. The bugginess is that it seems to have issues authenticating you or connecting to the thermostat every now and then. It’s intermittent, so waiting a couple of minutes may clear the issue up. Also, if you adjust the thermostat heating and cooling sliders, it may take a while for it to actually take effect on the thermostat itself. The trick is to wait for the mode icon to change to the resume icon to know that your settings were saved. If you exit out of the app without waiting for this confirmation, it will never save. Besides the couple of minor flaws, it’s nice to be able to put the thermostat into “save” mode if you’re out of the house and forgot to set it before you left.
There are a couple of other features like vacation mode that I haven’t used yet. In all, after doing many hours of research, this is the only internet-enabled touchscreen thermostat that I would buy. In my opinion, it is the best one on the market (as of the time of this review).
I live in the desert and do a great deal of traveling in the summer. Coming home to a cranked up thermostat and waiting until it cools down was no fun. Hence, the purchase of the Ecobee thermostat. Instructions include a schematic for a number of different applications; single and multistage air and furnace, heat pumps, etc. Wasn’t sure the type of furnace I had but figured it out. Knowing the answer up front will save you angst when you get to this part of the installation. The other issue came with hooking up the thermostat. Would have been easier if the instructions referenced the same colored wires used in all the common thermostats. Instead, they use D+ D- G R for the 4 wires requiring connection. My only real gripe was the exclusion of a power source for the control unit. After spending close to $400, I had to run out to the Shack to purchase a 12 volt 1 amp power source and guess as to the polarity. (specs show the power requirements but not the polarity.)
Once installed it worked like a champ. Programmed it on the net and downloaded an app for my Droid. Very cool product.
I chose this unit after comparing several Honeywell smart thermostats, the Nest, and this unit. I chose this unit primarily due to my HVAC unit not having the 24 volt power without taking away fan functions. I also looked at additional features this unit has with the ability to do more than just control the temperature, as I will eventually wire in my humidifier into this unit.
First off, installation… I’m not an expert in HVAC systems, but have a background as an electronics technician, so installing this thermostat was not out of my league. I would say the average person that can install a programmable or replacement thermostat on their wall, should be able to install this thermostat. However, not all HVAC units are the same, and ECOBEE’s installation instructions are more for professional HVAC installer or those that can make their way through electronic schematics. I read up on installing this thermostat prior to ordering it, and the installation process took about an hour to an hour and a half. That included mounting the control unit and the thermostat unit, as well as the wiring. I have a humidifier that has a separate control unit, which I am going to wire into the Ecobee, but I was on a time constraint, and did not do it during the initial installation. Please also understand that since I did not have the 24 volts coming from my HVAC unit, I am using the 12 volt power adapter to power this unit.
Programming was not difficult, but took ten to fifteen minutes to accomplish the basic setup, and, once or twice, I thought the unit was not operating, but it seemed to be communicating and running some sort of setup procedures on its own. Overall, not difficult, and my wifi connection shows very strong on the unit.
I have only been using this unit for two days now, and have used my laptop and my iPhone to program it, with no issues. I would say that setting up individual programming for changing temperatures was easier on the laptop than the actual unit or the iPhone.
Although I believe that many will have questions and issues with the install of this item, and I would recommend this to someone who is more computer and tech savvy than someone with limited knowledge, I give this a five star rating. The company is very upfront in recommending a professional do the installation, but also gives all the information on their webpage to anyone who wants to look at how to install this unit. You don’t need to be an electrical engineer to install this, but I wouldn’t recommend this to someone who is challenged at doing electrical work….
As I have only been using this thermostat for a few days now, I cannot vouch for any savings or long term issues, but will update my review after 2-3 months of use. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have with this unit, and I will try to answer them in the meantime….
More than six months
More than six months
More than six months