Oct 162014

If you are planning to change your old thermostat, one of these smart models might just fit your needs.

When Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers exposed their first-gen Nest Learning Thermostat in the year 2011, they ignited interest in a previously overlooked part of the home. All of a sudden, folks were paying attention to more than thermostat functionality — they were looking at design and the possibility of integrating their heating and cooling systems into their app-centric connected worlds.

But, Nest (better Google’s Nest) did more than just showcase smart design and offer an outlet for tech savvy consumers; it also inspired other companies (ecobee, honeywell, etc.) to create their own versions of the DIY smart thermostat.

The innovative heat and AC incubators that have emerged are all slight variations on the same energy-efficient, customization-focused theme. Still, each one did something a bit different in terms of features and final execution. Take a look a the five smart thermostats we’ve reviewed so far to see if you might be ready for an upgrade.

All the listed thermostats below are the same price tag range (~ 250 USD); so the price won’t be a criteria for your decision. Look into the functionality, and the customer reviews.

Ecobee’s Ecobee3 Smart Thermostat

The $249 Ecobee3 (as of October 2014) is a Wi-Fi and mobile app enabled thermostat that relies on its sensors to detect whether you’re home or away. You can still schedule the thermostat the old-fashioned way, but this thermostat’s adaptive sensors know that your routine can be unpredictable. So, it will automatically cancel Away mode if the motion and proximity sensors sense that you’ve come back home unexpectedly — all so that you can be as comfortable as possible. Isn’t this feature nice? And also, the researches show us that almost 75% of the programmable thermostat owners never program their thermostats (Unbelievable)! Ecobee’s thermostat does the work itself.

You can read more on Ecobee3 Smart thermostat here: A completely new design from Ecobee (which may disturb Nest)


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Sep 162014

Lombard co-founded Ecobee, a Canadian company that made the world’s first Wi-Fi-connected thermostat years back, spent the past three years watching the world fawn over its competitor Nest’s futuristic design. Today (September 16th, 2014) the company is unveiling its answer to Nest, the Ecobee 3. It’s a jet-black square with rounded edges that looks like nothing else the company has made before, especially its predecessor: a white box with a touchscreen that Ecobee sold patterned Gelaskin stickers for, basically to hide the thing.

The Ecobee 3's weather display

The Ecobee 3’s weather display

By comparison, the Ecobee 3 is something the company wants you to stop and look at each time you walk by it in your house. When it’s not showing you the temperature inside your house, it doubles as a weather station, giving you the upcoming forecast. And just like Nest, Ecobee is pitching it as something that does all the scheduling for you, saving time and money in the process.

The 3 is the result of a two-year collaboration with Lunar Design, a boutique design group headquartered in San Francisco that has designed everything from Apple’s first notebook computer to ice cream scoops. The two companies took all the features from Ecobee’s existing model and have constructed a new user interface that looks and functions the same whether you’re using it on the wall-mounted thermostat or on your phone. That’s not a new idea in the world of apps (or even thermostats), but has resulted in software and hardware that feels like one in the same.

The new thermostat uses a capacitive touchscreen, with colored pixels that pop out from a black background as you approach it. Where Nest and Honeywell’s Lyric zig with color, Ecobee zagged with dark contrast. Ecobee has also strayed from the idea of a rotating, circular dial, choosing instead a virtual knob that can be maneuvered up or down a track to change the temperature. The same screen then fades to show you things like the local weather forecast, and will let you create and adjust programming schedules. If you’re on a tablet or connecting to your thermostat in your browser, you can see this interface and just about every other feature on one screen so you don’t have to dig through menus.

The new design replaces Ecobee’s previous model, the Smart Thermostat. Ecobee still plans to sell its less expensive, $179 Smart Si thermostat, which it introduced two years ago as its entry-level model.

Beyond the redesign, the Ecobee 3‘s big new feature is that it integrates tiny companion sensors that you can put in every room of your house. Each one tracks temperature and motion, so that the system can adjust for what room you’re in, instead of simply sensing where the thermostat is installed. One of these sensors is built right into the unit, and you get another in the box that’s powered by batteries, and can be placed on any flat surface, or mounted onto walls. The system works with up to 32 sensors, in case you have a house like Bill Gates. Lombard says this sort of automatic, targeted adjustment is the top thing people have asked for over the years, and results in a better reading of the temperature where people are versus where they drilled something into the wall.

For a lot of people, that’s like their thermostat in their dining room,” Lombard says. That would be fine if people spent most of their time there, but in reality, they don’t. “Being able to put a sensor into a room that you actually use, and your ability to detect whether people are home or not and turn back your temperature goes up significantly.” That kind of setup is also easier than requiring everyone in your family to run apps on their phones that are tracking where they are, just to help the system out, Lombard argues.


The new model also promises an installation that consumers can do themselves. Where previous iterations relied heavily on professional HVAC installers, Lombard says the company wanted this to be something ordinary people could take out of the box and get up and running in 45 minutes or less. “We tried to go through every step, and determine every time where someone might have gotten confused,” Lombard says (this is a big change. If you can read the reviews of the previous Ecobee Thermostat, you will see that the consumers were really happy about the functionality and the flexibility, but the installation was a headache).

To aid in that, Ecobee made two changes to keep people from getting tripped up: one is detecting your wiring and automatically configuring its software settings accordingly; the other is including power extender hardware, so that it can be plugged into the furnace in homes where the existing wiring doesn’t deliver enough juice. The company used to charge for this part as a $25 add-on, but Lombard says that it was worth adding out of the box for people who didn’t have the ideal wiring setup.

As for how all this will save on bills, Lombard says it’s all about scheduling, and touts Ecobee’s technology as the best at doing this. Citing figures from the US Environmental Protection Agency, he says that 80 percent of programmable thermostats go unprogrammed (!!!). By comparison, he says, the Ecobee 3 comes with a preprogrammed schedule that it adjusts based on information it gathers from its occupancy sensors and your local weather forecast. The company also gets pricing from local utility companies, and will alert people when they can make adjustments to save money. Together, these things add up to what Ecobee estimates will be a 23 percent annual savings over typical programmable thermostats.

Let’s wait, see and test the real product.

May 282014
Nest Learning Thermostat - 2nd Generation - 6

Absolutely nothing impacts human beings comfort and ease or mood just like a comfortable, warm environment or a cool, energizing climate. However, with all the different technologies in your home, the humble programmable thermostat receives the the very least respect despite the fact that no one enjoys pricey power bills every month.

Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers (ex-Apple staffers) started transforming the understanding of the thermostat with Nest – one of the best smart thermostats in the market. By utilizing their own experiences from Apple (having been an employee on the legendary iPod), Fadell and Rogers elevated the unattractive home electronic to produce the Nest learning thermostat, a modern wall-mounted gadget built to make home energy management and automation attractive.

Since the time of Nest’s 2011 introduction, it has gotten plenty of curiosity, and not only just from customers trying to lessen their own power bills, increase performance or present a hot brand new product. Smart home companies such as Revolv and Control4 do business with Nest, and tinkerers cannot appear to keep their hands off it.

The thoughts range between basic smart watch applications to creative rewirings or even computer software hacks to increase Nest’s control and capabilities. Yet still, it really is amazing what can be done using the Nest smart thermostat when you use a small determined effort.

Basic Tricks

You can control the Nest smart thermostat through your smart phone (iOS or Android) or from the company’s website, and its automations enhance with time because the gadget understands your routines and personal preferences. Continue reading »

Jan 212014

I would like to give the most important point (at least for me) at the beginning : ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Thermostat is different from other programmable thermostats. The thermostat has 2 parts : the ‘brain’ and the thermostat itself. So, you will need to install 2 units;

  • the thermostat – to the wall
  • and the ‘brain’ or control unit – somewhere between the furnace and the thermostat

That makes this thermostat a little different from its competitors; however this complexity gives the extra capabilities to ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Thermostat.


ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Thermostat Installation and Setup

Getting the ecobee Smart Thermostat up and running a little intimidating, especially once you get a glance at the ten very detailed wiring diagrams in its installation manual. However most likely you will use only 1 of the diagrams (maybe this makes you feel a little better :-) ). I believe, better to work with an experienced professional (in high- and low-voltage) for the installation of this thermostat. Everyone says the result is well worth the lengthy process of installation (I haven’t tried this thermostat, so I am just telling you what I read from all over internet).

The processor of the thermostat comes a separate control unit than the thermostat (which goes to the wall). You’ll have to install the control unit inside the HVAC closet, wire it to the furnace, then wire it separately to the wall unit with four low-voltage wires. This gives the Smart an amazing amount of flexibility, allowing it to control just about any type of system, and several accessories to boot; dual-stage cooling with a boiler, three-stage heating with dual-stage cooling and a humidifier, dual-stage furnace with a dehumidifier and two-stage heat-pump etc. you name it. This thermostat can work with any kind of heating / cooling system.

ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Thermostat reminder programquestions

ecobee EB-STAT-02 Smart Thermostat reminder programquestions

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