The Wi-Fi thermostat is a very useful device to help you control your home temperature anytime from anywhere. Nowadays, most people are familiar with such devices. An ordinary thermostat reads the temperature in only one room or one floor/one location but is expected to deliver comfort in all rooms/all floors. If you own a house that has a significant temperature differential (for example 4-6 degrees) between floors or rooms, then the Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor is definitely a product to consider purchasing.
Ecobee3 Wi-Fi Thermostat with Remote Sensor is the newest production of Canadian company Ecobee, Inc. released in September 2014, however, this company introduced the world’s first Wi-Fi connected thermostat in 2009.
1. Elegant and Simplified Design
The appearance of the Ecobee3 is beautiful and sleek. The thermostat’s black finish with rounded corners is a welcome addition to any wall and may remind users of an Apple product. The 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen display features a newly designed user interface with intuitive iconography and controls that navigate like a smartphone. The display on the unit is clean and bold and easy to read.
In the middle of the device display is the current temperature and to the right is a vertical slider for manually setting the temperature. The slider is quite sensitive. Other than that, the screen is very responsive and easy to navigate. A pretty snowflake or flame icon will appear above the temperature readout to know the system is in cooling or heating mode, respectively.
The Main Menu is where you go to enable and disable your HVAC system and set fan runtimes. With fan-only option, you can set it to run the fan for a specific amount of time every hour (ex. 10 minutes every hour). Comfort settings in Main Menu is for when you’re home, away or asleep, and to create daily and weekly schedules using these settings. You can also set a vacation schedule based on your departure and arrival dates and times, and set a temperature for that timeframe. The Ecobee3 offers a nice selection of alerts and reminders for things like filter replacement, to have your equipment serviced, UV lamp replacement, low and high humidity/temperature and more. You can also have notifications pushed to your smartphone and sent to an email address.
If sometimes you come home earlier than usual or the weather changes, Quick Changes lets you override your current heating, cooling, and ventilator settings without changing your programmed schedule.
Live Weather shows the current local weather conditions with temperatures and related icons for snow, rain, clouds, or sun for today and gives weekly forecast.
2. Preeminent Features
The most impressive feature of Ecobee3 that other thermostats on the market do not own have is “remote sensors”. Between the two floors in my house often is a huge temperature differential. However, my previous thermostat does not have remote temperature sensing, so it would not activate the heating/cooling when the upper floor is too hot/cold (I put that thermostat on the ground floor). This is especially problematic in the summer, when the ground floor thermostat doesn’t know how warm the top floor has become. I used to have to adjust temperature manually a lot when moving between the two floors. The Ecobee’s (included) remote sensors address this issue. They measure temperatures in multiple locations to address hot and cold spots in the home and deliver comfort in the rooms that matter most. I love that its remote sensors can be mounted to a wall or stand anywhere in my house. If you have a change in schedule and leave your home, the sensors will recognize this and prevent your heating and cooling systems from running unnecessarily when your home is empty.
When using the Follow Me feature, and move from the kitchen to the bedroom, the heat or air conditioner will kick on until the room you are in reaches the specified temperature. Ecobee says that pets should not trigger the sensors to indicate activity in a room. I have found this to be the case the majority of the time. I’ve had mine for about a month now and in that month one false activation appeared because of my dog. After that, I put my remote sensor higher and that hasn’t happened since. The Ecobee3 will improve your comfort and deliver energy savings right out of the box. In fact, it is said that Ecobee users can save an average of 23 percent on their annual heating and cooling costs.
The initial price for the Ecobee3 may seem a bit high, but considering you are getting remote sensors and saving a ton on your electric bill, it evens out. However, Ecobee3 does not support geofencing, a feature that changes your home’s temperature based on your phone’s location, which is common on other top thermostats.
The web portal allows you to view the history of temperatures, motion sensing at the thermostat and the remote sensor, so you can see how the HVAC system adjusted its operation. It also tracks energy usage for you. However, you can’t see the status of the remote sensors from the app or the web. To see that, you have to go to the thermostat and check sensor status.
3. Easy Installation and Good Customer Support.
The installation for the Ecobee3 was a little more involved than the Nest. I needed to open up our HVAC system to install the PEK unit and to provide the C-wire to the Ecobee3 thermostat. This was not that difficult, but was an extra step needed compared to the Nest. It does require a C (common) wire to supply power for the thermostat, but if your system doesn’t have one, using the included Power Extender Kit can solve that problem. The power kit is not difficult to install, and Ecobee provides explicit instructions. It requires tinkering with your furnace wiring, so if you’re not comfortable with that, you might want to bring in a professional. Do not worry because the Ecobee3 is designed to be compatible with 95% of one or two stage HVAC systems. However, for systems without a C-wire , the power extender kit requires adjusting some wires inside your furnace.
Once I had wired the Ecobee3 properly, I proceeded to follow the setup instructions and registered the product with their online portal. Setup was extremely straight forward. The average installation time for the Ecobee3 thermostat with remote sensor is approximately 45 minutes.
The Ecobee3 smart thermostat with remote sensor includes a three-year warranty and comes with one free wireless remote sensor. You can add up to 32 sensors total. The more sensors you have, the more comfort and convenience Ecobee can bring. Additional remote sensors can be purchased in a package of two for $79 . (See how to install ).