Ecobee 3 in a Condo?

Type4O

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 23, 2011
331
117
Toronto, Canada
I currently have Nest, but am moving to a new condo and am looking to switch so I can HomeKit the place. I was looking at the wires at our current place and according to the Ecobee website I would have to install the Power Extender Kit. I am not sure it is possible with a condo HVAC system as I had a look and on't even see the connections mentioned.

I live in Toronto, Canada, if it matters.

Has anyone done this? Any words of advice/tips/cautions?

Thanks
 

Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,180
4,788
Don't buy an Ecobee for it's "HomeKit Integration" because it's barely there.
 

Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,180
4,788
Thanks for the tip. Do you have experience with a well integrated thermostat?
It's not clear to me there is one.

Like you I went from Nest to Ecobee for Homekit but I was quite disappointed in that aspect. With that said the ecobee app and website are fine and the sensors are a game changer if you find that your place is unevenly cooled or heated. if I had to choose between Nest and Ecobee again though I'd probably choose Nest and integrate into homekit with my raspberry pi homebridge setup.
 

bluespark

macrumors 68000
Jul 11, 2009
1,851
1,991
Chicago
Don't buy an Ecobee for it's "HomeKit Integration" because it's barely there.
What do you want that it doesn't have? I control my Ecobee all the time with Siri, and I also have a "nearly home" recipe that integrates an Ecobee temperature change with a lighting change. Seems pretty integrated to me.
 

Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,180
4,788
What do you want that it doesn't have? I control my Ecobee all the time with Siri, and I also have a "nearly home" recipe that integrates an Ecobee temperature change with a lighting change. Seems pretty integrated to me.

Well, these are the things I’ve seen. YMMV of course.

- Comfort profiles are not actually integrated. When you add a comfort profile to a scene it just copies the high/low temps in. If you change that comfort profile the scene is either not updated or updated very unreliably (I’m pretty sure it’s not at all though)

- Telling Siri to set a specific temperature and then actually checking the thermostat nearly always shows a different temperature, off by a couple of degrees

- The motion sensors are WAY too slow to be used as triggers.

- Actually adding comfort profiles to scenes is incredibly unreliable. If I add one in, quit the app and go back to look it’s 50/50 as to whether it will actually be there.

- Finally, and this one is the worst of all, the absolute deal breaker for me, profiles set by HomeKit scenes hold indefinitely and do not respect the thermostat setting of “until next schedule change” the way setting something by any other method (at the thermostat or using the ecobee app). This breaks auto-away and, for me, completely rules out using it at all.

There were others that I can’t think of, off the top of my head.

Now, that’s not to say Ecobee is horrible in general. It’s actually a great little thing.

- Love the sensors. I have a profile that only takes into account the bedroom temperature for an hour before we sleep (since I don’t care what the temp is anywhere else at that point)

- The “smart” features work really well. It’s very good at predicting how long it will take to reach a target temperature, even with varying conditions, and hitting that temperature pretty much not a moment too soon. Very efficient.

- The stats and reports available are really good and provide a lot of insight and comfort that it’s doing the right thing.
 

whsbuss

macrumors 68040
May 4, 2010
3,518
590
SE Penna.
I'm hoping Nest will integrate HomeKit with iOS 11 in the fall. Moving to a new home early 2018 and will need to decide which to purchase.
 

bcave098

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2015
516
206
Northern British Columbia
I currently have Nest, but am moving to a new condo and am looking to switch so I can HomeKit the place. I was looking at the wires at our current place and according to the Ecobee website I would have to install the Power Extender Kit. I am not sure it is possible with a condo HVAC system as I had a look and on't even see the connections mentioned.

I live in Toronto, Canada, if it matters.

Has anyone done this? Any words of advice/tips/cautions?

Thanks
Ecobee needs to have a common wire to draw constant 24v from your HVAC system, as it doesn't have a battery like Nest does. Thankfully, Ecobee has great support and explanations for pretty much any possible configuration. If your new condo was built fairly recently and doesn't use electric heat, you shouldn't run into many problems. It will work as long as you have at least 3 wires for your thermostat.
 

Type4O

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Aug 23, 2011
331
117
Toronto, Canada
Ecobee needs to have a common wire to draw constant 24v from your HVAC system, as it doesn't have a battery like Nest does. Thankfully, Ecobee has great support and explanations for pretty much any possible configuration. If your new condo was built fairly recently and doesn't use electric heat, you shouldn't run into many problems. It will work as long as you have at least 3 wires for your thermostat.
I know they have the power extension kit to compensate for no C wire, but you need access to the connectors on the HVAC unit. That’s the bit that will cause the issue, thinking I probably won’t have access to the necessary connectors.

I move Aug 31, so I’ll know then either way. All the HomeKit thermostats require a C wire though, so I may be sticking with Nest. The building is maybe 7 years old, so hopefully new enough.
 

vondo

macrumors member
Feb 22, 2013
43
6
- Finally, and this one is the worst of all, the absolute deal breaker for me, profiles set by HomeKit scenes hold indefinitely and do not respect the thermostat setting of “until next schedule change” the way setting something by any other method (at the thermostat or using the ecobee app). This breaks auto-away and, for me, completely rules out using it at all.
This.

All I can use from HomeKit is the temperature readout on the main Home screen.
 

Feenician

macrumors 603
Jun 13, 2016
5,180
4,788
This.

All I can use from HomeKit is the temperature readout on the main Home screen.
It's unfortunate. So near, yet so far.

I'm still happy with the Ecobee overall but I really do wish HomeKit integration was designed better and worked better.
 

aristobrat

macrumors G5
Oct 14, 2005
12,244
1,312
I just got fussed out by my roommate because he couldn’t control the Ecobee from his iPhone anymore.

This was a WTF moment for me, because I never told him his iPhone was even capable of doing that. The Ecobee login for the two thermostats at home is associated with my email address (and my password, which I never shared with him). He doesn’t have the Ecobee app installed.

Turns out that since I had added the Ecobees to HomeKit, and I had added his Apple ID to HomeKit access, he had been using HomeKit (via the Home app) to manually bump down the temperature at night on his own. I had no clue that he knew how to do that. I surely didn’t tell him about it.

Anyhow, just had to reboot the one Ecobee and it showed back up in HomeKit. He’s happy again. I’m happy he can control the A/C without me having had to setup a dedicated app on his phone, or share my credentials for the ecobee website.
 

bcave098

macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2015
516
206
Northern British Columbia
I know they have the power extension kit to compensate for no C wire, but you need access to the connectors on the HVAC unit. That’s the bit that will cause the issue, thinking I probably won’t have access to the necessary connectors.

I move Aug 31, so I’ll know then either way. All the HomeKit thermostats require a C wire though, so I may be sticking with Nest. The building is maybe 7 years old, so hopefully new enough.
It's likely a newer build would have a C wire behind the thermostat, whether it's used or not.