Home Ecobee new installation - any tips?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by convergent, Jun 17, 2016.

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  1. convergent macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    Raleigh, NC
    #1
    I just ordered an Ecobee 3 and sensors to install. Its my first step into HomeKit and was curious if anyone had an tips or advice in setting this up. We have a two zone system (one for each floor), but I'm going to just put in one for downstairs first to see how it works. We have had a problem with our master bedroom (downstairs) always being really hot or cold compared to the rest of the first floor. There should have been a third zone for this room because its fairly isolated from the main part of the first floor where the thermostat is. On cold nights in the winter, its brutal. I'm hoping the Ecobee will do the trick with its sensors and programability. Assuming this works, I'm sure I'll be buying a lot more homekit devices.
     
  2. kilcher macrumors 65816

    kilcher

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    #2
    Just wanted to say we've had ours for about a year and I love it. It was easy to install and looks great. It was my first venture into home automation as well. I love being able to set a schedule, change the schedule from my app, etc.

    I wouldn't expect miracles as far as balancing the temp between different rooms or areas of the house. We have our thermostat downstairs by the front door and our sensor is upstairs in our bedroom. In summer the bedroom is usually a little warmer than we'd like. Which is fine with me, I don't want to pay for the downstairs to be frigid just so our bedroom is a little cooler. Still though, it's a neat product and good investment.

    Anyway, hope you like it!
     
  3. convergent thread starter macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    #3

    Thanks for the info. In our case, we'd be OK with paying a little more to have the room we are in comfortable... or I should say tolerable. During the extremes of the seasons, or master bedroom can be intolerable and we are constantly having to change the thermostat to accommodate it. Having it set at night to go by the bedroom sensor would make this so much easier and not result in constant manual adjustments.

    We have a similar problem upstairs in that I have my home office in the bonus room and am in there with the door closed most of the time during the day, and the thermostat is outside that room.

    What would be awesome is if someone would make homekit enabled vents for the HVAC system. You could then have the system close vents to more efficiently target areas of the house. Our system is just not designed very well and it would be very expensive to have it fixed correctly.
     
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

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    AR
    #4
    They have something similar for Nest. https://keenhome.io/works-with-nest However, I've never tried them.

    Let us know your experience with EcoBee. I have an older Nest, and I've had very few problems in the last two years. However, I would like Siri integration, but my experience with HomeKit hasn't been very positive.
     
  5. convergent thread starter macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    #5
    Ran into problems on this. I have a Carrier Infinity thermostat which seems to be a problem. I'm going to try and call a couple of HVAC places to see if I can hire a professional... otherwise this may not work out.
     
  6. joelw135 macrumors 6502

    joelw135

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    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #6
    There a few things you can do that can help.
    1. Close vents in the rooms that are too cool or partially open them.
    2. Use motorized vents, not sure if there are any that are homekit yet but there are a number for SmartThings system
    3. Have a booster fan installed in the duct to the room where the problem is and it goes on by a separate thermostat.

    I have been installing building automation systems for 32 years and those are the easiest things to do and least expensive. The design of home HVAC blown air are not balanced systems where they are designed with bigger ducts to certain rooms, automated dampers with fan units in each room.
     
  7. convergent thread starter macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    #7

    Thanks for the tips. We've done the vent closing in other parts of the house, but there are a lot of vents and then during the day when not in the bedroom its the reverse. It doesn't help that the thermostat is in the family room which has a two story ceiling height. The bedroom is on the other side of the kitchen from the family room. By the time you get to the master bath, its not hard to understand why the system has trouble. The prior owner of the house (and original owner) installed a wall mounted AC unit (with heat element) to supplement. It helps, but it is kind of ridiculous to have to use that, and the unit is extremely loud when it comes on... wakes my wife up so makes for a very uncomfortable night's sleep.

    The Ecobee seemed to be a good inexpensive tool to use in this, but not sure if I'll be able to get it to work with the Carrier Infinity system. Ecobee (and Nest for that matter) say the systems are compatible, but if you go into any of the HVAC forums you uncover a holy war from the HVAC guys about how the Carrier Infinity is such a wonderful system and that its crippling the whole system to install an Ecobee (or nest). Ironically Carrier is a part owner of Ecobee.
     
  8. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

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    Jul 16, 2002
    #8

    I'm looking at the Ecobee as well -- seems like the best HomeKit thermostat around right now. Your comment about temp differentials gave me a little pause. Based on your experience would you say stick w/ the basic kit vs the expanded one that comes w/ 3 sensors? Also, how is the Siri experience? Is it responsive?
     
  9. kilcher, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016

    kilcher macrumors 65816

    kilcher

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    #9
    I don't use Siri so I can't really comment on that. I mainly bought it to schedule the system to not run so much when we're away, asleep, etc. The sensors feel cheap, it's be hard for me to spend $70 on 2 more (which is what they cost last time I checked). They feel as if there's nothing in them, but they definitely do work. You can log into the app and it'll show if the area with the sensor is occupied and what the current temperature is. I'd recommend starting with the base kit (thermostat and one sensor), see how you like it, then consider buying the 2 pack of sensors.

    In our experience the sensor isn't enough to compensate for a room that's warmer or cooler than the rest of the house. In the summer our bedroom (upstairs, where the sensor is located) is still a few degrees warmer than the downstairs (where the thermostat is located) even though it knows we're upstairs. We have a fairly large house (3200 SF) so that may have something to do with it. It may help by a degree or two but it's not going to work wonders.

    Having said all that, if you like the idea of saving some money by being more efficient I would definitely recommend it. If buying it hinges on how well it'll balance the temperature between two different areas you may want to google some other reviews. Like I said, it wasn't a huge factor for me, it was more like icing on the cake, so maybe it works better than I'm giving it credit for. It's also possible more sensors would help. I think I read that somewhere but it may have been on the page where they were trying to sell the sensors. :p
     
  10. chuyn macrumors 6502

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    Nov 13, 2015
    #10
    The thing about the ecobee is it won't replace a system that has some sort of controlled vents or multiple thermostats. All it tries to do is make where you currently are more comfortable. So if you have a sensor in your living room, and one in your bedroom. If you're hanging out in the living room all day, it'll make that are the temperature you set (let's say 22 degrees). But if your bedroom is normally 2 degrees colder than the living room, it will still be 2 degrees colder. If you're spending all day in the bedroom instead, your system will make the bedroom 22 degrees, but the living room will still be hotter. It won't be able to make the two rooms the same temperature.
     
  11. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

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    #11

    In our house the hvac system is terrible. The house has been remodeled and the layout of the system is really bad. On the main floor I have a supply and return right next to each other in two spots. I have blocked off one supply and one return to help cross room circulation. Our kitchen which has west facing doors to the deck has one supply and no returns...
    Our biggest problem is lack of proper flow volume. In the master bedroom upstairs we have two supplies and one return. When we moved in the return was "covered" by the clear duct shield I suppose to slow down rate of return?
    What we have found is it is better to have one of the supplies blocked off so that air pushes out at a greater rate from the other supply.

    I would love to install a booster fan in the main duct which is going to upstairs. The access I have is rectangular stack. In this situation what sort of fan would you recommend? This would be installed in the basement. There is no access to any of that main stack until the attic. Like I said the hvac and more... is a Homer special. This is my first house and you sort of learn and figure out and have many aha moments after purchase.


    Going back to the OP. I have a single system and I opted in for a electrical supply install and rebate. I paid $150 for ecobee with install. The installer did have to install some gizmo to provide power to the thermostat.

    The way we have it setup is at night we tell it to read the temp reading from the master bedroom.
    When the AC is on we have the fan to run constantly, when away the fan runs for 10 minutes per hour.

    The iOS app for iphone works good, for iPad it has more features / graph trends. You can also access this info via online portal.
    Overall i'm really happy with this smart thermostat. It has been solid for several months now.
    Due to our bad design this does not always work but the thermostat is smart where it factors in weather etc and if you set 71* for 4:30 PM a normal programmable thermostat would turn system on at 4:30. This ecobee will run prior so that at 4:30 PM the temp IS at 71* as requested.

    For myself this is first Smart home item as well.
     
  12. convergent thread starter macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    Raleigh, NC
    #12
    Well progress came to a halt with me and the Ecobee. I called an HVAC professional that sounded like he was willing to try and install it. I then called Ecobee to get some info about if it was compatible. The Ecobee support guy was trying to be helpful, but he sounded like he was about 16 and wasn't really listening to what I said. He kept rattling off what wires to connect to what and asking why I hired someone because surely I could do it myself. He did believe we'd need to run one additional wire for the heat pump.

    The technician came today and good news was we found that there were a lot of extra wires run that were unused. Awesome. We then saw that the unit in the crawl space had all the normal wiring points, not just the 4 wire Infinity controller. So he proceeded to make the wiring changes under the house. I went back upstairs and it was quite a while before he came back. I had printed off a memo from Ecobee about some dip switches they recommended flipping on Carrier Infinity. He wasn't able to find the switches so called his Carrier support guy that he works with all the time and was informed that the heat pump will ONLY work with the 4 wire Infinity controller, and that if you tried to use it with a regular thermostat that it would blow a board. So he wired it all back up the way it was and I'm out $85 but no go on the Ecobee.

    I'm glad I hired someone, because it I had gone further with Ecobee support trying to do it myself and found the extra wires, and the regular connection points on the unit under the house, I would have probably fried something.

    The problem I was really trying to solve is that our house is designed very poorly and the 1st Floor Master is always freezing in the winter and boiling in the summer... though the Ecobee remote thermostats would help with that. I'm going to now look into having someone zone off the Master BR which will probably cost a lot more but correctly solve the problem.
     
  13. shaneakus macrumors member

    shaneakus

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    Aug 18, 2010
    Location:
    Louisville
    #13

    I have an ecobee and live in a cape code built in the 30's. Our bedroom temperature can swing up to 10 degrees depending upon how hot the day is and am using the remote sensor to monitor it. I've set the Home schedule to ignore the bedroom sensor during the day, since we're rarely in the room. For the sleep schedule, i have the bedroom sensor and the thermostat sensors applied so it in essence splits the difference in temperature at night and keeps a from having such extreme differences in temperature between both rooms. I found that if i only use the bedroom sensor during the sleep schedule, my HVAC system runs constantly and unnecessarily cools unused rooms.
     
  14. convergent thread starter macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    #14
    I wish I could use the Ecobee like that... it was just what I had intended, but unfortunately I'm stuck with a $1000 Carrier thermostat that won't do anything near like that.
     
  15. shaneakus macrumors member

    shaneakus

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    #15
    ah, i glossed over the part about having the proprietary thermostat. something i'll look at when my 25 year old system finally kicks the bucket.
     
  16. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #16
    I have a Nest, but seriously thinking about switching to the Ecobee.

    I have a Wink system, an Amazon Echo and two Echo Dots which gives me good voice control of everything, but I have little hope that Wink will survive the year and their software interface is pretty bad (though, at this point, has more functionality than HomeKit).

    Echo works with my Hue lights and Lutron dimmers, which also work with HomeKit, so I'm covered for the main stuff if Wink dies. Door locks and the thermostat are the main things that I'd need to replace.

    Any new equipment I buy I'm looking for it to be both HomeKit and Echo compatible.
     
  17. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #17
    We just "upgraded" from a Honeywell to Ecobee 3. So far no complaints. We didn't install this one though, it came with our new HVAC system. I am digging it though.
     
  18. DJLC macrumors 6502a

    DJLC

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    Mooresville, NC
    #18
    Just swapped my first gen Nest for an ecobee. It's nice, but honestly at this point I'm considering removing it from HomeKit. I feel like adding it to HomeKit disables some core functionality as far as scheduling and occupancy sensing. Ie., when I tell Siri "goodnight," the lights turn off and ecobee goes into Sleep mode. But it holds that mode indefinitely; so it won't switch back to Home mode automatically at 7am. Not a big deal in the summer, but in the winter I let it get pretty cool at night and set it to warm back up by the time I'm awake. Same problem when I come home; HomeKit geofence tags me as home, but ecobee ignores my schedule after it gets set by HomeKit. I didn't have this kind of issue with Nest — if only they had a nice little remote sensor!
     
  19. DavidBroyles macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2016
    #19
    Well, it is very interesting to get ideas about Ecobee installation. As the wireless remote sensors can only be used with ecobee3 and are not interchangeable with the remote sensor module. I love to install new things which adds some safety. Recently I installed new home alarm system for doors which is really amazing. In doing a web search for various recent news I think this post will definitely help me. I would love to install this.
     
  20. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #20
    Interesting. I didn't realize there were limits to the Ecobee's functionality when connected via HomeKit.

    You're saying that the Ecobee doesn't set itself properly when you leave and when you arrive if you let HomeKit track your location?
     
  21. chuyn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    #21
    The issue is when you use HomeKit to set any temperature or scene, it sets an indefinite hold to that temperature even if you have the default hold setting to "hold until next scheduled activity". It's very annoying and I've almost stopped using Siri to adjust the temperature because I'll forget and be either too hot/cold come bedtime or morning. From my testing, coming/going using the geofence in the ecobee app (which uses HomeKit's geofencing) will set the thermostat to the proper away or home profile you've already set. The problem is when you come home and it activates the "home profile", it'll hold it and ignore the "sleep profile" later on. I'm not sure why they have it set like this. If you use the app or change temperature at the unit itself, it'll follow the "hold until next scheduled activity" setting. It's just through HomeKit that it ignores that setting.
     
  22. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

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    #22
    That seems like a significant oversight. Maybe I'll just stick with my current system (Nest + Alexa) for now. If I change the temperature manually or via voice command, the Nest will still go on to its next scheduled setting as expected.

    Right now, Alexa and Siri can control all the same lights and devices with two exceptions. Alexa can't change the color of the Hues whereas Siri can and Alexa can't turn on/off the backyard water fountain (it's on an iDevices outdoor switch). However at the moment, Siri can't control the Nest, though I may invest some time and set up HomeBridge on my iMac as a work-around.
     
  23. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

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    #23
    I need to make a support call with ecobee.
    I have the ac cranked to a high temp during the day (peak is 82 I think, which it never gets that hot), and come down to 71 when we return home.

    It just happens I came home for lunch and saw and felt ac running and temp was in mid-high 70s inside.
     
  24. DJLC macrumors 6502a

    DJLC

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    Mooresville, NC
    #24
    I'm considering removing ecobee3 from HomeKit entirely. Like honestly it seems to me that it cripples the device. I don't regret buying it because it has the remote sensors and I'm not sure whether this is an ecobee problem or an Apple problem, but in any case ecobee3 + HomeKit = not yet.
     
  25. adam9c1 macrumors 65816

    adam9c1

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    #25
    Ecobee is my first homekit device. I frankly don't use Siri or homekit apps to control.
    I find the Ecobee app for iOS to be sweet and if I need to toggle temp a little up or down I do it on phone.

    iPad app has more features such as temp / use history.
     

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