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General => Temperature Monitoring & HVAC Control => Topic started by: Aaron on November 24, 2015, 09:59:57 am

Title: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: Aaron on November 24, 2015, 09:59:57 am
I have been using a Trane Zwave tstat for 3 years now, works great. for BlackFriday Ecobee is on sale with 2 remote sensors for $250 and curious as to what it provides that I don't know about.

The remote sensors are expensive (80 for 2) when we can buy a $50 6-in-1 Aeon Labs Motion sensor and get far more bang for the $

So, my ask... what does this system do that I don't know about beyond what I can already do with my Trane + Vera + temp sensors?


Title: Re: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: tomgru on November 24, 2015, 10:14:33 am
I have the ecobee and really like it, but I imagine there is not too much difference from that and a Vera+Trane+Aeotec+PLEG solution... other than, well, you are relying on all that working together :-).

I won't lie... there has been some problems with Ecobee as well... mostly with their data tracking, etc... and the occasional lost sensor.... but I really like it being all self contained.  My goal is to have HA areas that work independently of Vera first, then have plugin support for extra control.  That way if Vera dies, I still have heat, sprinklers, alarm, etc.

So for Ecobee.... the use of sensors for "follow-me" is pretty cool.  Also letting it figure out the algorithms necessary to know when to turn on heat/cool to get your house up to the setpoint in time, instead of the user guessing. 

Lastly... the Ecobee plugin actually now finds the Ecobee sensors so you can use them for something else (Incl temp)_, although I don't think the reaction time is quite fast enough for something like turning the lights on. But I honestly haven't tried this... 

I plan on using them for turning ceiling fans on, adjusting vents (ecovent), etc.
Title: Re: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: Aaron on December 03, 2015, 02:07:23 pm
I'm getting my Ecobee today... any tips, suggestions, user community forums you follow, etc?
Title: Re: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: rafale77 on December 03, 2015, 06:17:18 pm
I have one. I like it because of the interface and the fact that it has a fairly good plugin on the vera. I am pretty sure I could just have used any simpler wifi thermostat except for the energy consumption. Like Tomgru I like to take load off the vera as much as I can.

What are you expecting to do with it?
Mine has 4 modes (I added a vacation mode) which I am syncing with the vera housemodes using scenes triggered by housemode changes and overrides the default schedule when needed and therefore syncs with my vent registers position.
As an input to the vera I just ping whether it is heating or cooling to adjust my vent position matrix.
Title: Re: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: Aaron on December 03, 2015, 06:45:03 pm
It is all setup now... I have 3 additional sensors for it.

I don't have automated vents - not sure if/when I will cuz they are crazy expensive. I'd need at least 2 for every room of my home. That would cost around $1500 Might be cheaper to just put in dampers on the main line to each room. It would DEFINITELY be more efficient from an airflow and air leakage (from duct runs into walls/ceiling/flooring spaces) standpoint.

I was thinking about installing the Vera plugin and doing something similar... when Vacation Mode is on, change the schedule. BUT, do I need to? I thought EcoBee had a vacation mode?  I'm not sure I should burden the Vera with yet another Plugin to run down resources - which is why I also followed tomgru's point of getting EcoBee to avoid adding to Vera's workload.

The one thing I could see myself using is, in summertime, automating ceiling fans in rooms to help airflow/cooling.
Title: Re: Ecobee... expensive, worth it? Why?
Post by: rafale77 on December 04, 2015, 01:28:10 am
Well not sure what is in the firmware but mine shows only 3 modes. Sleep, Home and Away. I had to add one for vacation.
The ecobee self awareness to change mode "smart mode" was not good enough for me.
It goes into what is called a hold state:

Say you have scheduled to be at work an one day you stay home. The sensor senses that you are home and keeps the thermostat in home mode.
Smart! Alright now I leave the house while the thermostat is in hold. Well, it takes two hours of you being gone before the thermostat reverses to away mode.
I wrote to ecobee a few times that I wanted to be able to control the time a sensor is not tripped before changing mode and gave up. I decided to write a scene and use the plugin instead to "resume schedule mode" whenever the vera goes to away mode. Likewise, it goes to vacation mode when my vera goes to vacation mode.

The reverse is true. Say you are suppose to be home according to schedule but you are actually not... Again, it takes 2 hours before the ecobee realizes you are gone switch to a smart hold away...
I also use the plugin to get temperature and presence from all my remote sensors... And I use the ecobee sensors as motion sensors for my alarm!

I could write also some scenes and scenarii to cover vent opening when there are very big unwanted differences in temperature in different rooms but have not felt the necessity for that yet.