Automating my HVAC—suggestions needed for Ecobee automations

ecobee

(Jake Seaton) #1

I have two Ecobee3 Lites, and two remote sensors.

I’m trying to figure out the best combination of smart apps for automating my system. I want my system to automate based on home mode, as well as outdoor and indoor temperature.

The problem I have with Ecobee’s Auto setting is that at night I want the house to be cooler. So in the winter, the heat is on most of the day when we are home, but at night, the system switches to cool to bring the temperature down.

Ideally, the system would shut off and allow the house to cool naturally because it is cooler outside than inside, and then cut the heat back on as needed once the house has cooled to the desired threshold.

So essentially, I want the house to naturally heat and cool as much as the outdoor temperature allows, and then use the system heat and cool only as it is needed.

I’m very comfortable with custom apps and device handlers. In fact, I’m using @yvesracine’s device handlers and a number of his apps. If I can use those to accomplish what I’m trying to do, then great! I just need some guidance.


#2

You have a lot of custom conditions here. I don’t think the standard smart apps and modes would do what you are looking for. I would recommend WebCoRE for this type logic and using the Ecobee Suite Manager for the thermostat.

With the Ecobee Suite Manager smart app and WebCoRE I have some good logic to allow my Ecobee thermostat act as the mode selector for the home for Home/Away and Sleep modes. It was really easy to install and work with. Also the Ecobee sensors report both temp and occupancy to the SmartThings hub along with the sensor in the thermostat unit.


(Ron Talley) #3

Why not just use heat in winter and cool in summer?


(Jake Seaton) #4

I live in an area that has very schizophrenic seasons. So I can’t reliably leave my thermostat on heat or cool.


#5

I suggest @storageanarchy’s Ecobee suite.


(Ron Talley) #6

I use @yvesracine My Ecobee App to expose all of the Ecobee features to ST.

I use webCoRE to create my own rules (Piston) for my Ecobee devices.

I use @RBoy Smart Weather Station App to get local weather conditions to create custom rules with webCoRE.

You could easily create a Piston in webCoRE to say:

If outside temperature rises above X
Then with T’Stat
Set mode to Cool

If outside temperature drops below Y
Then with T’Stat
Set mode to Heat

You could even add other conditions like
And
Time is after sunset or sunrise
And
Mode is night, home, away, etc.

Here’s are some examples of how I use webCoRE to save $$$. I don’t use Auto Mode at all and treat both of my systems as one.

I created a Virtual Switch to sync the operations of Upstairs and Downstairs and called it HVAC. If HVAC turns off then it shuts the Upstairs and Downstairs off and the same for On.

I also have a Virtual Switch called HVAC Automation. This serves as a kill Switch for the below Pistons so I can easily Override all of the custom rules. Notice it is at the top as Switch 43 under Restrictions.

I then set up a timer for how often or long my system can run at different times of the day.

These should give you some solids examples of how you can take your HVAC to the next level. Good Luck!


(Daniel Ionescu) #7

You still have setpoints for heat/cool. They are too close.


(Yves Racine) #8

Hi @jseaton, if you’re already using My ecobee Device, I have several smartapps that can switch your thermostat mode based on some outdoor temp thresholds.

There is no reason to change your ecobee integration as my custom ecobee integration is the most advanced & resilient thermostat implementation (more than 3 years of work and counting)…

For your use case, the name of the smartapps are MonitorAndSetEcobeeTemp & ScheduleTstatZones. The latter is available at my store.

Do you know that you have access to a lot of complimentary smartapps at my github for the most common use cases?

And, most of my smartapps are documented at the ST community wiki (look for the ecobee* and monitor* smartapps)

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=Category:Unpublished_SmartApps

The ScheduleTstatZones smartapp can switch to cool based on a cool threshold, to heat based on a heat threshold, and set to auto mode otherwise, but it can also do much more:

  • The smartapp can use any ST connected indoor temp/motion sensors and adjust your the thermostat setpoints based on the calculation method of your choice (average, median, min, max, heat/min-cool/max). It’s like the ecobee’s follow me, but much more flexible as you can use My virtual zone devices to control your temperature settings (+/- delta temps)

  • The smartapp can also orchestrate (optional) any room or zone thermostats based on your master ecobee thermostat settings (linked to portable heaters/coolers, in-line baseboards, eTRV, etc) & smart vents for colder/hotter rooms.

  • The smartapp can also adjust your fan settings at your ecobee & any slave thermostats in your zoned rooms based on the temp differential in your zones so that you have the ultimate comfort & energy savings.

In brief, you can leverage all the ecobee APIs and your whole ST ecosystem of temp/motion/contact/presence sensors in a “really” smart way using the concept of rooms/zones/schedules

For more details on ScheduleTstatZones, refer to the ST community wiki:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=ScheduleTstatZones

And of course, as @rontalley mentioned it here, you can also use WebCoRE or any other rules engine to implement any custom logic as my code exposes all thermostat capabilities & the most commands of all ST thermostats. See the list here:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=My_Ecobee_Device#information

Regards


(Jake Seaton) #9

Thanks all for the suggestions. @yvesracine, your code is brilliant and I truly appreciate the time and energy you have spent to develop such a flexible framework. I don’t regret at all paying you for your work.

That said, I’ve switched to using Ecobee Suite per @Ryan780’s recommendation after reviewing the functionality and, frankly, the ease of use. I now think I have my HVAC automating as I’d hoped! It was as simple as setting my preferred comfort setting in the Ecobee app, and then using Smart Mode Helper to switch the heat when the outside temp reaches a low temp threshold and switch to cool when it reaches a high temp threshold.

I will certainly hold on to @yvesracine’s code in case Ecobee Suite ends up falling short in the long run.

Cheers to all!


#10

Don’t thank me…thank @storageanarchy. That thing rocks!


(Barry) #11

FWIW, you can use those same Pistons with Ecobee Suite, but you don’t need to. The Ecobee Suite includes several Helper SmartApps that do what your Pistons do, and more. For those that aren’t into writing code/logic/pistons, the Helpers make for a simpler deployment, since everything is configured and managed using Ecobee Suite Manager.

If that ever happens, shoot me a message or post a complaint/request in the Ecobee Suite main thread here: [RELEASE] Updated Ecobee Suite, v1.4.0 (Free) . I’m happy to entertain requests, complaints and even contributions on behalf of the growing community of Ecobee Suite Users.

Thanks!


(Yves Racine) #12

Sure, you can try other ecobee implementation, but the way my ecobee ecosystem is built allows you to install only what you need, not more… This is the micro services approach instead of the monolithic approach…

My approach allows more evolutivity & easier maintenance of the smartapps with less impact on the end users…

Good luck, and if you want more advanced functionalities later (ex. alternative cooling, zoned heating/cooling solutions, etc), you can always rely/build upon My resilient ecobee, My Flair and MyNext (for the Nest products) DTHs & ecosystems.

Regards.


#13

@storageanarchy I just got an ecobee3 and have been using the stock "ST “marketplace” smart app (found in the “climate control” section called “Humidity alert” to activate my “free standing” dehumidifier via a smart plug when ecobee humidity levels reach a certain point and turn off at another point. It has worked just fine. does your DTH have the same capability to be able to control my free standing dehumidifier? Also, I am wondering… can I Install your FREE smart suite also (along side my current solution?). If I install yours, does it totally replace / take the place of the stock ecobee ST integration or can it run parallel? I am also confused about loading your app. is it just a single app that gives max ecobee control, or is it many? I ask because as I read I thought that you said something like “you need to load the main device and then many smaller apps also”. Do you have a list of the (practically applied and other) features that your solution provides? Additionally, I don’t usually update DTHs much after initial installation. I realize that yours is a constantly refined DTH but do you feel that it is “mature” enough now so I could install it and not have to worry much about updating it later? Do you have a step by step installation guide for it… or can you help me with one? I realize that I have asked for a lot but am still hoping you will be able to help me out. PS. Does your ecobee controller have a function where I can activate a smart plug when either the heating or cooling turns on and then switch it off when heating or cooling turns off (or maybe a timed switch off of the plug after Heat or Cool turns off). Do you have any screen shots of the DTH you can post?


(Barry) #14

All great questions; I suggest you start with the README found here:

Almost all of your questions are answered in the README document, including detailed feature lists, step-by-step installation instructions, screen shots and tips & tricks for using the SmartApps.

Then follow the activity here:

As to your specific questions?

  • Yes, it is stable, but under continuous improvement. You can stop anywhere, and choose to get updates as you wish.
  • Yes, you can use the Humidity Alert SmartApp to control your dehumidifier based on the thermostat’s humidistat. That app’s existence influenced me NOT to make another redundant Helper for that functionality.
  • Yes, the Suite contains a Helper SmartApp that will turn on/off switches/dimmers based on Operating State changes in the thermostat(s). And a whole lot more…
  • If you use the SmartThings IDE integration with Github, it’s really easy to keep up to date when updates are released.
  • You can also use the Community Installer to maintain the latest version:

#15

Thanks for the fast reply. I did discover the read me (obviously) after posting those questions so sorry for redundancy. A few more questions. Do I need to unconnect the basic smartthings DTH from the SThings & ecobee first before installing the suite or can I just have them both running at the same time and / or uninstall SThings DTH after installing your suite? Also, do I need to unconnect the dehum notifier smart app before installing your suite? as far as the smart app installer. if I don’t like it (for whatever reason) is it easily to restore my SThings back to original config?


(Barry) #16

You should be able to install my Suite alongside your existing ST support, but you should reduce the polling frequency so that you don’t have more that one poll per minute total from the two different apps.


#17

I asked in my prior post… If I don’t like your ecobee suite (for whatever reason) is it easily to (remove &) restore my SThings back to original config? Also, how do I reduce the polling?


#18

I am leery of the smart app installer (mostly because it is BETA and some seem to have issues with it). If I just install your suite via github, I can always retroactively add the app installer and it should not make any difference if I install it before or after I install your suite… correct???


(Barry) #19

Yes, you can decide later to use the installer. Or not.


#20

If I don’t like your ecobee suite (for whatever reason) is it easily to remove & restore my SThings back to original config? Also, how do I reduce the polling?