I’m new to Smartthings and home automation in general. I recently installed a Smartthings Home Monitoring Kit, which allowed me to integrated my existing Arlo Cameras, Rachio irrigation controller, WeMo plugs, and Leviton switches.
I’m looking to take things a step further by adding a thermostat, but I’m not sure what technology/type/brand/model etc… would be best suited for my needs. My home is usually occupied 24/7, so automating home/away, learning my schedule, etc… is not very important to me.
What I do want is the following:
The ability monitor the temps of remote Smartthings multi sensors or motion sensors and make changes to the thermostat based on temps reported at remote sensor.
The ability to control the thermostat based on open/close sensor status. For example, turn off A/C or Heat if I open some windows, or if a door is left open for a certain amount of time.
Control of the thermostat independent of Smartthings, in the case Smartthings is not working I don’t want to loose control of my thermostat.
I’d like to maintain simple, intuitive controls at the thermostat. So my wife or kids could easily make changes from the thermostat.
Ability to voice control with Alexa.
Ongoing product support; For example, I want a product that will be supported by the manufacture with regular software/firmware updates as needed.
I’d prefer native Smartthings support, rather than a complex work around for integration.
Maybe all of these things don’t exist in one product, but I was hoping to get some feedback on what I can expect from different thermostats (as they relate to smartthings) and what limitations I will face.
Would I loose any features (other than built in Alexa) or integration going with Ecobee 3 or 3 lite, rather than Ecobee 4? I’m not really interested in Alexa built into the thermostat as my thermostat is located in a hallway.
I got an Ecobee3 Lite a month ago for $169. It comes with no sensors. I had tried for the Costco 3 Lite with additional sensors for $200, but did not get there in time.
During the Black Friday sales, the ecobee4 dropped to $200. So I returned the 3 Lite and got the 4.
For $30 above and beyond what I originally spent, I got the following:
Presence sensor built into the thermostat (not available on 3 Lite)
Alexa built into the thermostat (not available on 3 Lite, or 3)
One external sensor
Thermostat display includes a clock (3 Lite does not)
Ultimately I think the external sensors with “follow me” are essentially a gimmick, unless you have a HVAC system that can open/close the duct for each room individually. I don’t see how “follow me” can save you money. I see how it could make things a bit more convenient, which might even cost you a few additional dollars… I also see the features for schedule override as requiring SmartThings/Webcore intervention.
That said, I think this is a great system, especially once tempered by webcore. I’ll be submitting my paperwork for the $75 rebate, bringing this down to $125…
First, you need to check if you do have the constant power line feeding to your current thermostat. Most of the older homes do not have it and that would limit your choices unless you want to pull new cable.
I have 10 sensors and I can tell you that the “follow me” is pretty much useless even if you had vents! it takes about 30 minutes for the occupancy status to change.
However, I can say that the external sensors are an essential part of the cost savings when it comes to modes. There is typically only one bedroom that matters during the day, one room in the house the matters during the evening and 2 rooms that matter during the nights. It’s like having 10 thermostats in the house select-able for which rooms you are occupying.
The Ecobee doesn’t actually show the temperature at the thermostat but the averaged temperature of the external sensors you have installed. You could do the same thing with webCoRE and even use non-ecobee sensors for real time home automation.
Combining external sensors and webCoRE=Full control of your HVAC!
According to Ecobee web App, I saved over $1,200 since registering in 2016. Not bad, not bad at all.
Just curious, did you really notice a difference in you energy bill during that period? I’d think $1200 would be pretty noticeable.
I only ask because I’ve heard others state that Ecobee web App reported savings, but they didn’t really notice it in their energy bills.
Nest is also a good smart thermostat. You will need a community developer made app like NST manager to integrate it with ST however. I’m not currently using NST Manager, I just set the schedule in Nest app to my work schedule instead. Nest is compatible with Alexa voice controls. Nest is very easy to control at the actual unit also.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Nest aesthetics, but I do like the look of the new Nest “E”. I know it’s suppose to be a “cheaper” looking unit, but it just seems like it would fit my decor better than the bright colorful display, and shiny trim of the original Nest.
That said, I’m skeptical of relying solely on community developed apps (maybe it’s because I’m still new to this).
The Nest E is designed as the economy version. It has plastic housing vs the metal ring of the original. It has a more subdued look that will be easy to forget the thermostat is on the wall vs the Ecobee which is a black square. The only feature that is not included on the E version vs the 3rd generation original version is called farsight. Farsight isn’t much of a selling point anyway, it senses a person in front of it and the display will then turn on showing time, temp, etc. Nest E is still compatible with Alexa.
Nest also has cameras and smoke detectors that do several things other than just sound an alarm to smoke.
The community developed app just integrates Nest with ST. I’m not using that currently. I set my Nest schedule in the Nest app that closely mimics the ST Routines times. I control any adjustments I need with Alexa.
There is only one way to save energy/money, and that is to spend less time generating heat (and/or cooling the house). Unless of course you have solar panels doing the job, in which case you’re fine however you go.
I’m thinking that motion sensors that don’t get fooled by pets, combined with dampers in the hvac ducts, are the way to go. The system should be designed such that the flow is unrestricted if 60% of dampers are open, so that if two or three ducts are closed you’re still not stressing things.