Well, you all have talked me into it. At least for one of two. I expect I’ll end up with two, but I want to see how it is with one first. Should be here sometime next week, thanks for all the input!
Oh, on the topic of the Ecobee remote sensor and pets, I can confirm that indeed they do not trigger it so long as it’s high enough off the ground. I have one in my daughters room on a shelf about 5’ off the floor and neither of our cats (who spend a LOT of time in her room) set it off.
Regardless, you can configure the comfort settings to exclude the remote sensor during certain times of the day, so if you wanted to make absolutely positively sure that a pet didn’t trigger anything through the day when nobody is home, you can tell the software to simply not pay attention to the remote sensor during your “away” comfort settings.
Hey so I have one more question… I got the Ecobee and installed today. How long does it take the room sensors to determine that a room is unoccupied? I have had it in a room with no one in it for an hour but it still says occupied in the app. Can you configure that?
There is no way to configure the time out for ecobees sensor. As I understand it they are relatively late in determining occupancy for a few reasons. One they have a time out of 15+ minutes. On top of that, the thermostat polls the sensor at relatively high rates.
Regardless, an hour seems high, but could be because of external factors light direct sunlight which can accidentally trigger occupancy.
Mine typically have about a 10-15 minute latency for detecting occupancy, which is on purpose as you don’t really want to trigger things too fast if you for example go to the kitchen to get a drink or something and then get back to the living room where your sensor is. I do have 4 sensors for that reason though and will probably get a few more so I have one in every room/major area in my house as for example my kids hang out in their room when they’re home so they won’t trigger any of my current sensors so the EcoBee doesn’t really know that they’re home and will keep the temperature pretty low (it’s already cold here in ID) so they complain all the time it’s too cold in the house. To which my response is, just walk into the hallway every 15 minutes to trigger the sensor. LOL
Well, thank you to everyone who helped me decide to replace my thermostats. I already love it so much I bought the second one as well, just to have a full report on both units. And much to my surprise, when I went to install the second one, it seems that the very expensive 2-stage unit I have upstairs was only wired to the thermostat for 1 stage. There was a wire for the second stage but it was just not hooked up, so I had to get them out to fix that (although the tech said that it would still run both stages even if the wire wasn’t connected, not sure I believe that one). The other thing I really like is that already, I have determined that Sense does not recognize the upstairs A/C unit unless both stages are running. Interestingly, the one downstairs seems better and seems to track more accurately whether 1 or both stages is running. So, I look forward to the reports I can get after I have had it for a month. I think it will be very helpful.
You may have it for the cost of postage.
Thank you, but I went ahead and got two at Best Buy (turns out, we had reward points!)
I do like it so far, except that I’m puzzled as to why it keeps activating the Smart Home/Away mode when no one is home. It seems the thermostat on the wall somehow has the occupancy sensor triggered, which causes the heat to come on when no one is really there. I can disable the Smart Home/Away, but I do like that it turns everything on if we come home early. I guess maybe my dogs are somehow triggering that sensor. Really odd, and I guess if I don’t figure it out, I’ll have to disable that because I don’t want it heating and cooling when no one is home. We’ll just have to go back to an old fashioned schedule!
It’s almost certainly your dogs. The sensor, especially the one on the main thermostat, is quite sensitive.
I just disabled the feature completely for two reasons:
1/ Our thermostat is in our dining room which sometimes, even when people are home, may not see activity (that would trip the occupancy sensor) for hours. It could be turning off the HVAC into setback when we are home and don’t want it to, or simply not turning it on when we are actually home, and want it turned on.
2/ Our HVAC is quite slow to recover either way (heat or AC) so relying on it to bring the house back up to temperature when we arrive home would yield a very cold house (this time of year) for at least 30 or so minutes, given the amount of daytime setback I use.
In the end, I just take advantage of the reality that the thermostat is controllable from ones phone, of course…and if we are coming home early or outside of our normal schedule, I just adjust the thermostat is needed from my phone ahead of time.
Thanks for the info, good to know. I did try removing the thermostat sensor from participation when in Away mode, but that didn’t work. Then I removed it from participating in any mode, which also didn’t work. So I suppose I’ll just disable it.
But I do have a question about something else you said, about the recovery time. Isn’t the thermostat supposed to automatically start running things before the scheduled time? I thought it was supposed to just figure out when to start in order to have the temperature how you want it at the beginning of the next time period. I’m not sure how that works with the automatic home and away thing though.
Do you have any remote sensors paired? You need at least one sensor per mode, the main unit or a remote sensor. Our “sleep” mode uses only the remote sensor in our master bedroom. The main unit and other sensors are disabled in that mode.
I do have two sensors paired to it and they don’t seem to register any movement when the dogs are home alone.
Yes, if you have that feature enabled, but that’s different than smart home / away which can’t operate on any sort of motion detection - smart recovery is based on your schedule, not the smart home/away. The sensors, of course, cannot see into the future.
I’m not sure the Ecobee’s have the “Early On” feature that Nest does. But I never found that feature to be very reliable about prediction when I used Nests. Maybe that’s because my wife, daughter and others were always fiddling with the temperature, leading the prediction to be scattered.
On the thermostat sensor, we have small dogs (1 foot high) that do not trigger the wall mounted thermostat sensors. But if I had a larger dogs and did not want occupancy triggering when they walked by, I would turn the local sensor off and use a remote sensor in that same room. The remote sensors are more steerable.
FYI - I use the remote sensors extensively, even beyond the Ecobee environment. Three ways:
Use with Keen smart vents upstairs. This takes the “Follow Me” function a step further and opens vents in rooms that are occupied and off in rooms that are not.
Use with HomeKit as primitive home detection monitoring system. See the snapshot below - I can see all the motion, lock, and temp vitals for my house in one simple screen.
Use for temperature monitoring my Service Closet where I have lots of my home electronics. It’s unheated and backs on my garage. I’m able to monitor temp and motion (door opening) via an Ecobee remote sensor that doesn’t connect to any of the Ecobee Comfort Setting.
Wow, that’s really cool! So, I emailed support about this and they say that the occupancy sensor on the main thermostat is always in use whether I have that participating in the current comfort setting or not. And there is no way to disable it. So that’s that, I will just have to disable the feature and hope that it gets smarter later on I guess.
Now I’ll have to look into automatic vents, I didn’t know anything about those!
Heres the link to Keen Home. They now market their own temp sensors, but Keen has an integration with Ecobee that uses the Ecobee remote sensors. I prefer the Ecobee sensors for two reasons:
The Keen sensors can’t be used with the Ecobee
The Keen sensors also can’t be used with HomeKit
My only beef with Keen is that their SmartVents only come in a limited range of sizes… You also have to be careful not to restrict airflow out of your heating system too much or the temp sensors in your furnace might start tripping.
@kevin1, do the keen vents have the ability to sense over-pressure of the ducts to avoid potential harm to the overall system if too many were closed?
It’s not really pressure that’s the issue, it’s the fact that (with too many ducts closed/blocked) that the furnace may not be able to move enough air across the heat exchanger to remove the heat being generated. In that scenario there’s an overheat sensor that will cut off the heat source, and on a newer electronically controlled furnace, possibly start causing error codes or weird behaviour.
Here’s Keen’s info on your question - yes they do have mechanisms to keep adequate airflow.
As @oshawapilot suggests, reduced flow isn’t dangerous, since the control system has built-in protection, and probably won’t hurt the lifespan of your HVAC system by much, though it will cause noticeable dropouts from your Ecobee when the 24V power is cut off.
My experience with HVAC overheats is that the temperature limiter just cuts off the further generation of heat (IE, in the case of a gas furnace for example, simply causes the regulator to cut off the gas flow) moreso than shutting down the entire furnace, electrics/electronics included.
So the thermostat would be just fine, but the furnace would be cutting off the gas, reenabling it again (when the limiter closes the circuit again), wash, rinse, repeat.