I Finally Bought A Smart Thermostat

We have a programmable thermostat that came with our house when we purchased it.  The thermostat is a Honeywell, and it’s worked pretty well.  I have always heard about a smart thermostat, but have resisted for a variety of reasons. I was waiting for the perfect set of circumstances to upgrade.  Guess what? Every box on my list got checked, so I’m now the proud owner of a smart thermostat.

We were happy to wait.  Sometimes delayed gratification is worth it, especially when we found a thermostat that meets all of our needs!

Our Ecobee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat

The thermostat I decided upon was an Ecobee 3 Lite.  I saw as a sale item in last month’s Costco ad, and started doing some research.  I was happy to see all of the benefits that it offered.  The items below are precisely what we were looking for in a smart thermostat.

Cost

Costco was selling the Ecobee 3 Lite Smart thermostat for $139.99.  This was $30 off their normal price. In addition to the thermostat, they also included two remote sensors, which are normally about $30-$40 apiece.  This made it an incredible deal.

Rebate

Our gas company is offering a $50 rebate for smart thermostat purchases.  All I have to do is fill out a form online and submit proof of purchase, and I’ll get $50 off a future bill.  Sweet!

Compatibility

Most smart thermostats require a 5-wire connection to the furnace.  Our wire only has 4 wires.  In older smart thermostats, you would have to run a new line.  But, now there’s a built in converter that will make the 4-wire system work.  I’m no electrical engineer, but from what I’ve found, there’s always at least two wires that aren’t ‘in use’, so the converter has a relay system in place so that one of the ‘not-in-use’ wires can serve the function of the missing 5th wire.

Nifty!

Room Sensors

Our house doesn’t really heat or cool evenly.  Also, our thermostat is in a part of the house that often doesn’t truly represent the temperature elsewhere.  Because of the size of the furnace, I’m prohibited from closing off too much of the airflow during the heating season.  We found out a few years ago that we have a small crack in our heat exchanger.  We had been closing off a lot of vents, but this was trapping too much heat within the furnace.  So now we have to leave all vents pretty much fully open.  The Ecobee thermostat has room sensors, and it can automatically or manually use one of those sensors to adjust the set point.  How this benefits us is best illustrated with a couple of examples.

  • Cooling – If we leave the AC on at night, we often find that it doesn’t run.  The cool air settles down to the first floor where the thermostat is located.  This can make it stuffy upstairs.  All it would take would be a couple of cycles to run throughout the night, but lowering the temp on the current thermostat causes it to run much more often.  We can switch the ‘set point’ of the AC to our room for the overnight hours, so the AC will kick on when our room (and the rest of the upstairs needs it).
  • Heating – Conversely, during the heating season, the upstairs rooms can get pretty cool.  With the use of the room sensors, the system can sense if we all go upstairs, and can make sure we’re comfortable.
smart thermostat saving
Will a smart thermostat mean less usage for our A/C?

Away Sensors

The system can sense when everybody is gone.  Between the main unit and the two room sensors, the system can detect when nobody is there and stop running needless cycles.  As soon as someone comes back home, it will start up again.  Many say this is the biggest advantage of smart thermostats and can save them money.  I’ll be interested to see how this plays out.  Honestly, I’m pretty happy with our electric and gas bills, so any savings would just be a bonus for me!

Aesthetics

The old thermostat looks, well, old.  The plastic has yellowed.  It’s bigger than just about any thermostat sold today.  A new and modern look is always an improvement.

Remote Control

We love the idea of being able to make adjustments while we’re gone.  When we’re camping, we often set the AC at a very high temperature.  When we get home, we turn it on, but it can take a few hours to get the house comfortable again.  How cool will it be to log into the system when we’re on the way, so that we’re greeted to a nice, cool house?  Very!

We’re super excited for our new smart thermostat!

OK, so confession time.  I haven’t actually installed it yet.  The new thermostat is smaller and a different shape, so the wall will need some paint.  I want to do that before I put it up, so that I’m not painting around the thermostat.

Still, I’m extremely excited!

Readers, do you have a smart thermostat?  What model do you have? Has it saved you money?

4 thoughts on “I Finally Bought A Smart Thermostat”

  1. We might get a smart thermostat too sounds like a good idea. For the remote control is it on your phone or on an actual remote control?

    I think that and a smart door bell is as far as I’m willing to go for house technology lol. No Alexa or Google Home listening to me or me talking to it/him/her.

    • I am pretty sure it’s accessible via an app on the phone.

      We don’t use Alexa.

      The smart doorbell idea is nice but I’m still not matching up that value with the cost just yet. Still seems pricey.

  2. Our utility gave us free ecobee lites and these things have been awesome. We had to purchase extra sensors but the units themselves were free. We found them to be really helpful from a schedule perspective because they have an app. Not only is it way easier to program but you can turn it off and on remotely, for those times your schedule changes.

    Open the box to see if yours comes with this white circular plate. I watched the installer install ours and the old thermostat was a rectangular shape. The box included a plastic plate that covered the existing hole and more than covered the original footprint. No paint necessary.

    • We have a program available from our local power company where we could have gotten a free ecoBee, but we would have had to go on a tiered pricing platform and they would have been able to remotely raise the temperature if they wanted. Those weren’t worth the hassle to me.

      We do have the plate cover, but I’m going for as clean of a look as I can get.

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