1 2
Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/9/20 9:30 p.m.

I figure since I am stuck at home so much, this would be a good time to make my home a more enjoyable place to be.  

This month, the focus is on my HVAC.
I'm upgrading my humidifier, and figured now is as good a time as any to upgrade my thermostat to automatically control the humidifier, as well as the obvious- looking cool on my wall adjacent to the TV when and if people ever come over again.  (I guess I could just post photos of it to Instagram, but it feels kinda hollow)

Anywho...
I was just going to Easy Button it with a Nest (and no, not JUST because it kinda looks like an Easy Button) , but then when I was about to buy one, I started looking at reviews.  Supposedly, the newest Nest is different, and doesn't work with the Nest app, instead using Google Home.  Lots of people don't seem to like it.  Now there are different versions, and maaaaybe I can get an older model, but before I went dow that rabbit hole, I figured I would ask here what everyone likes, and why.

 



*A little  info about my personal application, in case it may have any bearing- 
Approximately 1700 Square Foot split level in Chicagoland, gas fired forced air furnace, 20+ year old standard central AC, vaulted ceilings on first floor with typical issues associated with temperature distribution in a split level that I have mostly mitigated with opening and closing different vents in the fall/spring, I may one one day mess with zones, or most likely just controlled vents, but really not looking to get into it at this time.  Not looking to upgrade to a fully automated house at any time soon, as I just don't see the need here.  I'm a commercial electrician with over 20 years of varied experience, so the wiring "issues" don't worry me, I like long walks on the beach, and my beard grows really fast.  

 

lnlogauge
lnlogauge HalfDork
12/9/20 10:01 p.m.

I have the 3rd gen nest, so not familiar with the latest. Even if the new nest isn't as easy to use, it's still light years above the rest. Installation is super easy, setup is a breeze. Programming the schedule is super easy too. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/10/20 10:52 a.m.

I'm waiting on this as well. I've got a Ring doorbell camera now, and plan on adding some more in the future along with some outlets, smart lighting, and garage door opener control.

But somehow they still don't have their own thermostat or a thermostat that be controlled through their app. Mainly just because I'd like to have everything run through one app vs multiples. 

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 11:37 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I totally get that.   Security cameras are currently the only thing I am looking to possibly add in the future.  I remember early in my career installation all the whole house system and office lighting packages and controllers, and wanting to pipe my own home for music and entertainment in every room.   Now, I don't really care if I can listen to dedicated speakers in my laundry room. and even if I did, there are easier ways to do it than hardwiring every location.  But even so, turning up the stereo in the living room is just easier.  It also keep young hooligans off my lawn...



But I digress.  
Currently pretty impressed with the Honeywell T9 due to value vs features (I really like the remote sensors that pick up temperature as well has humidify), but I am still wading through mountains of info to see if it will truly control the Aprilaire humidifier that I am planning on using.  I would rather use the manual one and control it from the t-stat than pay extra for an automatic one, and have a separate controller to deal with.  I also have to deal with and vet out a rash of complaints about it to see if they are real and/or applicable for my use.

~EDIT- at this time I see one reviewer saying it can work as a humidistat, and another saying it can't.    Going to take a deeper dive into Honeywell's website to see what I can find.


 

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
12/10/20 11:53 a.m.

I have an Aprilaire humidifier and the ecobee 4 thermostat works great at controlling it.  You can set it in "frost control mode" or a set humidity level.  Make sure you check if the smart thermostat control a humidifier, I believe only the Ecobee 4 does for that brand. You don't even need the aprilaire automatic controller in the loop, just the humidifier unit and solenoid which wires directly to the Ecobee. You can buy the manual version of the humidifier that way and save $20.

Having the extra room sensor is nice too, in a multi level home.  We have the extra sensor in our bedroom which is at the top floor, and it keeps the room temperature controlled using that sensor as opposed to the one on the thermostat, only at night when we're sleeping.  You can set a schedule for which sensor is used.

No complaints about the Ecobee otherwise, they do change the App interface quite frequently which is annoying.

Check your utility (both gas and electric) for rebates, we got $50 from each.  Some utilities are offering a "Free" smart thermostat, but only if you allow them access to your data and sometimes control of the thermostat. Not worth it, just use the rebates and buy your own.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 12:09 p.m.

In reply to engiekev :

My plan is to control the (manual) humidifier from the t-stat, as I stated in the post.   Both the Ecobee and Nest are able to control the manual Aprilaire. 

Part of the reason I am doing this now is because my local utility offers a $75 rebate that (currently) expires at the end of the year.  But I need to get the t-stat up, running, and connected to my WIFI before that time.  

~EDIT- forgot about the gas company.  That is another $25.  Also expires at the end of the year.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 12:17 p.m.

Well, the Honeywell is out of the running.   

Amazon now shows it as unavailable until February, which will rule out any rebates I planned on.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/10/20 12:22 p.m.

I've dealt with both a honeywell option (established industry) and a google option (tech disruptor). 

This is one case where the common case holds very true. The tech disruptor can do the tech and can add in the established industry features. The established industry struggles mightily to neatly add in the tech features. The features/price stack up nicely, but the devices suck. 

Honeywell might be a bit better now, maybe. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
12/10/20 1:51 p.m.

Nest or Ecobee seem to be the best options from my research, but still haven't been able to make myself pull the trigger.

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
12/10/20 3:03 p.m.

I've had an Ecobee for two years and am happy with it.  There are sensors in various locations and vents were partially closed in some places to direct heat to the colder parts of the house.  It's usually balanced within a couple of degrees.

cdowd (Forum Supporter)
cdowd (Forum Supporter) Dork
12/10/20 3:09 p.m.

Home Depot seems to have them in stock for the Honeywell.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 3:20 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I'm slowly whittling it down.  

The cheaper Nest doesn't work with remote sensors.   This has become more important as I go through my research, as it will allow me to better control temperatures in this split level for day and night.

Still need to research the expensive Nest, but it is pretty darn expensive (nearly twice the price of the cheap Nest), and doesn't come with a remote sensor.  The nest sensor isn't cheap, and only senses temperature.  

Ecobee 3 Lite won't control my humidifier, as far as I can tell. It also doesn't come with a RoomSensor, but I may be able to find one bundled that way.

Ecobee 3 (standard) isn't really available anymore.

Ecobee 4 comes with Alexa, which really isn't a bonus IMO.  And if I disable Alexa, it emits a red light.

Ecobee SmartThermostat also has Alexa (likely with the same annoying light), but with more functionality through Alexa, as well as Bluetooth, which doesn't do anything for me, but maybe my wife would want to have her thermostat play music through Spotify.  It does come with a better sensor for temperature and occupancy, but not for humidity, like the Honeywell does.  I'm sure I could somehow disable/tape over the light so that I don't always have drunken sailors coming to the house looking for sex.

The Honeywell Home T9 is a nonstarter, for a variety of reasons, not the lest of which is the fact that I can't get it this year for a decent price with an included remote sensor, but that sensor recognizes occupancy, temperature, and humidity.  If it weren't for the wonkiness, poor reviews, I still am not convinced that it can control a humidifier, which puts it out of the running..  It IS a pretty cool name, though.



So, I am likely shopping between the Expensive nest bundled with a sensor, the Ecobee 4 bundled with a sensor, or the Ecobee SmartThermostat.
This feels like voting in an election, for some reason.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/10/20 3:29 p.m.

I loved my Nest for two years, but since the google takeover, it has been not the greatest.  The location service is completely non functional.  It uses your phone's location and whether or not you're connected to the same wifi to know if it should set the temperature to Home or Away.  My heat is set for 68 when I'm home and 55 when I'm away.  It never gets it right.  I was halfway across the state the other day and it said "Away - 68."  It knew I was away, but didn't adjust the temp.  Other times I will open the app and it still thinks I'm home.  I'll set it to Away manually, then when I go home it will switch to "Home - 55"

I have also set it to specifically NOT learn.  If I get up in the middle of the night and adjust it a little warmer, I run the risk of the thermostat performing the same task every night at 2am and suddenly baking me.  It doesn't get the hint.  Even though I set it to not learn OR make schedules, it does it anyway.

It's useless.  I did a hard reset on the stat, deleted and reinstalled the app, started a repair ticket with tech support, it's still useless.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 3:31 p.m.

In reply to cdowd (Forum Supporter) :

The price is $5 more than it is on Amazon for the T9 by itself.  Amazon can deliver the t-stat alone by Saturday.   
But there was a bundle available on Amazon that included a sensor for $136.  That option wasn't available until next year the second time I checked, and now I can't find it at that price at all.   Regardless, I don't have confidence that it will control my humidifier.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 3:45 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

That is what I have been reading on the reviews, as well.    
It is good to have a first hand experience to corroborate those reviews. 

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/10/20 5:20 p.m.

I think I have my Final Answer.

I'm getting the manual Aprilaire 500, and since the Ecobee4 is more expensive than the SmartThermostat with less functionality, and both are cheaper than the Nest with more functionality, it was a relatively easy choice once I was finally able to wade through all of the specs.

I'm still not happy with the way Ecobee spells its made up words, nor the possibility of visits from drunken sailors, but I will figure out how to deal with each of those issues in due time. 

Grtechguy
Grtechguy MegaDork
12/11/20 7:11 a.m.

I've been quite happy with my Nest E.   Quick and easy install.

The app makes scheduling a breeze.   ALso, when both my phone and my wifes are gone,  it adust the temperature for eco

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle SuperDork
12/11/20 7:30 a.m.

I've got a 1700sf ranch, one furnace (forced air) through two zones controlled by Ecobee t-stats upstairs and in the basement. and after three years I quite like the setup. I don't use the data or have extra sensors or humidification but I do like the app interface and the ability to control everything from my smartphone or browser. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/11/20 7:48 a.m.

FWIW I have an Ecobee.  Whatever model they sold in early 2013.  Sometimes the buttons are slow to respond, but that's my only real gripe.

I have 'learning' or 'smarts' or whatever it is disabled.  I program it manually (through a web interface, which is soooooo much nicer than the old 'programmable' thermostats).   Its a small house with single-zone hvac, so remote sensors and whatnot seem pretty pointless.

I don't even have the app installed on my phone anymore.  I can grab it or use the web interface if I need to control it remotely, but I almost never have a need to do so.  

 

One time when I was out of town it did send me an alert that said "hey, I keep telling the heat to come on, but the temp is still falling", so that connectivity can be handy.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
12/11/20 8:08 a.m.

I need to get on this bandwagon, we still have 2 of the old style push button ones that came with the house 20 years ago.

engiekev
engiekev HalfDork
12/11/20 10:26 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

FWIW I have an Ecobee.  Whatever model they sold in early 2013.  Sometimes the buttons are slow to respond, but that's my only real gripe.

I have 'learning' or 'smarts' or whatever it is disabled.  I program it manually (through a web interface, which is soooooo much nicer than the old 'programmable' thermostats).   Its a small house with single-zone hvac, so remote sensors and whatnot seem pretty pointless.

I don't even have the app installed on my phone anymore.  I can grab it or use the web interface if I need to control it remotely, but I almost never have a need to do so.  

One time when I was out of town it did send me an alert that said "hey, I keep telling the heat to come on, but the temp is still falling", so that connectivity can be handy.

I forgot to add I also have the "learning" turned off, and just program it manually.  

Having too many "internet of things" controlling your house isn't a good thing, so that is kind of a concern.

Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
12/11/20 10:29 a.m.
engiekev said:
ProDarwin said:

FWIW I have an Ecobee.  Whatever model they sold in early 2013.  Sometimes the buttons are slow to respond, but that's my only real gripe.

I have 'learning' or 'smarts' or whatever it is disabled.  I program it manually (through a web interface, which is soooooo much nicer than the old 'programmable' thermostats).   Its a small house with single-zone hvac, so remote sensors and whatnot seem pretty pointless.

I don't even have the app installed on my phone anymore.  I can grab it or use the web interface if I need to control it remotely, but I almost never have a need to do so.  

One time when I was out of town it did send me an alert that said "hey, I keep telling the heat to come on, but the temp is still falling", so that connectivity can be handy.

I forgot to add I also have the "learning" turned off, and just program it manually.  

Having too many "internet of things" controlling your house isn't a good thing, so that is kind of a concern.

My coworker is the opposite.  He has everything in his house hooked to his phone.  He has a raspberry pi loaded and a Shelly control app on his phone that he can turn on his lights in every room, see how much power his hot water heater is using, Nest thermostat controls, it's pretty slick.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/11/20 12:19 p.m.

Delivery is scheduled for Saturday.   After I get it hooked up, I will see how much "Learn me" I want the t-stat to do.  Pretty sure I may have to pull another 18/2 to power the stat, but maybe I have enough wires back there.  The last time I messed around with the control wires I was only trying to get the AC operational again, and my memory isn't what it used to be for a  variety of reasons.   

I like the idea of geofencing, but we would need the app installed on all three of our phones to use it.  And it isn't likely to be used for many months at this rate, as there hasn't been a time all three of us have been away from the house in over 9 months now.  I'm not sure if I want the t-stat to "learn", but I do want it to know when I go to bed, and that is what the extra sensor is for.   I've read that I can turn the microphone off for Alexa.  Not sure if that will trigger the red light and resultant drunken sailors.

Cooter
Cooter UberDork
12/11/20 12:24 p.m.
Grtechguy said:

I've been quite happy with my Nest E.   Quick and easy install.

The app makes scheduling a breeze.   ALso, when both my phone and my wifes are gone,  it adust the temperature for eco

As stated in the thread, the Nest E won't work with a remote sensor.  One of the biggest issues with this house is temperature control for the upstairs.  The extra sensor will help with that.   And when I set up the lower level with the theater seating, I can use a second one down there.  Right now we only go down there for laundry.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/11/20 12:28 p.m.
Placemotorsports said:

My coworker is the opposite.  He has everything in his house hooked to his phone.  He has a raspberry pi loaded and a Shelly control app on his phone that he can turn on his lights in every room, see how much power his hot water heater is using, Nest thermostat controls, it's pretty slick.

It can't be pretty slick, but its also pretty pointless.  What is he doing with that info?

The only thing I like about those setups is the ability to program some lights to come on/off on timers when I'm gone on vacation.  But that's solved with a $5 timer from Lowes.  

When all of these competing systems agree on some common standard, or are integrated into the fusebox/house at some point, then I will consider going that route.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
KKTG8hKeLaUFewG6aCWY4wGP7CU6QpsAXhpMiVSJ01ICpnvKvgowYxSHm4dKrmKY