Smart Thermostat Setup And SmartThings Integration

Smart Thermostats are becoming increasingly popular as part of smart home setups. These not only offer the capabilities of a traditional thermostat and programmable thermostats, but these also offer several other intelligent capabilities on top, such as automatic energy saving capabilities without the need for any programming. Besides, in many cases, these can be easily installed in place of the existing thermostat and no additional wiring is needed making these ideal candidates for smart home setups. In this tutorial, we will provide an overview of a typical Smart Thermostat, the popular Ecobee thermostat and how to integrate it with the SmartThings Hub.

Smart Thermostat Overview

A Smart Thermostat offers the following capabilities.

  • Automatic presence detection and switching to/from the energy saving mode.
    • The presence detection often uses built-in motion sensors to see if there is motion in a given area for a reasonable period of time before claiming it as being vacant.
    • This can also be combined with additional settings to further optimize the energy consumption, such as by providing the “Away” mode temperature threshold settings. For example, in winter when away do not turn on the heat until the temperature falls to 62º Fahrenheit.
  • Schedule-based settings (such as different settings for sleep versus during the day).
  • It can easily be integrated with a smart hub to perform more intelligent functions. For example, when you depart home, you can trigger a routine or a scenario that locks the doors and puts the thermostat in the Away mode.
  • Traditional thermostat capabilities, such as changing the temperature on the fly, turning the fan on/off, turning the heat on/off, etc.

Introducing the Ecobee Thermostat

In this post, we will look at the Ecobee thermostat. Ecobee is a leader in the smart thermostats space and their thermostat provides the following additional capabilities.

  • Ecobee offers small sensor devices that you would typically place in areas in your home other than where the thermostat is located. You can then pair these sensors with the thermostat. The benefit of this is that the thermostat will use the temperature readings from all these sensors to determine the actual temperature value instead of solely relying on the area where the thermostat is located, thus giving you a normalized temperature across the home. This is especially useful for large homes or homes where you may have one or two zones covering a large area.

Equipment and Budget

Note: The prices shown are based on data at the time of writing this article. Taxes and shipping are not included in these and actual cost may vary.

ItemUnit PriceQtyTotal
Ecobee Smart Thermostat$195.001$195.00
Total$195.00

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CustomN/AEcobee thermostat1

Ecobee Thermostat Installation

CAUTION: Always follow appropriate safety procedures when performing the installation.

Follow the vendor instructions to perform the installation and consider the following key steps.

  • Like most smart thermostats, Ecobee requires the C wire for fan control. Many homes have this as part of their wiring. But, do check the thermostat manual and verify that your prior thermostat wiring meets the needs.
  • Post installation, the wiring setup would look similar to this.
  • Install the Ecobee thermostat with the ecobee text on the back side facing up.
  • Ecobee ships with an additional wall plate. This can be useful to cover up the area when replacing a thermostat that has a bigger hole in the drywall.

Integrating Smart Thermostat With SmartThings Hub

Integrating the Ecobee thermostat with the SmartThings Hub not just makes it easy to do common management tasks from the SmartThings app, it also makes it easy to integrate Ecobee as part of Smart Home routines and scenarios. Following are the steps to integrate the Ecobee thermostat with the SmartThings Hub.

  • Get the Ecobee Connect app from the Marketplace->Thermostats.
  • Click on Connect Now.
  • Select the Ecobee thermostat(s) and sensor(s) you would like to add to SmartThings.

Now you should be able to do basic management of thermostat from the SmartThings app, such as changing the temperature, fan mode, heat mode, and so on. You can also use the Ecobee sensors like motion sensors as part of SmartThings Smart Apps that support motion sensors.

Additional Reading

 

Have an energy efficient smart home!
– Nitin

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