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Adding Ecobee 4 to Alexa

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Adding Ecobee 4 to Alexa
« on: January 17, 2018, 03:44:05 pm »
Today I added a great Canadian product to my Alexa set up.  The Ecobee 4 was rated very highly by CNET and others so I decided to get it. I was particularly keen on the multi room motion and temperature sensors that can help prevent cold spots.

Ecobee sells it in Canada directly at the same price as Amazon, so I bought it directly with free 2 day shipping via Purolator. There is also a $100 rebate from the Government of Ontario right now for this kind of device.

Fortunately I already had a C wire installed in my thermostat from a previously installed smart thermostat. The set up was really straight forward. There is a Mobile app that gives you clear step by step instructions. Once set up you register the device directly with Ecobee using the app.

After registration you link it with Alexa, again using the app. Because my Echo is registered as a US device I selected US as the country of installation. This prompted me to login to my Amazon.com account to establish the linking. Everything worked smoothly.

After it was set up and registered I had to go into the Ecobee app to specify the Canadian address for my thermostat, obviously it did not pick it up from the Echo. This allowed me to also change to Metric settings.  Ecobee also tracks the weather where you are and give you the conditions and forecast for your local area. It might be the same weather that Alexa picks up.

After  the thermostat was set up and tested, I added the remote sensor to the Ecobee which monitors motion and temperature in a different part of the house to provide even heating. The sensors also make sure you are comfortable in the parts of the house where it detects motion. 

After it was all set up and working, I added the Ecobee Plus skill to Alexa so I can now ask Alexa to ask Ecobee to change the thermostat setting and various other activities, like tell it that I am leaving the house for a while.

With this new smart thermostat and related app, I have a system that will automatically sense if I am home or not and adust settings accordingly. I also have an app that allows me to control and monitor my heating and cooling when I am not home. This is all in addition to the built in Alexa mic and speaker, gives me access to Alexa in a section of my home that is fairly far away from where the main Echo is located. The Ecobee essentially has a built in Echo Dot.

So far, it is a great addition to my new Alexa home automation set up.

Anyone else having experience or issues with Ecobee?
An independent consumer hoping to drive discussion and offer advice on using Echo and Alexa in Canada and home automation in general.

Re: Adding Ecobee 4 to Alexa
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 06:21:49 pm »
Ecobee is a very good product. It's a Canadian company, so that's always nice. Anyway, I'm pretty familiar with smart thermostats. I currently have the newest generation of Nest installed, more because I like the looks and manual interface better than Ecobee. The only way nest is somewhat superior is in the learning function but Ecobee has remote sensors which are very useful if you have a larger house. We recently downsized so the sensor is not an issue for me. The other thing with the sensor is that although a lot of people love it, If you have a number of people in various rooms, it will just average it out. Personally, if I'm in a room (basement) I just use echo to turn up the heat from wherever I am, which is basically what Ecobee is doing. It would be great to have a true smart zone system where heat could be diverted to whatever room you were instead of just increasing the house temperature - but those are big $.

As far as the Ecobee 4 goes, I THINK I would tend to prefer the 3 or 3 Lite, buy the sensor package and then install a number of dots throughout the house. The problem that's been reported with the Ecobee 4 is that it does not utilize ESP (Echo Spatial Perception) so if you an echo or echo dot within range - let's say an Echo in the kitchen and Ecobee 4 in a nearby hallway, The Ecobee will always respond when you're trying to communicate with the Echo. However you could defeat this if you changed your Echo to a different wake name "Echo" or "computer" but that ould be an issue for some.

Also, you're probably going to have more Dots or Echos in the house to control the Ecobee. If we're in the bed and we want to change the temperature to something other than the pre set temperature, you'd have to get up and move to wear the Ecobee could hear you.

There is no doubt that the Ecobee is an excellent product that will serve you well.

Re: Adding Ecobee 4 to Alexa
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 08:07:27 pm »


 If we're in the bed and we want to change the temperature to something other than the pre set temperature, you'd have to get up and move to wear the Ecobee could hear you.



What? You don't have an echo in your bedside table? And if you're in the bed, just use the ecobee app to control it. Why would you get up just to voice control it? No, just, no.

Re: Adding Ecobee 4 to Alexa
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2018, 02:13:59 pm »


 If we're in the bed and we want to change the temperature to something other than the pre set temperature, you'd have to get up and move to wear the Ecobee could hear you.



What? You don't have an echo in your bedside table? And if you're in the bed, just use the ecobee app to control it. Why would you get up just to voice control it? No, just, no.

You're missing the point. The big selling feature of the Ecobee 4 is that it has Alexa built in so you can control it with voice commands. This is not just Alexa compatibility, it also basically has a Dot built into it. So if people buy it, they have to buy additional Echo dots for the bedroom and other rooms anyway unless they only want to use voice commands in the vicinity of the thermostat. So if you already have other Echo devices or want to put them in locations other than where the thermostat is, you don't need Alexa built in to the device but you're paying extra for that feature. Still an excellent product though.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 02:20:11 pm by Hockey_Magnet »