I’ve already discussed most of the pros and cons of the product in my ecobee Smart Thermostat review, and detailed my experiences with installing a second ecobee unit and using the group features. I’ve also documented some of my frustrations with ecobee’s tethered device approach, especially in the rare cases when they have network issues.
But through it all, I’ve remained a staunch supporter of ecobee and their products. In fact, in addition to the thermostats I have installed in two of my vacation homes, I also had two ecobee smart thermostats in my primary residence, until last night when I finally got around to installing a third one on the upstairs HVAC unit that serves the top floor of my house. I’d been putting it off because that unit is in the attic, which involves a latter, itchy insulation, a tighter working area, and I was just too lazy to make it work. But at around 9PM last night, I got a wild hair and decided to just do it.
It had been a while since my last install, but after a few minutes of staring at the existing wiring, I was ready to go. I had the new control unit wired up in about 15 minutes, and then it took me another 10 minutes to get the old thermostat removed and the new one wired in place. By 9:40PM, the new ecobee was blowing cold air into the bedrooms.
I added the new ecobee to my ecobee.com account, and then fiddled with some of the programming settings via my iPhone. Speaking of which, ecobee’s 2011 update to their iPhone app (version 2.0) is great. The app seems much more stable, and addresses many of the issues I noted in my original review. The visual interface is very similar, with some very minor tweaks to the fonts, graphics, and shading. Here’s the new interface:
compared to the original interface:
I set the thermostat to keep the upstairs cool while I slept, and decided to mess with all the rest of the options in the morning. I did note, however, that because this ecobee had sitting in my shelf waiting to be installed for a while, it was running the older (v1.6) firmware. I hoped that it would alert itself to the ecobee.com Mothership overnight and receive the upgrade to v2.3.
This morning, I woke up and set about tinkering with the settings of my new thermostat via ecobee’s web interface. However, the firmware hadn’t been updated yet. I’m sure if I were a bit more patient, it would have happened eventually, but I’m not a patient person, so at 6:49AM Pacfic, I emailed ecobee tech support and asked if they’d manually push the upgrade. At 7:56AM, I got this email in reply:
Hello Steve, thank you for contacting ecobee support. We have looked into your account and have initiated the process of pushing a firmware upgrade to the requested Stat. Best Regards Customer Support T 1.877.932.6233 F 866.592.7344 W www.ecobee.com ecobee | green made easy
Awesome. ecobee’s techs are on their game this morning. I keep hitting “refresh” on the web interface to see the new version number.
This was ecobee install #5 for me, and since I have no plans for additional real estate purchases in the near future, it’s probably my last one for a while. Unless one of my friends decides to buy one… in which case, I’ll gladly come and help you install it!
I still think it’s the best smart thermostat on the market right now.
What are the chances that I’d be walking through the hallway with my cell phone at the precise moment the ecobee was upgrading itself to the latest firmware?