The Ecobee smartphone app is also a great companion. You can see everything from the live camera view to the real-time temperatures in every room. I can quickly see when my dog is hopping on the couch when no one is home (and I even yell at him to come down through the speaker included in the SmartCamera). It can also tell you which rooms are currently occupied if you are looking for someone, such as a child.
Like most smart thermostat manufacturers, Ecobee says you can see up to 23% reduction in heating and cooling costs through its smarter use of your HVAC system. Can’t comment on that, as we installed ours right after moving in and quickly re-insulated the house. It’s hard to see any savings on the device itself given the improvements we’ve made around the house.
But I will say that unlike many smart home gadgets that I have tried in the past, Ecobee’s system continues to be solid after more than six months of continuous use, with no issues to speak of. It even reminds me to change my air filters. Pleasant.
Door alerts and motion sensors work well, and there’s even a way to make sure they don’t go off every time your pets move around the house. The camera has similar options.
By default, you will need to manually arm or disarm the Ecobee system when you leave or enter your home so that it does not trigger an alarm. If an intruder enters, the system does not actually speak to the local police. You will have to hope that the alarm will frighten them. I feel uncomfortable having an alarm system directly linked to the police (and potentially overloading them with false alarms), so that’s actually an advantage for me.
If you subscribe to Ecobee Haven for $ 5 per month, it will automatically arm and disarm the system for you, and it will be smart enough to know when you’re the one entering your house. This service also allows detection of smoke detectors (the sensors listen to it, they don’t actually detect smoke) and a 30-day video history so you can record clips. I paid for it – less than $ 100 a year for cloud video backup was worth it for me.
If you’re worried about potential hacks (and you should be), Ecobee is generally well placed. There have been no known incidents in the last two years, according to the Mozilla Foundation, and the company also uses the Hackerone platform to allow hackers to detect potential vulnerabilities.
Bottom line, I’d like to add an outdoor camera to monitor the large shed where I do most of my work, as well as smart light switches, air quality sensors and alarms, and maybe even be a smart lock. On this list, the company currently only offers the smart switch, but I hope to see it expand so that I can fit my entire home with one system.
Yet six months later, it’s the perfect starter to a fully automated home.