In this crazy, topsy-turvy world of ours there are doctors that smoke, lawyers that speed, politicians that (oh let’s not even go there!), and green homeowners that don’t know how to program their thermostats.
I’m embarrassed to say that I fall into the last category. At least I was embarrassed until I realized I wasn’t alone. Turns out that 70% of US homeowners that have programmable thermostats do not use them-negating the energy savings that is literally right there at their fingertips. So I started thinking that maybe it’s not me;maybe its my thermostat! Maybe it’s most thermostats!
I encountered this information at the recent AHR EXPO HVACR Trade Show while chatting with the folks from Ecobee, a Toronto-based company that makes comfort control products that enhance the efficiency of residential and light commercial HVAC systems. They assured me that my “thermostat-o-phobia” is not uncommon. They also introduced me to their Smart Thermostat/Energy Management System and I could instantly see why 82% of Ecobee customers actually do program their thermostats.
‘Purdy’ Is as ‘Purdy’ Does
Visually, the thermostat is far more intuitive than any thermostat I’ve ever seen, largely because it isn’t just a bunch of numbers and arrows, leaving you with the uneasy feeling that if you press the wrong thing you might never find your way back to the main menu. Unlike most thermostat control panels, Ecobee’s panel has pictures - colorful pictures - like the drawings in a pre-school picture book! And it is just about that easy to understand.
Despite its Crayola-like screen, the Ecobee thermostat has the sophisticated remote control capability of a commercial energy management system. Users can log into their home system via the Internet or their iPhone, check current indoor conditions, change settings, view operational histories, and a lot more.
Ecobee users not only can operate these systems remotely, they do. 70% log into their Ecobee web portal or iPhone applications on a weekly basis. And to answer your next question, no, there is no annual fee.
Here’s something else I love. By installing some humidity sensors in your home, the thermostat will also help you monitor indoor humidity- something that I strongly believe every homeowner should be doing. If you have a humidifier and/or dehumidifier connected to the thermostat, you can also control its settings and operation as well.
I have not used the Ecobee product personally, but I have to say I was very impressed with how user-friendly it seemed to be. To me, this is the key to a useful programmable thermostat. I would love to talk to any homeowner out there who has had direct experience with the product.