Your home would consist of multiple zones for different reasons. You would have the living room, kitchen, bedroom, and possibly an office. Sometimes you may desire to have a place in your home at a temperature different from another, rather than treating as a single cooling or heating zone. For instance, you may prefer to have a warmer kitchen and a cooler bedroom – this is where the thermostat comes in.
The Smart thermostats (Read more on Wikipedia) are devices that let you control and monitor the temperature and humidity of the multiple zones in your home from your smartphone, tablet or PC. The Smart thermostat works by collecting data on the temperature of the various zones in the house through remote sensors to assess the overall temperatures in each room.
In this review, we would discuss three smart thermostats that are the best for multiple zones in a home.
- Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat – The first smart thermostat with a Room Sensor and built-in Amazon Alexa)
- Nest (T3007ES0) Learning Thermostat
- Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
Let’s get started!
Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat
The competition for the best smart thermostat in the market has always been a tough one. Ecobee4 may not be the most popular one, but it cannot be ignored either. As homeowners, Ecobee4 is a better decision to saves up on the money you spend annually on heating or cooling; since it pays for itself in under two years.
The device comes with a remote sensor you can place in a room to balance the temperature of the whole house and cost only a little over 200 dollars, but it is worth it.
The sensor measures temperature, humidity, proximity, and occupancy, before automatically switching it to the best mode for your comfort when you are in your home, and also save energy when you are away. Regardless we recommend you use more than one remote sensor for a zone to increase the efficiency and accuracy of the smart thermostat while they gather temperature information.
Even while you are trying out the Ecobee4 for the first time, the installation is relatively a 30 minutes stress-free process. To install the device, you should first cut the power to the thermostat by tripping the breaker that is connected to the heat pump and furnace. Remove the old thermostat, then following the colored wire schematics, reinstall the backplate of the Ecobee4.
There is a trim to cover up the wall holes left behind by the old thermostat plate that comes with this device. Wire the backplate, attach your thermostat and allow it to boot up. Setting up the software is also straightforward, do it then connect it to your device via Wi-Fi to get your thermostat online.
Like most other smart thermostats, you can control it using your Android or Apple device when you download the mobile software from App Store or Google Play. The device has an array of features that would make it preferred to other brands, one of them is the built-in mic and speaker that allows you to work with Alexa or google assistant using your voice. The WiFi connectivity builds up is 802.11b/g/n at 2.4GHz.
Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat
This 3rd generation Nest Learning Thermostat would require only a few manual adjustments and then it would get used to your settings and help you save up on your electric bill by automatically modifying your home temperature.
The display is big, bright and easy to read. You get to maintain your style since you have a choice to pick from the four available display colors that give different touch and look to your device – Copper, Black, White, and Stainless Steel.
Nest Learning Thermostat introduces something called “Farsight” that lights up the display and show you the temperature that is being read even when you are across the room. The Farsight creates an aesthetic display.
As long as you have 230 Volts main power for the Heat Links, you can easily install the Nest Thermostat yourself. While installing the Nest Thermostat, you can power it via USB and operate it in wireless mode, then use a wall-mount or dest-stand to keep it in place, but to be safer, you may prefer a professional to do the installation if you are not sure of something.
In case you already have a previous installation, you can have multiple Nest Thermostats in a heating system what you do is power the device by hooking the thermostat wires to the 12 volt DC output of the Heat Link.
Just like Ecobee4, the Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat works with Alexa for voice control, only that it is not built in, but sold differently.
Other Nest devices can help to keep you safe and secures. Now the good thing about this is you do not have to worry about compatibility since this smart thermostat works well with other Nest devices around your home. For instance, the Nest secure can use your lightbulb, smart washer or dryer to get your attention in any event of an emergency.
The Nest Learning Thermostat comes as two components; the smart thermostat and Heat Link which you can connect to your boiler. The Heat Links control both heating and hot water.
Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
For a Smart Thermostat that would not take up all of your money on the purchase, and still help you save up on your annual heating and cooling costs, the Ecobee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat is decent enough to be one of the best.
The device works with room sensors that help to balance the temperature all through the home when they are placed in the rooms that matter the most. The Remote sensors measure occupancy and temperature and automatically switches to your desired mood when you are there, or saves your energy when you are not.
Even though this is the cheapest WiFi supported Smart Thermostat you can find, you may not like that they do not come with remote sensors or c-wire for installation.
There is an easy to follow step by step instruction and in-app guide to simplify the installation so that you can carry it out yourself. So when you want to set it up yourself, you should shut off the power to the thermostat at the circuit breaker, remove the original faceplate and study the wiring connections of the old thermostat. Now disconnect the wires from the old thermostat and uninstall the original thermostat baseplate.
Put the wires through the baseplate of the Ecobee lite, mount it on the wall, connect the wirings as they were from the old thermostat, attach the faceplate to the mounting base plate, and power back the circuit breaker.
Ecobee3 gives you control of your smart thermostat from anywhere with your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Tablets or Android Devices (To get the Ecobee mobile software, download it from App Store or Google Play).
The most attractive feature of this smart thermostat is how it flows well with other smart home setups like Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung SmartThings, Apple Homekit, Wink and IFTTT.
Smart Thermostat Buying Guide
Just randomly picking out a Smart Thermostat would be wrong, since there are certain factors for you to get your desired device. We would go further by discussing the thermostat based on Algorithms, Geofencing, Remote sensor, Installation, App talk, and Design
Some smart thermostats rely on algorithmic-based learning, one of the is the Nest Learning Thermostat. Similar to the traditional programmable model, the algorithmic-based learning allows you create a schedule, but the difference is the capability to learn the schedules you have been inputting over time and automatically adapt to your pattern of changes.
Even when the algorithm has learned your change pattern, the Nest Learning Thermostat is built with an Auto-Away feature that works to monitors motion and lights in a 150-degree radius. When the sensors detect nothing at the regular time you are supposed to be home, it imagines you are gone and saves energy with the Away mode.
The slight imperfection with algorithm-based learning thermostats is that once it continues to change to the default Away mode at a particular time, it learns and adjusts the schedule to the new pattern, which may not be your interest.
Sometimes certain circumstances to result to you less movement around the 150-degree motion sensor of the device, but then it could be adjusted with a quick manual setting on the app or the thermostat itself to let it know that regardless of what the sensors are detecting, you are home.
Another feature of the smart thermostat you should take into consideration before purchase is “Geofencing.” To get a real picture of geofencing, liken it to a virtual perimeter. When your thermometer has geofencing, you can create a range for the sensors.
Geofencing is a program that sets a boundary line around your home to detect when you are home or when you are not. If the device detects you are away, it turns down the dial to a low temperature to save energy.
For instance, you can set your dial from your phone app to the range of 500 feet, so that when you step out of the premises, and it detects your phone is away from the set 500-foot perimeter your smart thermostat moves to the default away mode. When you return to the environment or cross the threshold, it would return to your desired home mode.
The downside is that it would not go according to your plan if you have a habit of forgetting your phone or you work in very close proximity to your house – It could create some problems when your phone has to be close to your home.
- Remote sensor
More than just turning on the display some smart thermostats like Ecobee3 uses motion and proximity sensors to detect when it would move to its default away mode in a particular room. The remote sensor would perceive the place, and when it is empty, it turns off the heating or cooling system to save up energy.
If you have a smart thermostat that relies on remote sensors, it is preferable to place your sensor around the busy part of your house, so it works well. Maybe we should also mention that it automatically returns itself to the home mode when the sensor detects you are back to that zone.
Installing a thermostat should not be so difficult, even when you have less experience. There should be a step-by-step and easy-to-understand guide with photographs or illustrations to instruct the process.
Thermostats like Ecobee3 Lite requires a common wire, sometimes called a c-wire for their installation. The function of the wire is to provide a constant and exact continuous flow of 24 VAC through the device for some features like the LED display to work correctly.
Some other thermostats like the Nest Learning thermostat are compatible with four-wire installations. It would depend on the model of thermostat you are purchasing, so we recommend you confirm from a professional because some wires can supply enough power and do the job of the c-wire by borrowing energy from other cables.
You may prefer to get a thermostat that is compatible with the four-wire, so you do not have to worry about rewiring your system with the C-wire. The process could be a little complicated, and it could cause harm.
The wiring of some thermostats are labeled or color-coded to indicate where they should be connected, but it is a good practice to study the wiring arrangements of the old thermostat before you replace it.
- App talk
The app is an extra feature you have to be sure of before your purchase. It has several functions including providing a remote control so you an made adjustments from afar and making auto-schedules easy.
Configuring the app would differ from one product with another, and would depend on a series of factors like the type of system you are using, your energy source, whether you use one or two stage heating and cooling and a few others.
The app also controls the mode, types of alerts you prefer to get and determines the if it can be integrated with other smart-home assistant systems like your smoke detector, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, Siri, Samsung SmartThings and Apple Homekit.
The function of a thermostat would not be the first impression you get from it, but instead, the design would determine if it is something you want to look at, that is why this is the last feature we would talk about. Even if most of the smart thermostats look pretty utilitarian, it would be preferable if they are designed in a way to fit well into the environments they are placed. They come in a variety of color options that you can choose from.
Apart from the general neatness of the thermostat, another thing is the display. The thermostats are built to have different ways of turning on; some have screens that are always on, some may require a tap to come on, others turn on with motion sensors. The primary job of the display is to gives you the critical information on temperature and time, but is equally better when it serves a stylish purpose.
In general, thermostats are electrical components that allow you to maintain the temperature of a specific zone at the desired setpoint. The thermostat is also a buildup of devices like the heaters, air conditioners, ovens, refrigerators, incubators, and other HVAC systems.
But the Smart thermostats are extremely necessary when the winter draws closer most especially if you live in North America. Investing in the smart thermostat is a smart choice; they help to reduce the energy bill spend on heaters. The cost of getting a thermostat with a remote sensor for the individual zones in your home would never amount to the regular electrical bills you would have to pay to maintain your home temperature.