The advent of smart home tech has helped aging in place a more sustainable reality. In particular, remote and voice-activated Wi-Fi thermostats are so empowering for the elderly and their caregivers. Since smart thermostats can be controlled from one’s seat, elderly people do not have to worry about straining themselves getting up just to adjust the temperature. Plus, the smart home tech ensures that the seniors are as comfortable as possible. That said, if you are looking for a smart thermostat, meet Ecobee4 – the most popular Wi-Fi thermostat in the Ecobee line-up.
Integrated with Alexa voice service, the Ecobee4 can do everything you might want your smart thermostat to do. We recommend it for everyone who wants deep-dive control over energy bills; are looking for robust integration with smart home devices; or who wants to provide a world of comfort and independence to their loved ones.
Scroll on to learn more about how Ecobee4 can add ease and convenience to your loved ones’ everyday life.
The Ecobee4 Wi-Fi Thermostat – What’s Hot
At first glance, the Ecobee4 is barely distinguishable from its predecessor the Ecobee3. Designed to sit flat against the wall, it retained the black faceplate and 3.5-inch color touch display, but at 4.2x 4.2×1.0 inches, it’s a bit larger. Ecobee 4 also has an LED strip on its top edge that glows blue when Alexa is active, and red when the built-in microphone is turned off. It also has a speaker in the back of the housing. The back plate contains 12 terminal connections for connecting to humidifiers, air ventilation/conditioning devices, and other HVAC accessories.
Reliable room sensors
Unlike many thermostats, smart or not, the Ecobee4 Wi-Fi thermostat comes with one remote sensor. This tiny sensor runs on battery power and monitors room temperatures effectively. It also acts as a wide-angle occupancy detector, so on days when your schedule deviates from the norm and you find yourself home, Ecobee4 picks up on that. And, if you are away, it automatically switches to ‘Away’ mode. It’s a terrific, absolutely logical feature that helps users to achieve the ‘right’ temperature in multiple occupied rooms, rather than just wherever the thermostat is installed.
The Ecobee4 can account for as many as 32 room sensors, which you can control from the main thermostat or through Ecobee app. Note: the 4 comes with only one room sensor.
Ecobee4 Sensor Range
- Communicating Range: The promised maximum range of the Ecobee4 sensors is 45 feet. So if you place the remote sensors too far away from the Ecobee4, they may become unreliable. If the base unit is installed in your home’s central location, there is a 90-foot diameter circle that you can place your room sensors. And, that range should meet the majority of your needs. Remember, the walls and other obstacles will shorten this range.
- Motion Detection Range: The horizontal and vertical range of the ecobee room sensors are about 120 degrees and 25-30 degrees respectively. The sensor can detect motion up to 15 feet.
Every Wi-Fi thermostat available today is easier to schedule, but the Ecobee4 shines on scheduling thanks to the complete control it offers. That means the elderly can program the device based on features outside of just the time of day. Through the website, app or the Wi-Fi thermostat, the caregivers can also set a “home”, “away” and “sleep” schedule, vacation dates, or reminders to change the filter or alert them in case of high temperatures.
Using Smart Home/Away, the Wi-Fi thermostat automatically switches comfort profiles based on user’s presence. Rub your hands together gleefully because this means great ‘Energy savings’!
Through this feature, the temperature/occupancy sensors in the Ecobee4 determine exactly where you are in the house and adjusts the readings accordingly. If more than one sensor detects motion, it will average the temperature of all sensors and use that to determine when to run the smart thermostat. If ‘Follow Me’ is turned off, all the participating sensors’ temperatures will be averaged whether they sense motion or not.
This is an added layer of brain power for the Ecobee 4 Wi-Fi thermostat. Smart Recovery allows the thermostat to calculate the time it will take to reach the desired temperature and adjust accordingly. In other words,
Smart Recovery + Location Tracking = Energy Savings
Home IQ is the usage monitoring feature of the Ecobee4. Additionally, the Home IQ reports will tell your HVAC’s efficiency, how the external weather impacted on the climate control costs, and more.
Alexa, what’s in the news (and more)
By far the worthiest feature of the Ecobee4 is the built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant. Almost anything you do with the Amazon Echo can be done with this Wi-Fi thermostat. This also means that Ecobee4 is very well-suited to make life easier for older adults. They can just tell, “Hey Alexa, play the Blues”, “Alexa, remind me to take my meds every day at 8 am” or “Alexa, ask my son to send help”. And on that note, if Alexa isn’t your smart-assistant choice, you can pair Ecobee4 with Google Assistant, Wink, Microsoft Cortana, Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, and IFTTT as well.
How to enable Amazon Alexa in Ecobee4 Wi-Fi thermostat
Before enabling Alexa on the Ecobee4, make sure to
- Register Ecobee smart thermostat and connect to Wi-Fi
- Set up Amazon Echo using Amazon account
- Install the Ecobee app and Amazon Alexa App on the smartphone
Enabling Alexa on Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat via Ecobee App
- Open Ecobee App and sign in with your Ecobee credentials.
- Next, choose your Wi-Fi thermostat and click on the ‘Microphone’ icon at the bottom right side.
- On the next screen, you will see “Your Ecobee has Amazon Alexa built-in” message. Now you need to Sign in to your Amazon Account.
And, that’s all – your Ecobee4 is all set to offer efficient climate control for your home.
Next up, Usability Of The Wi-Fi Thermostat
Talking about usability, the Ecobee4 is quite intuitive. The simple menu at the bottom has touchscreen buttons linking to,
- Basic Menu (bottom left): Use the basic menu to control your system, schedule, and other detailed smart thermostat settings.
- Weather (bottom left): This one is to see the local weather and forecast for the week. Depending on the forecast the Wi-Fi thermostat changes its temperature settings. For example, a rainy day may not need as much AC as a hot, summer day.
- Quick changes (bottom right): This function is to switch between ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ modes quickly, so you don’t have to go through the whole menu.
- Volume Control (bottom right): This will let you turn the volume up or down, and/or enable or disable the microphone.
You’re wondering about performance…
Whether you’re using the Wi-Fi thermostat’s intelligent schedules or geofencing to regulate heating and cooling setting at home, the Ecobee4 does a fantastic job of turning systems on or off, saving energy (and money) if configured and used properly. Likewise, as an Alexa-enabled device, this smart thermostat hears and responds well, rarely missing your request despite that its microphone and speakers are secured between the thermostat and the wall.
But the smartest tech baked into this Ecobee4 is the remote sensors with which it offers users an array of configurations to make the home feel warmer and comfy.
Wi-Fi Thermostat Installation? It’s Hassle-free!
Installing the Ecobee4 is a painless 20-minutes affair. Take the old thermostat off the wall, follow the colored wire schematics, install the Ecobee4’s backplate, and snap the thermostat onto it. Ecobee4 comes with a trim plate that can conceal any unsightly holes left behind by the thermostat. Once the Ecobee4 is in place, use the Ecobee app (Android and iOS) to sign up and link it to HomeKit and/or Amazon account.
Alexa-enabled Ecobee4 is a great way to bring a surprising dose of smarts to your loved one’s home. Along with bringing smart climate control and energy saving, the Ecobee4 is the perfect device to play music, set reminders or anything else Alexa does.
But if you prefer important smart features, such as geofencing, and true climate control automation, the Nest Learning Thermostat might be a better choice for you.