If you're looking forward to a long weekend away from home, you might be wondering if you can turn off your Ecobee thermostat and save energy while you're away. We looked into various sources and found the answer for you.
You should never completely turn your thermostat off, especially for a long period of time, whether you are using a smart unit like the Ecobee thermostat or not. Doing so may lead to potential damage in your home, from growing molds to freezing pipes. However, you can use the Smart Home and Away mode, a feature that enables your Ecobee to detect movement in the home and automatically set the thermostat to comfort or power-saving mode.
Read on for more information on the Home and Away option, as well as other settings for your Ecobee smart thermostat.
Potential home damage
HVAC service companies, such as Ambient Edge, advise homeowners not to turn off the thermostat when leaving the house, especially if they will be gone for an extended period of time. You may save energy and money by doing so, but the money you save will only be used for cleaning and repairs.
In cooler regions or during the winter, leaving the thermostat off will lower the home temperature and cause your pipes, hoses, and appliances to freeze. In more humid areas, leaving the thermostat off for extended periods of time may result in a clammy, dusty, and moldy home.
It is preferable to turn the thermostat down rather than completely off. You can set it manually or use the Ecobee smart thermostat's Smart Home and Away feature.
Smart Home and Away Feature
Ecobee boasts about their thermostat's Smart Home and Away feature, which detects movement and activity in the house and automatically switches the unit to power saving mode when no one is present.
When the feature detects people at home, even during a scheduled Away activity, it automatically switches to comfort mode. When it detects that no one is at home, even during the scheduled Home Activity, it switches back to power saving mode.
The Smart Home and Away feature is not available on all smart thermostat models. This feature is available on Smart Thermostat Premium, Smart Thermostat Enhanced, Smart Thermostat with voice control, Ecobee 4, and Ecobee 3.
These are models that include an occupancy sensor. It is also compatible with the Ecobee 3 lite when paired with the Ecobee SmartSensor or Room Sensor.
The Ecobee Smart Sensor supplements the temperature and occupancy sensor of the Ecobee thermostat.
The Ecobee Room Sensor allows for greater temperature control in the rooms where it is installed.
How to enable the Smart Home and Away Feature
The Smart Home and Away feature may not be enabled by default. To enable it, go to the unit's main menu and select Sensors. It will take you to the list of sensors to configure.
Then, on the Smart Home/Away button, you'll see the enable and disable buttons. When you select Enable, your Ecobee will be ready to intelligently switch modes depending on whether you are at home or away.
Enabling the featured is discussed in the video below.
If you own the Ecobee 3 lite model, you must first pair it with the SmartSensor as the occupancy sensor before you can use the Smart Home and Away feature. There are two methods for connecting the SmartSensor to your Ecobee.
One method is to use the Ecobee mobile application online. Go to the Home Screen, and then tap the plus sign that's located in the top right corner.
It will take you to a screen asking which product you want to add. You should select Sensors. It will then direct you to a list of products to pair with the unit, from which you should select SmartSensor.
Another option is to use the unit itself. Select sensors from the main menu. Look for the Add sensors option. It will take you to a list of available products for pairing, after which you should select SmartSensor.
These methods are detailed in the video below.
Other Ecobee features
Aside from the Smart Home and Away feature, there are other ways to reduce the temperature of your Ecobee thermostat while you're away. Some of these include remote control via the mobile application or by activating Vacation Mode.
Ecobee mobile application
You can control and adjust your Ecobee thermostat from anywhere as long as your mobile device is connected to WiFi. Just make sure you've installed the app on your phone or tablet and registered your device.
You can download and install the Ecobee app on any Android or iOS device. Once installed, launch the app and create a new account by entering your email address and creating a password, and you're done.
Enabling Ecobee Vacation mode
When you're away, turn on Vacation mode on your Ecobee thermostat to save energy and money while keeping your home at the proper temperature.
You can activate Vacation mode through your mobile application. Tap the airplane icon at the bottom of the Home screen of your application. Then click on Set a Vacation. It will take you to the screen where you can enter your vacation plans.
Set your travel dates, then select the device to which you want this setting to be applied. Set the minimum and maximum temperatures last. When you click save, your thermostat will be ready for your vacation.
For more details in enabling Vacation mode, watch this video.
Does the Ecobee screen turn off?
You can adjust the brightness of your Ecobee thermostat's screen or set it to sleep, just like you can with your smart devices. You can set the unit to turn off the screen automatically during the Sleep Activity period.
To do this, go to the Main Menu, then Settings, and finally Preferences. Adjust the Active and Standby modes by tapping on Screen brightness. Then select the option Screen sleeps when I sleep to make sure the screen stays off when you sleep.
How do you set schedules in Ecobee?
You can set and adjust schedules for your Ecobee using the thermostat itself, through the mobile application, or through the Web portal.
Through mobile device or thermostat
On your mobile app or your thermostat, select Schedule from the Main Menu. It will display the thermostat's daily schedule. The activities are categorized into three: Home, Away, and Sleep with default comfort settings.
Tap the scheduled activity if you want to change its start time. If you wish to add another activity for your Ecobee, just click on the plus sign that's located in the top right corner of the screen. Next, choose your comfort setting, set the start time and save.
You can either copy the setting for the next day or configure it again.
Through Web portal
Log in to ecobee.com with the user name and password you created when you registered. Once you're in, go to the right side of the screen and click on Schedule. You will be taken to a screen that contains a preprogrammed daily schedule for your thermostat.
Set individualized heating and cooling setpoints for Home, Away, and Sleep Activities by clicking on Comfort Settings. After you've configured the comfort settings, you can begin creating the schedule.
Click the Add Activity button, then select the comfort setting for that activity and the day you want to add it to. Save after adding as much activity as you need for the day.
You can copy the schedule to another day by clicking the Copy button, selecting the day's schedule to be copied, then selecting the days to which the setting should be copied, and finally saving.
Ecobee provides a detailed discussion on building your thermostat's schedule using the Web portal.
What is comfort setting on Ecobee?
The Ecobee thermostat's Comfort setting is always paired with the Activity component. Home Activity, Away Activity, and Sleep Activity are examples of default activities. A Comfort Setting is assigned to each activity.
Comfort setting is essentially a temperature setting that can be applied to specific times of the day. When creating a thermostat schedule, the Activity and Comfort settings determine which heat or cool settings to apply at a specific time of day and for how long.
Smart or not, thermostats should never be turned off, especially for extended periods of time. Your Ecobee thermostat has the Smart Home and Away feature that can help you save energy while maintaining the temperature in your home when you're away.
Another option is to enable the unit's Vacation Mode and remotely adjust the temperature via the Ecobee mobile app.
To learn more about thermostats, click on the following links.