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Installing and setting up the ecobee4 wifi thermostat

Our friends at Android Central recently took a deeper look at Google's Nest, so we thought we'd do the same thing with the ecobee4, which as thermostats go, might be even smarter. And we're starting with a hands-on install!

Step 1: Disconnecting the dumb

Right from the start, Ecobee did a good job with the instructions. They made the process seem simple, which took a lot of the stress out of something that could otherwise seem like a major change to your home.

First, we went into the garage to power off the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning). A couple of switches later, and we were ready to go. That meant taking the cover off the old thermostat.

The next step was the most daunting: We had to label all the wires. Ecobee provided stickers to make it easier, but it was slow going just because none of us had ever done anything like that before. For example, there was a warning about high voltage systems, which we didn't really understand. So, we ignored it and proceeded anyway. It turned out fine, but some extra help here would have been appreciated.

From there we followed the instructions carefully — we matched the wires from our old thermostat to the stickers Ecobee provided. Because we had the wire labeled "C", we got to skip ahead. If we hadn't, we'd have had to install the power extender kit as well.

Step 2: Setting up the smart

Attaching the back wall plate was also easy, but it wasn't obvious. There were only two sizes, but one was already attached to the unit and we didn't realize it. Once we figured that out, it was simple to install. ecobee4 even comes with a level, which is great, because it makes it easy to keep it straight.

Because the old thermostat was a horizontal rounded rectangle, and the ecobee4 is a circle, they don't cover the same wall area. That means Georgia has an excuse to will need to repaint.

Reconnecting the wires proved to be the biggest challenge. We couldn't figure out from the directions how to match them back up. So, we called Ecobee support. Even though it was a weekend, they answered quickly. While we were initially told we'd have to wait for a customer service rep, the rep answered almost immediately.

Once we started talking, the rep asked a few questions, which we answered, and then he told us exactly how to proceed. That level of support is impressive!

Next we plugged in the actual ecobee4 unit, then went down to the garage to turn the HVAC system back on. The Ecobee screen lit up right away with instructions on what to do next. We followed along to set up wifi, to register online with the provided code, and to get everything up and running. Much of it was done right on the ecobee4 touch screen, which was great. The registration was done on the iPhone, which was also great.

The remote sensor was even easier. We removed the battery sticker and it paired immediately. The we placed it, as recommended, in a high traffic area.

Step 3: Climate controlled!

The entire ecobee4 installation and setup was faster and easier than we expected, and now we're happily testing the smart thermostat on both our iPhones and Apple Watches.

That will be the subject of our next installments!

Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector and Isometric podcasts, follow her on Twitter @Georgia_Dow and check out her series at anxiety-videos.com.

16 Comments
  • I just bought a brand new house in the beginning of May and the first thing I did was install two Ecobee3's (dual zone) -- since the one downstairs was in a high traffic open area I opted to use the two sensors with the thermostat upstairs. I placed one in my office and the other in my daughter's room. So far they've been great. I'll get a report in a few days to see how the month using them has been. Installation on both took about 15 minutes. I'm hoping they somehow get Homekit support, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • Good for you?
  • This has been on my wishlist. I hope to get one this summer since it is already triple digits where in Live. (Hell...I am Phoenix, AZ)
  • Are these good in older homes? Sent from the iMore App
  • Interesting that you should ask, but installing this in a medium old trailer in good condition never got it to work, even after talking extensively with telephone support, which by the way, was very good. Do some homework first to try and understand, as best as you can, how your house central air is wired. There's lots of info to be found on the Internet using general searches with your favorite search engine.
  • I never understood why the canuck's mount their circuit breaker boxes sideways like in your photo
  • My guess is that a switch normally moves up and down not side to side. Makes since surprised most US homes put it the other way.
  • Don't they live in Canada?
  • We don't. At least, the majority of us don't. They're normally mounted the same way as they're mounted in the US, unless there's a clearance/space issue. Don't judge all of us, based on what you might see on "Holmes on Homes" on TV.
  • I'm in British Columbia and have never seen that before. It could be a provincial thing.
  • $249.00?? TOO MUCH!!, No Thanks.
  • I would love to buy one of these but $250 is a tough one to swallow..... Maybe $99-150 max. Down the road I could see these being the norm and better prices. Sent from the iMore App
  • I had a friend get one and it paid for itself in one year. I guess it can depend on where you live.
  • $250 is too much for something that will provide potential energy savings and convienince for over several years? Sounds good to me.
  • I wish it were a little cheaper too but like I mentioned above I had a friend get one and it paid for itself in one year and then some.
  • The HomeKit-enabled ecobee3 isn’t on sale until the 7th of July (pre-orders start on the 23rd of June). Ecobee also have really good installation videos @ https://www.ecobee.com/faqs/ecobee-3/#/video