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Using the ecobee 3 with SmartThings

One of the great features of SmartThings is the open platform. That means the system isn't just compatible with first-party devices, but a plethora of officially (and unofficially) supported devices as well. One such device that works with SmartThings — though isn't yet officially supported — is the ecobee 3 smart WiFi thermostat.

If you haven't heard of it before, SmartThings is a smart home system that supports various connected devices like door sensors, smart locks, motion sensors, connected lights, and much more. Using SmartThings is one of the easiest ways to get started making your home a smart one.

Diving into this, we're assuming that you're already a SmartThings user. If not, you'll have to pick up a SmartThings hub (opens in new tab), and you'll probably want a few connected accessories (opens in new tab) to go along with it. Keep in mind too that SmartThings is an insanely extensive platform, and we'll only be diving into a portion of what you can do with it here as it pertains to the ecobee 3.

ecobee 3 smartthings

Using the ecobee 3 with SmartThings, you have the ability to take total control over your heating and cooling beyond just what the thermostat itself can do, and also control the temperature in your home based on actions of other devices like door/window sensors, motion, switches, or even presence sensors.

The biggest thing to note here is that while the ecobee 3 works great with SmartThings (I've been using one for a few months) it's still not officially supported. (The platform does support older ecobee devices, just not the ecobee 3, yet). That means you'll need to use a custom device type and smartapp, both of which can be found here. If you don't know much about custom devices or apps — not to worry. The instructions there are very thorough, so you should have no problems getting up and running for the first time. The basis is to add the custom ecobee 3 device type, then use a smartapp on your mobile device to get it all set up. I did all these steps with no issues, and the SmartThings app found my thermostat without a hitch.

Once you have your ecobee 3 integrated into your SmartThings setup, the fun begins. There truly are a ton of ways to use your thermostat with SmartThings, but it really comes down to what other devices you have on your system, and just what exactly you want to accomplish. For me, I use my ecobee 3 temperature to talk to SmartThings via IFTTT and trigger an external switch for a window AC unit. Sounds like a lot, but it's simple, and works like magic.

The possibilities for using the ecobee 3 with your SmartThings system really just depends on your actual setup. I have various motion & door sensors, a few presence sensors, water sensors, and door locks in my house. All of these can be connected to the ecobee 3 (or any SmartThings-compatible thermostat) with ease, to perform any number of actions.

smartthings hub

The custom ecobee 3 device type within SmartThings allows you to take total control of your thermostat. You'll have the ability to change the temperature, view alerts, and change modes all from the SmartThings app.

SmartThings allows you to go above and beyond what the ecobee 3 can do just on its own. As in my use case, you can use the ecobee 3 to talk to other switches for things like fans or heaters, branching out from just what is connected to your HVAC.

If you have one room that is cooler than others during the winter, you can use your ecobee 3 remote sensor to talk to SmartThings, and use it to turn on a space heater for a certain temperature threshold. Conversely, you can do the same to turn on a fan switch should the humidity be too high, for example.

Even though the ecobee 3 has scheduled modes built in, you can also automate them through SmartThings. Using the modes within SmartThings, you can change the temperature based on home or away (or any other mode you have setup. So when everyone leaves the house, SmartThings can set the temperature accordingly to save on heating/cooling costs. When you return, it sets the temp right where you need it without you ever touching a button.

You can also tie in your ecobee 3 and SmartThings with IFTTT — giving you even more control for custom triggers and actions. While you can use IFTTT directly with your ecobee 3, you can go even deeper by adding SmartThings into the mix as well. Doing so gives you access to all of your SmartThings-connected devices so you can do anything from flashing your Hue lights if your house gets too warm, to calling your phone if the humidity is too high.

After the initial setup, there really are dozens and dozens of ways to use the ecobee 3 with SmartThings. As I said earlier, it's really only limited by your specific setup and what devices you're using with SmartThing. Any way you look at it, the ecobee 3 and SmartThings are a killer combination.

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By day, Adam is a writer for multiple Future Publishing brands with over fifteen years of experience. He's expertly researched and written hundreds of articles ranging from mobile phones to mobile homes to baby mobiles. By night, he's a gadget geek, avid disc golfer, 80s nerd, cord cutter, cook, husband, dad, and memory collector.

3 Comments
  • Thanks--great article!
  • I started using my Ecobee 3 on smartthings. Then there was an update and it quit working. I tried to get supports help and theyes are the worst support I have ever delt with, in 35 years of doing tech support. After they could not give me a fix in a month I moved it to my Wink hub and it is working with a wink developed driver. The orginal Smartthings user developed driver was fixed they wanted to charge $15 for the fix. My main question is how long until another update kills the ecobee 3 again and how long until the developer will fix it or will he decide down the road he is not interested in supporting it anymore. Wink may be a little slower but at least they have phone support and they fix problems quicker. I would think Samsung would give good support but I do not think they care for there customers.
  • Truly helpful information. I thought about purchasing the SmartThings, after reading about it at http://bestsmarthomesystem.net but after this, I am not so sure. I think it may be best to wait it out and let these things get a bit better?