I got home one day and realized that I still needed to flip on my AC in the morning. It was summer and a hot one! I thought it would be really sweet if I could find a way to automatically turn on my AC unit while I am driving home from the “daily grind .”I also wanted it to work with my Homekit setup.
Thankfully, I found a “new to me” concept called geofencing that solves this problem. I also found thermostats that will work with geofencing right out of the box!
I’m talking about the Ecobee thermostats, which include Ecobee3 Lite and the slightly more advanced Ecobee4.
Here's what we cover:
Ecobee Smart Thermostat Options
One of the coolest ways to use Ecobee Geofence with Homekit is to pair it with the IFTTT Life360 application, which allows you to do a multiple users set up. You can add the Ecobee to the geofence, which will activate automatically when someone enters it.
The only drawback I have experienced (which makes total sense when I think about it) is that you must maintain a constant internet connection, or the geofence will not function.
To enable geofencing, you first need an Apple home hub (an iPad or an Apple TV) and an Ecobee. The home hub must be generation 3 or newer. Using the Homekit, set up your Ecobee and choose HomeKit integration.
You can also change the radius of the geofence with pinching. The app will also let you adjust the settings, such as the thermostat temperature.
After installing the app, you can set the thermostat temperature and use the web interface to set the weather. It will gather weather information automatically and display the current forecast on the screen and in menus.
Homekit compatibility is not the default with Ecobee geofence, but you can scan the code to enable it. Once you’ve done this, you can use Siri to control the thermostat using Homekit. The Ecobee Geofence using Homekit is compatible with other HomeKit-compatible devices.
When you’re in charge of your heating and cooling, an Ecobee thermostat can be a beneficial asset. The device can learn your habits and adapt its speed to your home’s temperature based on its environment. You can customize the thermostat to use just one or a combination of sensors. After you’ve set up your system, you can use the homekit app to control it.
With Homekit, geofencing is super simple, and you may even already have what you need – an Apple TV 4k, an iPad, or an Apple Homepod.
Then, you’ll need to download the Ecobee app and configure Homekit with it. From there, it is easy to change the response time and geofence settings.
The Ecobee 3 Lite also has a touchscreen, which makes it easy to add Homekit accessories. All you need to do is input the eight-digit HomeKit code onto your iPhone’s screen. Or, you can use the Home app on your iPad to scan the code.
This way, you’ll know when to turn off and on your Ecobee thermostat. You can even set a timer to set the alarm when your home is empty.
If your hub is an Apple TV or iPad, you can use that for your Ecobee4 with HomeKit functionality and geofencing.
Once you’ve set up HomeKit, configure your Ecobee4 to respond to you when in the area outside the geofence’s radius. Alternatively, you can use voice commands.
The Ecobee4 geofence feature lets you set a perimeter around your property. The app will use your phone’s location to automatically switch to Home mode. When you leave the house, it will do the opposite and switch to away mode.
The device also supports various modes and schedules, so you can program it to respond to certain situations. To get started, fire up your Apple TV and navigate to the App store to download the Homekit app and install it.
You can also integrate your Ecobee4 with your existing system. Ecobee works with Philips Hue, Camio, Piper, August, Amazon Alexa, Ring and many more.
In addition to working with Homekit, it is compatible with over 400 smart home services.
Benefits Of Using Homekit With An Ecobee
Considering an Ecobee smart thermostat, you may have wondered how HomeKit and this neat thermostat work together.
- With the Home app, adjusting the temperature is super simple. But, HomeKit can also create scenes and automations based on the variables you configure in the app.
- The Ecobee thermostat has an intuitive web interface that will automatically collect weather data, which it displays on its screen.
- If it senses motion, it will automatically turn off the heater when the windows are open. The Ecobee SmartSensor also has a built-in sensor that can detect the temperature in a specific room, such as the bedroom. For example, you can set the thermostat to 70 degrees if you want to sleep comfortably.
- Another benefit of Ecobee over Nest is that it is much easier to set up and customize. It also works with every smart assistant. On the other hand, Nest is limited to its app and traps you in its ecosystem. And while Ecobee is compatible with every smart assistant, it’s easier to set up your geofence. While HomeKit is compatible with Homekit devices, it’s not as easy to use and configure as other smart home products.
Setting Up Your Ecobee With Homekit Automation
The Ecobee might be an ideal starter product when you’re new to home automation. Its many configuration options make it an excellent choice for tech-savvy users. But if you’re not as tech-savvy as you are, the complexity of setting up an Ecobee can be overwhelming. Here’s a step-by-step guide for setting up your geofence and triggering it with Homekit automation.
Here is an excellent video that takes you through the steps:
To get started, you’ll need an Apple device, preferably an iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV, with the latest version of iOS. You’ll also need an Apple hub (iPhone or iPad with Homekit). Once your Ecobee is connected to the smart hub, you’ll need to set up the app and enable Homekit. Ensure you’ve set up the app to allow remote access and editing.
Once you’ve configured your system, you’ll want to configure triggers to turn the Ecobee thermostat on or off based on the outside temperature. You can choose whether you’d like to receive alerts when a window is open or closed and adjust the heating speed when the temperature is low.
And while you’re at it, you can even set your Ecobee to turn off automatically when the outside temperature changes.
Configuring Your Geofence Radius
You should set the geofence radius to 100 meters for the best results. This will minimize the number of times your device will check for changes. Typically, you should set the geofence radius to 100 meters so your devices can determine where you are.
A radius of 100 meters is an ideal value because it accounts for the location accuracy of typical Wi-Fi networks. A larger radius will reduce the amount of power your devices use.
Once you’ve configured the geofence radius, you’ll need to ensure it covers your house. Because geofencing uses the exact location of your smartphone, the exact boundaries can vary.
You may need to adjust the geofence radius if you experience unpredictable behavior. You can resolve geofence issues for Android users by turning Location Services on. Make sure to give Honeywell Home access to your precise location.
Optional – IFTTT Voice Commands
Sometimes, you might want an easy way to easily control your home’s climate with your vocal commands. While Siri is already available for this, it sometimes isn’t as accurate as it should be. IFTTT can help resolve this issue.
If you are interested in setting this up, I recommend watching this video:
Geofencing is still a relatively new concept for many people, and it can be confusing to set up smart home devices. Hopefully, this information will help you get the most out of your Ecobee – and your smart home in general!