Kenneth Pardue

July 19, 2015 5:15 pm

Experiencing the issues that come from being an adopter of smart home tech with both @smappee and @ecobee. Smappee continues to poke along at automatically identifying appliances. It's identified all of these appliances now. Of those three, I've really only identified the water heater. The other two, a relatively small appliance at 249 watts and an absolutely massive one at 5,503 watts, I still need to investigate. I have been able to manually train several appliances: the oven, microwave, hair dryer, Keurig, electric fireplace, vacuum cleaner, toaster, and the garbage disposal. However, I'm really not that impressed with Smappee's ability to automatically identify the appliances that are turned on or off. It confuses appliances with similar energy signatures, such as the Keurig (1,425 watts) and the electric fireplace (1,349 watts). And, as was the case this morning, confuses appliances that have quite different energy signatures: when the wife turned on her hair dryer (1,687 watts) it said the vacuum cleaner (1,141 watts) had been turned on. I'm wondering if I should remove the manually added devices and stick to letting it more slowly identify appliances? It's disappointing to say the least after reading about the accuracy of Smappee to identify 60%-80% of appliances correctly and automatically.

As far as the ecobee3 goes, I'm having trouble with its remote sensors and the app itself. In some cases, it reports no signal from the sensors. And in other cases, it misreports occupancy. While I was at work this past Friday, the Living Room sensor kept reporting that it was occupied when no one was home. Conversely, this morning it's reporting that the living room is unoccupied, even as myself and both kids are moving around in here. Furthermore, Siri interaction via HomeKit doesn't appear to be working. It worked for a short time when I initially installed them, but the next day it was telling me that it couldn't adjust the home's temperature. I tried removing the HomeKit "Home" from the app, but there doesn't appear to be a way to re-add existing thermostats to a newly created HomeKit home. I suppose I'll need to take both thermostats completely off of the account (which, strangely, appears to be something you can do from the iPad app and the web app, but not the iPhone app--but ironically, HomeKit functions seem to only be in the iPhone app) and re-add them.

Another frustrating niggle with the ecobee app, it's not the most intuitive to use and is rather slow to respond to interaction. I have two thermostats in my home. I can see both thermostats on the home screen in the top 1/3 of the home screen, and the bottom 2/3 is a message telling me how to add more thermostats and a log out button. To actually see the sensor data (which can only be associated with a thermostat and not a "group" such as Home), you have to touch the thermostat, then touch the menu button, and finally touch Sensors. To get to the other sensors associated with the other thermostat, you have to back out through three dialogs only to drill down into three more. Why not put something as important as Sensor data on the bottom 2/3 of the home screen that is otherwise wasted with a new equipment installation message and a logout button that will almost certainly never be used? I've also experienced issues where making changes to thermostats isn't immediately displayed in the app, which must be pull-down refreshed one or more times.

I understand that these are the requisite early adopter issues that comes from being an early adopter of the upcoming smart home revolution, but is is frustrating when things fall just short of working as they should. I'll keep tweaking with it to get it where it needs to be.