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Ecobee 3 Lite Thermostat

BenleeBenlee Member Posts: 15
I've just ordered an ecobee 3 lite thermostat for my one-pipe steam system.
The boiler is a few years old and is a Williamson--
https://www.williamson-thermoflo.com/products/williamson/gsa-gas-steam-atmospheric

At my thermostat location I only have 2 wires. No C-wire.

So, my options appear to be:

1) Power the thermostat with an external plug-in 24V transformer, which I can hook into the closet on the other side of the wall from the thermostat so there would be no visible wire. This seems rather easy and I've ordered the transformer already. From my understanding this is fine because I do not have cooling system.

2) Run a new set of wires to the boiler. I just wouldn't know where to hook them on the boiler. Here is picture of the transformer area and the wiring diagram for the boiler. Currently, the white thermostat wire hooks to Y on the transformer and the red wire hooks to G. C on the transformer seems to hook to the 24V ground on the burners, etc. Would I just hook the new wire to C? I think it would have to be soldered on or maybe could find somewhere to splice it.

Any benefits to doing the extra work for option 2 above or is the plug-in transformer option just as good?

Lastly, are there any settings I should concern myself with when using the ecobee for steam radiator heat?

See pictures....

Thanks for any help!





Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,182
    The plug-in option works just fine, and saves a lot of hassle.

    I think the Ecobee series has settings for different heating systems. If it does, select steam or gravity hot water.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    Benlee
  • BenleeBenlee Member Posts: 15

    The plug-in option works just fine, and saves a lot of hassle.

    I think the Ecobee series has settings for different heating systems. If it does, select steam or gravity hot water.

    Thanks! That's the answer I was hoping for!

    Now I'm hoping the Ecobee 3 is decent for steam heating without having to tweak the settings too much dealing with differentials and set-backs.
  • Zipper13Zipper13 Member Posts: 159
    Let us know how it performs for you as I've thought about getting a more modern thermostat. I'm particularly interested in tracking runtime - any Idea if that gets reported?

    My system's performance improved greatly once I swapped out old thermostat that was only ever intended for a hot air furnace for one that let me set it on one cycle per hour. keep an eye out for that option in the settings!
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • dabrakemandabrakeman Member Posts: 132
    Runtime is reported on the Ecobee consumer portal. You can view cycle or download your raw data and plot it out any way you like in Excel or something.

    If you haven't looked at your data do so to make sure you really are getting constant power to the stat (no gaps in your data) and that it is not getting interrupted by the LWCO or pressuretrol.
  • sputnik99sputnik99 Member Posts: 7
    edited February 17
    I too been using an external transformer for the Ecobee 3 Lite for the last 3 years. It's been working fine. For performance monitoring you can also use https://app.beestat.io/ (see attached image) to help you set the temperature differential. I also disabled the 'smart recovery' feature as I found it sometimes started my boiler too early. Instead I set a schedule for the mornings.


  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    sputnik99 said:

    I too been using an external transformer for the Ecobee 3 Lite for the last 3 years. It's been working fine. For performance monitoring you can also use https://app.beestat.io/ (see attached image) to help you set the temperature differential. I also disabled the 'smart recovery' feature as I found it sometimes started my boiler too early. Instead I set a schedule for the mornings.

    Wow. Seems the ecobee does a great job at minimizing overshoot. Did you have to tweak anything to make it work that well or did that come with the "learning" of your system. I just replaced my Nest with an Ecobee so I'm curious. Also, what is your differential set at?

  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,773
    K what didn’t you like about the nest?
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    GW said:

    K what didn’t you like about the nest?

    Nest was really really bad at accounting for overshoot and would constantly go above my setpoint by several degrees. There is also a lack of customization and lack of access to detailed data that really bothered me. I've only had the ecobee for one day and I am already loving how much data there is for me to access.
  • PMJPMJ Member Posts: 957
    sputnik99 said:

    I too been using an external transformer for the Ecobee 3 Lite for the last 3 years. It's been working fine. For performance monitoring you can also use https://app.beestat.io/ (see attached image) to help you set the temperature differential. I also disabled the 'smart recovery' feature as I found it sometimes started my boiler too early. Instead I set a schedule for the mornings.


    Aren't I looking at 2 deg C plus temperature swings here at a given set point? And that's at the thermostat. Would be even more at the perimeters. Also looks like basically every start is a cold start with burns that far apart. You can see that with the temp still falling well after the burns start. Just a few more cycles would even this out a lot.

    To each his own. I'd find my bags on the front porch if I ran my heat that way. Great data though.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • dabrakemandabrakeman Member Posts: 132
    My guess is that is probably +/-1F setting. I have an Ecobee 4 and have been quite happy with the control. They do seem to avoid overshoot but always seem to bias below the setpoint (i.e. brings temperature up to setpoint and then falls below etc... Setting it at +/-0.5 degree does give a finer control and works to shorten your cycles if you are like me and have an oversized boiler with an under radiated house. Helps avoid the 45+ minute long burns that fill my system and start pushing pressure up toward 2psi. Having the remote sensor (or sensors) is a big help as well so you are not restricted to control from the room with the mounted thermostat. Where you place the sensor can have a big effect on cycle rate. Attached is a typical day of data with current setup (+/-0.5deg).
    Kafox15
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,182
    To partially answer @GW 's question -- what I don't like about the Nest (and Alexa and Siri and so on) is the amount of data which they collect on the user and send to who knows whom who knows where. Just not interested in sharing that much of my life with big tech.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
    Precaudvibert_c
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,773
    Interesting, never heard of a nest complaint like that.
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    GW said:

    Interesting, never heard of a nest complaint like that.

    Yea, I struggled with it for a long time before giving up and switching to Ecobee. Nest support was basically useless as well. I must have factory reset that thermostat 10 times (because that's their only troubleshootign step) and (surprise!) it didn't fix anything.
  • GWGW Member Posts: 3,773
    Funny I got jammed up on a nest a few weeks ago- had troubles getting the fan to come on with a dual fuel configuration. Spent an hour on hold. While On hold I was googling and facebooking and finally found the answer. Ecobee stats ask me what controls the fan, and I simply tell the stat. Nest you have to think like an engineer that knows zero about hvac. Well I took a video of the process just in case I get jammed again in a year or two (I have lots of picture folders, (Google Photos)
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    www.wilsonph.com
    [email protected]
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    edited February 28
    They never learned the cardinal rule of user interface design.
    The user is not like me.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
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