Each day PingWi-Fi does a “PingForADay” tweet on Twitter — citing the most unique, funny, helpful or bizarre item about wireless Internet that we can find in the news. PingForADay has touted Wi-Fi coffee makers, Wi-Fi printers, speakers, clocks, a Barbie doll, meat smokers, cars, trains … what have you. Several times we have mentioned the Wi-Fi thermostat, but never really paid it much attention … Then I got one when it came attached to the new worldwide headquarters of PingWi-Fi. Stay with me …
I just moved to a new neighborhood and on day one some lady who was walking her dog down the street invited me to sign up on the NextDoor on-line community and be more active and informed in the hood. Dang it! What was her name? Ha … I don’t know what this says about me, but I do recall the psychology grad student’s dog’s name – “Taco.”
Anywho … buying a house flip is such an interesting thing — a bizarre combination of things that were fixed and made pretty … and things that were ignored or swept under a rug, so to speak (or hardwoods). For instance … The house flipper did the right thing and installed a very cool Wi-Fi thermostat (more on that in a moment), and there are more smoke/carbon monoxide monitors than you can shake a stick at. But on the other hand … there doesn’t seem to be a filtered intake for the air conditioning system. Who does that?
And as if social networking online in the neighborhood were not enough, you might be surprised that I prefer socializing the old-fashioned way, one-to-one and thus, have become instant friends with my new neighbor Robert Smith. No! He is not the lead singer for The Cure … he’s about 30 years older and wears less makeup, but them everyone does … LOL … But a nice guy. Instant friends … comparing notes on underground sprinkler systems, trash pick up days … and branch trimming. Before I knew what hit me, he had me up on a ladder trimming and pruning his huge trees. In the midst of dealing with foundation companies, installing toilets and washer/driers and varnishing hardwoods and assembling furniture … somehow he has influenced me to come over and help. He is older … no problem. So I did it and it was actually kind of therapeutic … and I loved helping someone out.
Ha … guess what … a couple of days later, I was pushing my recycle canister to the street for pickup when the non-singer-of-The Cure pounced on me from behind a bush. He had more tree limbs. I said, “sure.” So I threw on a ball cap. (Last time I got a little sawdust in my eye …) When I came back out, he had a big ladder butted up to the house. This time the trimming involved climbing up on his steep roof. OK. I climbed on up. Once upon the roof, I realized I had on shorts. The shingle material was rough, and the thought of sliding off the roof had added terror when I thought about the “strawberries” and roof rash I would gain on the way down. HA! Worst of all, as I was operating the mini-chainsaw on a pole, sitting down and gripping the shingled surface with my worn-smooth sneakers … I was pretty sure I may have been flashing the neighborhood in a so very male way, if you know what I mean. Yes … I accepted this pruning opportunity with a little too much enthusiasm … Like a good neighbor I am there. Got a nice little scar on my shin now from a falling branch, as I kicked at it trying to save a shingle … and got a story.
I digress …
What were we talking about? … OH yes … the Ecobee Wi-Fi thermostat. It really has much more appeal than pure gadgetry and nerddom. Let me count the ways.
A recent example … when my son visited — hoping to be the perfect host — I considered giving him the URL for my Ecobee wireless thermostat, as well as the password. That way, if he was cold in the night, he could adjust the temp … and leave me the hell alone. Just kidding. But the more I thought about it … Ever worked in an office where two people had a different take on “the perfect” temperature? I could foresee a night full of “Call of Duty-like” battling to win the room temperature war. Or dueling thermostats … or whatever. Ha … I’d rather worry about call of nature duties in the night. So, I just gave him an extra blanket and kept “the power” all to myself. (Do you call the remote control “the power” in your household?) …
Ha … and oh that boy of mine! … He’s about as quirky as me. He ranted to me about his new high-powered vacuum bottle — we called them a Thermos back in the day, but I was corrected and learned that this is a better/newer brand — and he showed me that the bottle still had ice, unmelted “from yesterday.” We’re both competitive and stubborn too, so I showed him my even bigger vacuum bottle that SquareRüt Kava Bar sent to me. He said it was a fine vacuum bottle but not as good as his. The next day, he opened his and gave me an update on the unmelted ice. After he left, what did I do? Ha! At precisely 12:34 p.m., two days ago, I accepted his vacuum bottle challenge, and yes, I am still with ice. (Ha … I daydreamed that I could probably have changed the thermostat settings and messed with his vacuum bottle.) I digress …
Maybe the best use of this new wireless tool is pure convenience, coupled with laziness and softness. Think about how difficult it is to crawl out of a warm snuggly bed and walk across a cold room. With the Ecobee Wi-Fi configuration, I can log on from my cell phone, my tablet or any of several laptops. So … I can bump the heat up a few notches without ever placing a bare foot on the cold hardwoods … Sweet … So, I can tap a couple of times on the iPad, and regardless of whether or not the snooze alarm goes off, the house will be just a little more toasty when I drag out of bed.
Better yet, just as with many non-Wi-Fi thermostats, you can actually plan ahead and program the thermostat to save energy during your hours out of the home, and have all the comfort kick in just before you arrive home. Makes a lot of sense for everyone … but just imagine how practical this is for a traveler who is out on the road for a few weeks and hears that a cold front is about to hit their city. No more calling the bestie to check for frozen pipes. Big picture — think of the efficiency, and no doubt Ecobee is very planet friendly with the potential for energy conservation.
And … because I am a.k.a. The Wi-Fi Guy … I have been having fun with the Ecobee. I pulled over the other day on my motorcycle, in a state park, pulled out my iPhone and changed the temperature in my home … Just because I can! I have regulated the cool factor from “my big brass bed” … from my other office (Starbucks) … even from “the throne.” It’s great.
Ecobee Wi-Fi thermostat — 7 pings, a perfect score. I was thinking about 6.75 pings, but the company’s social media team followed PingWiFi on Twitter … so I turned it up a notch. No other home appliance follows me, as far as I know. Incidentally, a second Wi-Fi thermostat company — Sensi — liked PingWiFi as well … SmartHome too … shout out to them.
It seems to be a busy space. No wonder.
Another company, Nest, reported it had been quietly studying the energy- and cost-saving benefits of its smart thermostats since 2013 — and that the study showed its smart thermostat saved users 10 to 12 percent on their heating bills and 15 percent on their cooling bills.
Lastly … I was curious if I was the last one in the race, with this gadget. So, I did a little informal, unscientific research — meaning I posted a question on Facebook. The results were interesting. My sample included people of all ages and walks of life … A West Coast wood construction expert … a guy who lives in a sailboat in the Florida Keys … a private eye from a 70s TV show … a police dispatcher … a Scottish friend … two former teachers … a former chaplain … a graphic artist … a journalist … and so on and so forth. A variety. Sixty-seven percent of those polled did not have a Wi-Fi thermostat.
So there you go … news you can use.
Know what I sayin?