Having multiple properties, especially 3,000mi apart poses some problems especially those related to safety and security. In Phoenix I have a monitored alarm system that will, upon intrusion or fire, alert the monitoring company who will call me and the proper responding authorities be it fire or police. I have never required a fire response but have, due to various factors, wind, faulty sensors etc. received alarm notifications that have required the police to do a “walk-around”. I am allowed two such alarms per year for my $16.00 Annual Fee to the City of Phoenix. Additional calls are billed at $25.00. Having received a couple of these bills I installed a couple of web cameras that allow me to view both levels of the house, through remote monitoring software, to eliminate future charges. They work well and at less than $50.00 per camera a very good investment.
I was recently made aware of an interesting product that would allow me to remotely monitor and manage the heating and air conditioning system via the internet. The solution is the ecobee Smart Thermostat, manufactured by ecobee, Head Office 333 Adelaide St. West, 6th Floor, Toronto.
Being that ecobee is a Canadian Company and that I’m currently in Canada I first shopped for pricing and availability locally; using Dealer information provided on ecobee’s site the first call was to a local company and their website. While the unit was featured there was no pricing available. A call to the shop resulted in a friendly chat with an individual who had no knowledge as to product or cost but agreed to get back to me later in the week. This he did two days later but advised me that if I was not looking for them to do the installation it would be cheaper for me to call a retailer. The second company had a link that sent me back to ecobee’s website and a form to fill in requesting a call. Filled out the form but never heard back. In all I searched 15 websites listed on ecobee’s Dealer’s Page, NONE have any pricing information on their product.
Next was a search of ecobee’s Press Release section and through this located an announcement that Eden Energy was appointed as a Distributor. A call to Eden and I was quoted $469.00 Cdn. ($529.97 inc. HST) – This was the full retail price as quoted in an article in the April 2011 Holmes Magazine.
Added – August 15, Just got an email from AtlasCare $649.00 PLUS HST – Bend Over!
Sooooo, guess what I did next? You got it “Google”. In just two clicks I found the same unit at two U.S. on line stores; www.prothermostats.com at $369.00 plus $7.95 shipping to Phoenix and $319.00 plus $12.00 shipping at www.alpinehomeair.com. Alpine also offered additional discounts on multiple units. A quick on-line buy at Alpine and the unit was on its way within two days. Savings $188.00 – FOR A PRODUCT MADE IN CANADA!
Next on list is a home alarm system for the Canadian home . As we use Vonage VOIP for phone our options are limited. Most of the alarm companies dictate that you have either a Bell or Rogers “wired” land line for monitoring. As I was looking to self-monitor the system anyway this was not an issue. Self-monitoring requires one of two options; internet based or GSM. I opted for GSM based on fact that Rogers offers data-sharing SIM’s for $10.00/mth.
Checked out a couple of systems on good old Google and read very positive reviews on the Visonic Powermax. Next was to shop, AARtech Canada in Oshawa was only Canadian on-line store I could find. They offered the system I was looking for at $388.00, add $10.00 Shipping and $51.87 HST total came to $450.86. Found the Home Security Store online – $340.00 with a 10% off coupon and free UPS Ground – Total $306.00. Savings $188.00. If I decide to go with Internet module down the road we’re looking at $188.00 vs $159.00.