HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.
Capturing and checking hyperlocal temperature and humidity with Siri and the Home app is one of my favorite HomeKit tricks. Weather apps that show your city’s current conditions and forecast are great, but knowing the actual temperature right outside your front door in real-time is neat. This can work with both outdoors or with specific rooms inside using the right sensors and configuration.
Outdoor temperature and humidity
For measuring and reporting hyperlocal outdoor temperature and humidity, Eve Degree (reg. $69.95) is my go-to smart home accessory. Eve Degree captures current temperature and humidity levels, presents the data on its e-ink display, and reports both to HomeKit over Bluetooth LE. (Eve Weather is a slightly cheaper alternative, but I much prefer the smaller and more capable version.)
Because the device shows real-time temperature or humidity data (you can toggle with a button on the rear side) on its built-in e-ink screen, Eve Degree can replace a basic outdoor thermometer and present the data digitally. It includes a slot on the rear side for mounting to a hook, or you can apply 3M adhesive strips to the back for mounting anywhere.
The aluminum casing feels sturdy and the exterior is rated for IPX 3 water resistance so it can handle splashes (just not water submersion). Temperature wise, Degree is rated for 0º F to 130º F so consider your climate before deploying. My only complaint is the replaceable CR2450 battery. It’s rated for 1 year of usage which is acceptable, but I’d prefer a built-in rechargeable battery. My advice is stock up on spare CR2450 batteries so you can keep running when the battery inevitably depletes.
So why do I love using Eve Degree with HomeKit? Eve Degree essentially puts hyperlocal temperature and humidity widgets in the Home app.
When using Eve Degree with HomeKit outdoors, just create a room in the Home app called ‘Outside’, ‘Outdoors’, ‘Garden’, or whatever makes the most sense for your configuration. I chose ‘Outside’ which creates two tiles in the Home app in the ‘Outside’ room: Outside Humidity and Outside Temperature.
When your favorite either tile, it will appear on the first page in the Home app. Arrange either tile as one of your first nine favorites and now hyperlocal temperature and humidity will appear in Control Center too. Finally, you can ask Siri for the ‘Outside Temperature’ and ‘Outside Humidity’ to receive your hyperlocal conditions with voice.
For remote access, include a nearby HomeKit hub (HomePod, Apple TV 4K, Apple TV 4th generation, or iPad) which will also provide the best experience with Bluetooth accessories.
HomeKit doesn’t store historical temperature and humidity data unfortunately, but Eve’s app will present historical measures broken down by hour, day, week, month, and year. As a side benefit, I really like being able to know the local temperature at any given hour on a specific day in the past — like a personal almanac — so you’re rewarded overtime as you continue to use Eve Degree.
Temperature by room
Hyperlocal outdoor temperature is my personal favorite, but you can zoom in even further with indoor sensors. Eve Room is an indoor HomeKit sensor that measures temperature, humidity, and even air quality, but it’s likely due for a refresh soon as it uses Eve’s old plasticky design and three AA batteries.
My current solution for indoor temperature HomeKit data is my smart thermostat and its expandable room sensors. I use the ecobee 4 smart thermostat which includes built-in Alexa voice control and works with HomeKit, but I recommend the ecobee 3 lite for general HomeKit usage. You can then add ecobee Room Sensors (2-pack for $79) which also works with HomeKit and captures both temperature and presence data.
Simply assign each sensor to its corresponding room, then check the Home app or ask Siri for the temperature in that room to receive the current temperature. The idea behind ecobee is that it uses these sensors to target occupied rooms when heating and cooling. Thermostat set to 75º but feel a little warmer and the A/C isn’t kicking in? Siri can explain.
Catch up on earlier HomeKit Weekly entries below:
- Getting started with Apple’s Home app on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch
- Turning your old garage door into a Siri-controlled entrance
- Using Automation to put sensors to work
- Automating outdoor lights on and off based on sunset/sunrise and time
- Using hardware buttons to make smart lights familiar for guests and family
- Personalizing icons for lamps, bulbs, and other lights
- Replacing your keys with Siri, Control Center, and automation
- Four ways to control cooling with fans and air conditioners
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