What the Ecobee Does
Deceptive marketing annoys me. Sometimes it’s a marketing agency that has no idea about how the product functions, sometimes it’s not being able to communicate the thought well and sometimes it’s deliberate, but it’s everywhere. I thought by this point that somebody would have phrased Ecobee’s advertising a little better. Their website currently reads: “Room sensors help manage hot or cold spots for all-around comfort.” If I knew nothing about hvac, I would assume that it would help me heat or cool certain rooms that aren’t quite as even with the rest of the home. In the past I have had a couple of homeowners purchase one and then hire us to install it, not realizing what the thermostat will NOT do.
Here’s what the Ecobee does NOT do:
The Ecobee will not send more hot air or cold air to the room it’s sensing. It has no way to control the airflow. If you put a sensor in a room, it will not make that room hotter or colder.
What the Ecobee DOES do:
The Ecobee will use that room air sensor to come up with a better idea of what temperature you want the house to be. If you have a room sensor in every room of your house, it will average out the temperature in each room and then tell your heating or cooling to come on. So say you have several sensors in the home and they read 20,21, and 19 your average temperature will be 20. If you’ve set your ecobee thermostat to 21, it will turn on your system. If you’ve set it to 20, it will be happy with where it’s at, and keep the system off. Maybe something more appropriate would have been: “Room sensors measure the temperature where it matters.” It might not sound as snappy, but it might give a better idea of what it’s doing.
The Real Solution:
First of all Ecobee thermostats are great thermostats and have a lot of functions that other wifi thermostats don’t have yet. But if you want more heat in one place of your house and less heat in another, this won’t help you. In that case what you’re really going to want to do is unfortunately more complex and we won’t delve into it deeply here. But we’ll get you started on the right track. You’re going to want to check the position of all of the dampers and registers in your home. You’re going to want to check that nothing is blocking registers. You’re going to want to leave rooms with uneven temperatures open as much as possible. You’re going to want to check the insulation value of the worst rooms. This is not an exhaustive list, but it may help get you started on fixing the issue.