Why Is My ecobee Blowing Hot (Or Cold?!) Air? (How to Fix!)

The ecobee range offers various smart thermostats that are some of the most popular choices for today’s smart home. ecobee works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Homekit as well as a few other systems. Normally, you can rely on your ecobee thermostat to keep your home’s temperature right where you need it.

However, there are always exceptions to the rules. There is a common problem with ecobee when it comes to the temperature of your home. It can blow hot, or cold, air when it’s not supposed to. Thankfully, the fix for this usually just means a few changes to your settings.

There are several possible causes for an ecobee smart thermostat blowing hot, or cold, air when it shouldn’t be. These can include HVAC problems, ecobee wiring issues, and settings that cause the ecobee to blow air more frequently. These quick tips will make sure you can troubleshoot the most common causes.

What Temperature Range Can ecobee Handle?

A marketing image of the 2019 ecobee SmartThermostat black model with the temperature being displayed on screen.
The black 2019 ecobee SmartThermostat model.

In order to understand why your ecobee is acting up, we should first take a look at how it sets temperatures to begin with.

In essence, your ecobee is a computer that helps you get granular control over your HVAC system. This means that you’ll be able to use your ecobee to control your HVAC. There is, however, a trade-off here. No matter how smart your thermostat gets, it’s still ultimately connected to your HVAC system. Consider this like putting a muscle car engine into a junker. You’ll have all the power in the world, but you won’t have the ability to use it.

So, if your HVAC system can only cool your home by 10 degrees in the summer, that’s all your ecobee will be able to accomplish. Let’s assume that your HVAC system is in top condition and go from there.

Most modern HVAC systems are meant to be able to provide a 20 degree F swing in the summer months. That means if it’s 90 degrees outside, your HVAC will pull serious resources to get to 70 degrees. Now, this also depends on local weather, how well insulated your home is, and other factors. You could get easily more than a 20 degree swing, but that’s what your system has likely been built for.

Heating is a little easier to accomplish, but you can expect the same limiting factors to come up. If your outside temperature is rapidly dropping, your HVAC is going to have to work harder and longer to keep the indoor temperature up.

Your ecobee also has a built-in feature known as the Heat/Cool Minimum Delta. This setting is there to help you save money and prevent short cycling that is both financially and environmentally costly. This number sets a limit between your highest and lowest settings. By default, it’s set to 5 degree F. This means that your heating temp and your AC temp can not be within 5 degree F of each other.

Now that we know what your HVAC system and ecobee are doing under the hood, let’s find out why it’s blowing hot air.

Heating and Cooling Ranges

Your ecobee is a smart thermostat for so many reasons. One of the sources of its intelligence is that it stops us from accidentally setting the wrong temperature.

Your ecobee has a built-in feature under the Preferences menu that sets the minimum and maximum temperatures for your HVAC settings. This means you can not pick a temperature lower or higher than within this range:

A wall mounted ecobee smart thermostat
The current temperature, along with the minimum and maximum, are displayed here.

The source of your temperature woes could be that your range is too small. Check out the temperatures in the preferences setting and make sure they are where you need them to be.

After this common setting issue, we should take a look at another common setting problem.

The Smart Recovery Setting

This is one of ecobee’s smartest smart features. This setting allows the thermostat to “learn” about your schedule and your desired temperature range. The only trade-off with this setting is that it takes time to learn:

While Smart Recovery is figuring out how to optimize your experience, it might make some mistakes along the way. These typically involve it blowing hot or cold air when it shouldn’t. You can either push through this learning curve or disable Smart Recovery and rely on your custom schedule to handle all of the heating and cooling needs.

You can disable this feature by going to the main menu, clicking “Settings” and then “Preferences”. From here, choose “Heating Smart Recovery” or “Cooling Smart Recovery” and touch the “Disable” option.

If your settings are so good so far, it might be an issue with how your ecobee is trying to manage your HVAC fan.

Let’s Talk Fans

Your fan might make you think that your ecobee is pushing hot or cold air when it shouldn’t be.

The first setting to check here is a quick look to see if your fan is set to always on. Fans that are always on will blow air constantly throughout the day. Depending on the ambient temperature, this could be felt as hot or cold air. It’s worth pointing out that this will usually feel like cold air. Turning your fan to “auto” will help fix this problem.

Sometimes you may experience your fan constantly running with Ecobee, and do you might want to find a solution?

Another fan setting to keep in mind is “Heat/Cool Dissipation.” This setting will keep your fan running for a short time after your HVAC system shuts down. This helps you save money and energy by using all of the available heat generated in your system. This should be set to auto by default, but custom settings can make it feel like your system is just blowing air.

Timed fan holds keep your fan blowing no matter what. If you’ve set a hold and forgotten about it, it can feel like your system is just blowing air. Check your ecobee home screen for any holds and clear them to get back on track.

Now let’s check out some bigger issues that could be with your HVAC equipment and not necessarily your ecobee.

Know Your System

As smart as ecobee is, it still relies on your existing HVAC system to do all the work. When you’re installing your ecobee, you’ll need to know what kind of HVAC system you have. Furnaces and heat pumps will require different settings and different wiring in order to work properly.

These can also be changed in your settings. If you make sure that your ecobee is set to work with a furnace rather than a heat pump, for example, it changes the operation of your fan. The ecobee smart thermostat can also fight with your system over the fan. If you have a furnace, it’s probably for the best to just set your ecobee to let the furnace manage the fan.

The next issues we will take a look at are a little more complex.

Check Your ecobee Wiring

This applies for both hot and cold air problems.

As smart as your ecobee is, if you’ve got the wrong wiring, your hot air settings could blow cold air instead.

The best way to ensure that your ecobee is wired properly is to make sure a professional handles the job. Whilst there are plenty of guides out there online for wiring an ecobee system, but there’s no replacing experience.

A qualified electrician or HVAC professional can make sure that not only is your HVAC system wired correctly, but that it also gets correctly wired to your ecobee. They can also correct for pre-existing problems that might mess up your system down the road.

One of the most common wiring problems involves heat pumps.

HVAC Systems With Heat Pumps

There is a misconception that ecobee can’t handle heat pumps. According to ecobee themselves, you can actually connect an HVAC system with a heat pump into an ecobee.

The details are best saved for the pros, but the W terminal on your ecobee is capable of accepting a connection to a heat pump. This means that, with the correct wiring, your ecobee will be able to control your heat pump.

If everything’s wired correctly, you won’t have to worry about a rogue heat pump running away with your heating costs or your hot air any time soon.

About Tristan Perry

Tristan Perry is a software developer who is passionate about tech gadgets, DIY and housing. He has therefore loved seeing smart homes hit the mainstream. Tristan also has an academic background (in Math & Computer Science), and so he enjoys digging into the technical ways that smart home devices work.

Tristan owns close to a dozen Amazon Echo devices, way too many Philips Hue bulbs and lightstrips, a boat-load of Ring Cameras and Doorbells... and a bunch of other smart home devices too (from Reolink, Google Nest, GLEDOPTO and others).

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions about this article, please leave a comment below. Please note that all comments go into a moderation queue (to prevent blog spam). Your comment will be manually reviewed and approved by Tristan in less than a week. Thanks!

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