Help: My Fan Keeps Running With Ecobee! How To Turn It Off?

Ecobee makes one of the best smart home thermostats on the market. It comes fully ready to work with both Alexa and HomeKit. It also comes with all the features you’d expect from a modern smart thermostat. 

Even with all these features, many users have been struggling to get their HVAC fans under control when they install an ecobee system. You can quickly stop your fan from running day and night by adjusting the right settings in ecobee’s menu.

Odds are, your fan’s problem are caused by your settings. There are a variety of options in your ecobee’s settings that can cause your fan to run constantly (try setting it to 0 minutes per hour, to turn it off completely). If those settings aren’t to blame, then there is a wiring problem somewhere between your thermostat and your HVAC fan. 

What is Ecobee?

An Ecobee smart thermostat displaying the current weather
An Ecobee smart thermostat displaying the current weather

Ecobee is a smart home thermostat that can fully integrate with existing smart home systems as well as your current HVAC setup. 

These thermostats boast a 23% reduction in heating and cooling costs. They also offer models that come with sensors included in the box that can help keep your home at a more consistent temperature. Like many smart thermostats, Ecobee is capable of learning your routine to better serve your heating and cooling needs. 

While EcoBee does offer some pretty great features, it can still experience issues around HVAC fans that just seem to never turn off. 

Why Your HVAC Fan Keeps Running

Your HVAC system relies on a fan to push heated or cooled air throughout the ventilation ducts in your home. This fan is both a part of your HVAC system and its own, separate thing. You can even run this fan separately from your HVAC system. 

This means that there is a chance that your fan will just keep running even if you wanted it to turn off. EcoBee’s smart thermostat gives you plenty of options for controlling this fan, but one of the first things to check is the HVAC system itself.  

Problems with Your HVAC System

Outdoor HVAC units with fans at the top
Outdoor HVAC units with fans at the top

Your fan usually responds to commands from your thermostat to tell it when it needs to run and when it needs to shut down. If your fan is constantly running, it might be a sign that there is a wiring problem somewhere along the way. 

One of the first things to check is the relay between your thermostat and your fan. If there is a problem with this relay, your fan could get stuck in the “on” position constantly. There are also broken relay switches, faulty fan motors, and other wiring problems that could be the cause of your fan troubles. 

If your Ecobee settings are all correct and your thermostat was wired correctly, it might be time to call an HVAC tech to take a look at your fan. Until they arrive, here are the Ecobee settings you can change to take control of your fan. 

Troubleshooting Your Ecobee

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

The Ecobee smart thermostat is one of the best smart home technologies out there, but all of these fantastic features can come with a few puzzles for us to solve. 

If your fan is always running, but the problem isn’t with your HVAC system, we’re going to have to troubleshoot our Ecobee thermostat. 

Most of these problems can be quickly addressed with a few changes to the settings, but some are buried in more complicated menus and submenus. Ecobee is feature packed and while that is usually a good thing, it does make troubleshooting a little more exciting. 

Let’s take a look at a few features you can change that might stop your runaway HVAC fan. 

Ecobee and Wiring

Our first stop is less a feature of Ecobee and more of a question about how it was installed in the first place. 

There have been several reports from users that tell the tale of wires being crossed during the initial Ecobee installation that cause the HVAC fan to run constantly. One user even reported that their Auto and On fan controls were inverted!

If none of the other troubleshooting tips in this guide help get your fan under control, it might be worthwhile to do a clean reinstall of your Ecobee just in case some wires were crossed during the original installation. 

Hopefully, this won’t be the case and one of these quick troubleshooting tips will help. 

What is the Smart Recovery Feature?

Ecobee is a smart home thermostat so, of course, it’s packed with smart features. These features “learn” your habits and heating preferences, so you have to do less work adjusting your system. 

The Ecobee thermostat can use information like when you are home, your schedule, and your temperature preferences to create a profile that keeps our home at an ideal temperature without needing input. 

One downside to this is that if Ecobee misses the mark, you can have an HVAC fan that runs more than you need it to. If you’ve been struggling with a runaway fan, it might be the Smart Recovery setting that you need to adjust

This one is an easy change. It’s one of the options that are easy to access through the “Preferences” menu. Simply click on “Smart Recovery” and turn it off:

You can always try it again at a later date if it turns out to not be the problem. 

Check Your Hold Settings 

Your Ecobee has a few more features beyond being able to fully automate your HVAC controls. 

If you want to set an exception to your automatic heating and cooling schedules, you’re going to need to set a hold in Ecobee’s scheduling. This can be to adjust for a heatwave or just to change up your normal routine. 

One of the holds you can put in place involves running your fan. There are a few reasons why homeowners would want to keep their fans running without having the rest of the HVAC system on. Ecobee gives you this option by allowing you to set a hold for leaving your fan running. 

You’ll be able to see any active holds in your Ecobee home screen. The fan hold options are new as of the latest firmware update which makes problems slightly more likely. Luckily, fixing this setting error is quick and easy. 

All you need to do is to head into your Quick Changes menu and select the new option for “Fan Holds.” You’ll be able to set holds as short as a few minutes and as long as forever. You can also deactivate any fan holds that might have been set by mistake. 

Heat Dissipation Settings

Your fan typically runs for a few seconds after your HVAC system shuts off. This is because even after your system turns off, there is still residual heat that can be pushed out into your home. Using this residual heat saves you money in the long run by making the most of your HVAC dollar. 

In order to do this, Ecobee has a heat dissipation setting that allows it to use this leftover heating. This setting usually only runs the fan for an additional 30 seconds after your HVAC system shuts down, but it can be on for up to 900 seconds! Here’s how to bring that number back down if it got set too high. 

The setting for heat dissipation is a little buried in the menu. 

  • Go to “Settings”
  • Select “Installation Settings”
  • Find the “Thresholds” menu
  • There will be an option for “Heat Dissipation” that you can change 

You can set the heat dissipation time to anything you want. It’s worth keeping in mind that this setting can not be responsible for a fan that is always running. This setting can only keep the fan going for up to 900 seconds, which is a pretty long time when you consider how often your system activates throughout the day. 

There is another setting that can get your fan stuck on all day and night. 

On vs Auto

This is a common problem with Ecobee and other smart thermostat systems. If this setting isn’t switched to “auto,” your fan could be stuck running all the time. 

With the fan in “auto” your system is going to automatically run the fan whenever it needs to adjust the temperature of your home. The fan should quickly turn off after that based on your heat dissipation settings and the Smart Recovery options you’ve chosen. This usually means only a few minutes where the fan is running without your system

The “on” setting, on the other hand, does exactly what it sounds like. This setting has your fan running constantly. This even runs your fan when you are not at home! So, what’s the fix? 

Head into your Quick Settings menu and choose the “Fan” option. You should be able to toggle between auto and on in this menu. Simply switch back to auto, and you are good to go! 

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).

43 thoughts on “Help: My Fan Keeps Running With Ecobee! How To Turn It Off?”

  1. Thank you for the post. It seems from your write up, and my experience with my ecobee, the least I can set my fan is 5 min per hour. On really nice summer days, with the windows open, I want the fan completely turned off. Is that possible?

    Reply
    • I think you’re right Eric – I don’t believe that it can purely be turned off, but I haven’t got an ecobee installed currently to check. I’ll leave the comment here incase someone else knows for sure and can say though.

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      • That’s actually not the case. It can be set to “At least 0 min/hr”, which means that the fan will only run when the system is heating or cooling.

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        • I have my fan on “at least 0 min/hr” and figured that would mean it was off, but no. It is still running, and quite frequently at that. But touching the setting icon and putting it on “Away for now” seems to have made the fan stay off I think. It now says no equipment is running.

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        • 0 min/hour doesn’t work. Fan never turns off, no option to turn off. I’m ripping this junk out, Ecobee is VERY OVER RATED!

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          • No matter what we do the fan is always running. And it blows COLD air when the heat is not on, we are freezing all the time! I even when EVERYTHING is off, it still blows air!

      • 0 minutes per hour is the setting that keeps the fan completely off, exception is the heating and cooling cycles

        Reply
  2. My cooling has always been set to Auto. Now it switches to ON by itself and will stay to ON after my cooling is done. I don’t want the fan running this much. This just started a few weeks ago. Will not stay on the Auto switch.

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  3. I need to be able to shut my fan completely off. My AC unit is separate from my gas boiler hot water heat. The thermostats controls both. I need the fan turned off while the heat mode is on. I don’t have a C wire so I need to add the PEK which I planned to do on the AC unit.

    Reply
  4. Just a few days ago I started smelling a musty smell off and one throughout the house. I have my fan set to run indefinitely because I was told that was the preferred method. Where is this smell coming from and why. Thank you.

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    • Sorry to hear it Deborah. Unfortunately that might not be easy to diagnose – there could be dozens of different causes. Sometimes AC units can have a musty smell, especially if the filters are old, so perhaps start there? But I doubt that it’s caused by the ecobee thermostat itself, to be honest.

      Reply
    • Having your fan running constantly in the fall and spring when the temperature isn’t high enough to keep the actual air conditioner running allows moisture to build up in the system instead of being extracted via the air conditioner. I have had this problem in Houston and returning fan settings to auto has eliminated it.

      Reply
  5. Hi Tristan,

    Thank you VERY much for this help page. My install of a new Ecobee went fine until the first time the heater came on. The fan stayed on an inordinately long time and I ended up turning it off manually. With your help I found the manual setting and the fan now turns off 30 seconds after heat or ac cycle off.

    Reply
  6. The only reliable way I’ve figured out how to keep the damn fan from running is to unplug the 120V cord from the HVAC – that effectively shuts down everything. Many days we run our whole house fan with the windows open and I don’t want our HVAC doing anything at that time. But even though I’d set the system to “off” at the main menu the fan would occasionally come on and sometime stay on. It’s extremely frustrating.

    Reply
    • I’m having the same issue with my fan, regardless of what i do to the settings
      home or away, 0 run time , system off. it still runs randomly…what is going on Ecobee

      Its obviously a sofware issue. We need a fix!!,

      Reply
      • I agree with you. I had my system off, fan set to auto in all the menus and zero run time for fan and the fan would still turn on randomly. This problem has nothing to do with worrying because it started many months after installation.

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    • I have this same problem. Ecobee HVAC is off but the fan will turn on intermittently. I have to power off the HVAC unit.

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  7. same here. Im doing a remodel and cannot have the hvac or the fan running but it still is. why not just have a fan “off” button for crying out loud?

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  8. I am having the same issue! Fan keeps turning on randomly. I’ve had this ecobee installed for many years with no problem until this new software update!

    Reply
  9. Glad to see I’m not the only one on the struggle bus with the fan. On my previous thermostat I just moved to switch to Off and the fan stopped. However, with ecobee, I’ve done all the items suggested here and the fan still keeps cycling on / off. Frustrating.

    Also, the fan settings should be in the same spot at Hot or Cool. Why engineer it to be in a different menu?

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear that you’re still having issues with your ecobee fan. Maybe try setting it to run for 0 minutes per hour (if you haven’t already). But yes, ecobee do seem to pack quite a lot of potentially-related settings into the various menus.

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      • How do you set it to run for 0 minutes per hour? I don’t see that option anywhere. I have the same problem as others. I set the fan to auto and I notice that it has switched to on even when the A/C isn’t running. Thanks

        Reply
        • It’s usually labelled as “At least 0 min/hr”, or similar. However it does seem like this often means that it won’t run… unless the heating or cooling is running. Which might not be too useful! However double check your comfort settings too, and ensure that the fan is set to auto there.

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  10. Just found that the fan auto/on selection is within each Comfort setting, and it is not clear at all. There is a ‘Heat Fan Mode’ and ‘Cool Fan Mode’ and 2 boxes for each. The boxes SHOULD say Auto and On but instead both just have 3 dots (…). The secret code is that the 1st box = Auto and the 2nd = On. Select the 1st mystery box for both heat and cool fan modes and the fan will run only when it is cooling or heating. Hope this helps.

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  11. Just an FYI for some…

    I had Ecobee3s running my HVAC system, and a fault in my AC compressor burned out a bunch of these (no warranty, of course). The symptoms appeared as FAN ON and AC ON when the system was set OFF. Pulling the Ecobee off the wall would cause the fan and AC to shut off almost immediately (there’s a timeout when the AC was running before the fan shuts off).

    It appears that the Ecobee uses solid state relays (transistors) to switch equipment on and off, whereas the bulletproof basic thermostats installed before and after use relays, isolating the thermostat from an HVAC induced fault. Contacting Ecobee about their frail devices did not generate a response, which is a shame – I really like the Ecobee and I would love to keep using them if I could get them serviced. 😟

    Reply
    • Thanks for the FYI warning, James, and I’m sorry to hear about this issue. That’s concerning, I hope you can get everything fixed up and replaced without too much hassle (and expense)!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the well wishes!

        Ecobee did eventually reply, but with the usual diagnostic enquiry, and clearly didn’t read the detailed email I sent outlining the failure and diagnostic. But they did say if they’re out of warranty, they wouldn’t be able to do much.

        I recently started migrating to Honeywell T9s and their remote sensors. Nothing like the reassuring clickety-click of mechanical relays… 🙂

        Now, to sell off the the boxes of Ecobee sensors I bought, the last working thermostat, and hopefully I can refurbish the blown units!! 🤔

        Best of luck to all on your respective journeys!!

        Reply
  12. Yesterday, my husband’s Samsung stopped showing the ‘auto’s and ‘on’ toggles for the fan. Mine is still fine. For sleeping, we prefer to just turn the ‘on’ button until morning. Why did my husband lose that ability? It happens on his phone periodically.

    Reply
    • That’s frustrating, sorry to hear it. Maybe it’s an app bug? Perhaps ask your husband to try clearing the app cache (via Settings -> Apps -> [select app] -> Storage -> Clear cache)? Sometimes that can resolve these niggles.

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  13. I’ve got the same issue with the fan running at odd times, even while the ecobee says it isn’t running. I have 2 ecobees and it only happens with the one that IS USING a PEK terminal. It does not happen on the other unit with a C wire. ecobee says it must be a problem with my system and I should call out a service tech. After seeing the comments here, I am more and more inclined to think it isn’t wiring. I’d be curious to see if others experiencing the problem are using the PEK because they have no C wire.

    Reply
  14. I am having the same issue with the fan running even when it is not calling for heat or cool. Have checked and rechecked all the settings and wiring. Thermostat has worked fine for years, but all of a sudden this fall when switched to heat, problem occurred. I’m using a boiler, and so don’t want the fan running for heat. From what I am reading here, there is definitely a software problem after an update. Can I go back to an older version of software when it worked?? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Do I have to go to Honeywell thermostats after spending so much on Ecobee?? Finally had to disconnect the fan control wire.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear that you’re having the same issues. Unfortunately there’s no way of reverting the software (unless ecobee support have a way, I guess – so it could be worth asking them). Honeywell thermostats are pretty solid, but as you say, it would be really frustrating to have to move away from ecobee after having purchased all their kit.

      Reply
  15. Solution! I had the same issue and think I found the solution and quite by accident. Check your “Comfort Settings” in the “Main Menu”. I had a comfort setting named “Home”… the fan for both Heat and AC was set to “On”. I switched it to “Auto” and problem solved.

    Reply
      • I wanted to turn off heating during night. Below are my sleep comfort settings
        HVAC Mode : Heat
        Desired Heat : 10C
        Desired Cool : 24C
        Heat Mode Fan : Auto
        Cool Mode Fan : Auto
        Ecobe shows temperature as 22C, outside temperature is 1C.

        with these settings I expect no heating and no fan, but it keeps running during midnight..

        What am I doing wrong ? Any option to set it off during night

        Only way I could off is by turning HVAC mode to off

        Reply

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