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Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat Humidity Guide: All You Need To Know

The ecobee smart thermostat is one of the leading choices when it comes to bringing some inelegance to your HVAC system. This smart thermostat comes packed with features that handle everything from leaning your daily routine to nuanced scheduling options.

On the top of every homeowner’s mind is humidity. Not only is this about comfort, but if your HVAC system isn’t properly handling this build up of moisture, you could be looking at some serious repair costs down the road. Luckily, the ecobee can help you tackle this problem.

The ecobee smart thermostat has built in settings that can fine tune your home’s humidity. Even if you do not have a dedicated dehumidifier, the ecobee smart thermostat can help you better manage your home. These settings range from fan controls to HVAC settings.

What is the ecobee Smart Thermostat?

This is one of the premier options for people who are searching for the right smart thermometer.

Not only does the ecobee come with all of the standard features any regular thermometer should have, it also comes with plenty of smart features that let you get the granular control smart home enthusiasts are looking for. This device also integrates with all of the latest smart home apps and hubs including:

  • Alexa
  • Google Assistant
  • HomeKit
  • Samsung SmartThings

One of the biggest questions that homeowners have is in regard to how well the ecobee can control humidity.

Humidity build up can cause your HVAC system to work overtime, so it can overcome rapidly changing moisture levels in the air. It can also lead to serious problems such as rot and water damage if the humidity gets severe. Your ecobee can help you keep this humidity in check.

Here’s how to get started.

How Does it Measure Humidity?

Let’s start with the quick overview of the basics. The ecobee measures humidity by using a built-in sensor.

This sensor is located within the ecobee’s cluster of sensors that you can place around your home. Depending on which model of ecobee you get, these sensors can measure everything from temperature to occupancy and, yes, even humidity:

An ecobee room sensor on a bookcase shelf.
ecobee’s room sensor on a bookcase shelf.

Some users experience discrepancies with the humidity readings on their ecobee and what other devices show around their home. The quick fix here is to calibrate and sync your ecobee devices – this is usually a one-time step when setting up your system, and should take up to 20 minutes. This should quickly eliminate any major discrepancies and get your ecobee system back on track.

You can also use the Humidity Correction setting to change the setting up or down by 10% if you require.

Now that we know how the ecobee works, how does it control our home’s humidity?

Does ecobee Control Humidity?

Yes! The ecobee smart thermostat can control the humidity in your home. Most of its power to control your humidity comes down to your HVAC system.

Your ecobee is a very intelligent brain that you can plug into your existing HVAC system. The ecobee comes packed with features that can min/max your ability to control your home, but if your HVAC system is outdated or flagging it will naturally limit what your ecobee is capable of. It pays to keep your HVAC system up-to-date when you are adding in a smart thermostat system like ecobee.

When your ecobee is plugged in, it can manage humidity in a variety of ways. The ecobee can be connected into a variety of home environment accessories such as dehumidifiers. These devices directly lower the humidity in your home.

Your ecobee, by default, is already plugged into the most powerful dehumidifier money can buy, and that’s your AC system. Your ecobee will primarily regulate humidity by making granular adjustments to your home’s AC:

Having all this power is all well and good, but how accurate is the sensor we are working with?

How Accurate is ecobee’s Humidity Sensor?

The humidity sensor in the ecobee is typically very reliable. This sensor is responsive to changes in your environment and can be calibrated as well as synced with other devices. This means that you can make sure that your ecobee is always within a few units of accuracy.

While the exact specs on the ecobee humidity sensor are kept secret, we can make some inferences using the available information on the temperature sensor.

The ecobee thermostat is accurate within +/- 1.0F according to official documentation. The temperature sensor uses the last two measurements to create an average that it uses to stay calibrated. It also takes these measurements every 15 seconds under the default settings.

What this tells us about the humidity is that we can expect a respectable accuracy for most circumstances. A temperature variance of 1 degree isn’t too extreme and as long as the humidity readings are in line with that, we are good to go.

So, how do we get in control of our humidity?

How do I Adjust/Lower the Humidity on My ecobee?

Let’s start with the “coolest” setting your ecobee has: Overcool Max!

No, Overcool Max isn’t an 80s comic book hero, it’s actually the setting that your ecobee will use to regulate your humidity.

What this setting does, essentially, is give your HVAC system permission to get cooler than your set temperatures to regulate your humidity. You have two options for controlling the radical powers of Overcool Max.

The first is to directly set how many degrees your HVAC system can overcool to compensate for humidity. This can be set in .5 degree increments. So, if your home gets too humid, your ecobee will tell the HVAC system that it has temporary permission to increase the chill until the humidity is back under control.

Setting your desired humidity level is also easy. That’s under Menu > Dehumidify using AC > Enable. Under this setting you can pick a percentage for your home’s humidity. You can go bone dry or tropical based on your needs. This setting will also be the percentage that the Overcool Max setting uses to determine when your AC can put in some extra work to fight off the humidity.

Keep in mind that Overcool Max will turn off either when the temperature setting or the humidity percent is reached. Whichever happens first. So it might not get the ideal humidity if it can’t get cool enough.

Another setting to look out for is the ever useful, but much less awesomely named, fan settings.

Always On VS Auto Fan and Humidity

Your fan settings won’t be getting an action movie deal any time soon, but this is the setting that is really putting in the work for your humidity. Here’s how it works.

If you have the fan set to always on, it will constantly cycle humid air throughout your home. Over time, this will increase the humidity. Auto fan allows the fan to stop and humidity to condense inside your HVAC system. Your HVAC equipment has built in tools that allow it to deal with that moisture. Basically, auto fan lets your HVAC cycle out unwanted humidity while always on slowly builds humidity back up.

Now let’s look at the most powerful anti-humidity tool in your arsenal: the AC.

Dehumidify Using AC Setting

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

Your AC has the ability to shut down humidity and do it fast. Here’s the science behind it.

Cold air can’t carry nearly as much moisture as warm air. This is why you tend to get dryer skin in the winter. The air just can’t hold the same amount of moisture as it can when it’s hot out. Your HVAC system takes advantage of this by using your AC to lower the humidity in your home.

For your ecobee, simply drop the temperature a few degrees, and you can send the humidity packing. Keep in mind that if it’s already cold outside, or you’re in a tropical heat wave, your AC might struggle to keep the humidity and the heat at bay.

What should you use all this power to set your humidity to?

What is a normal indoor humidity reading to aim for?

When it comes to ideal temperature, that’s easy! Just pick whatever makes you feel good! Are you a sunbathing hot weather all-star? Then turn it up. Are you looking to keep your cool on a hot day? Then spin that dial to the left. Those of us that enjoy a balanced energy, and financial, usage can just take back Mother Nature’s edge on harsh days.

But the story changes for humidity.

The ideal relative indoor humidity is a percentage, and it varies pretty wildly based on your needs, where you live, and your home.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal humidity will be between 30% and 50% for most indoor environments. Although some experts say that up to %65 is also okay!

Part of this swing, like temperature, comes down to comfort. Some people like it a little more humid, and others like it a little dry. Personal considerations like health come into play as certain conditions can be triggered by the wrong humidity. How your home is built is another thing to keep in mind. Older homes were built to retain heat more efficiently, and they can also retain humidity much easier as a side effect.

In short, your ideal humidity percentage will be somewhere in that 30% to 65% range depending on your comfort, your home, and your needs. Feel free to play with that number as the seasons change and find out what works best for you.

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