Home Ownership


I need to repair/rebuild a small section of fence. I’m not looking forward to it.


I put an hour into it tonight and only got about 6 feet done. I know it’s not taking me five minutes per board to put in each onebecause I’m only doing half of the nails just to get everything in place and I can quickly come back with the drill, get the other half and set the rest of the nails. I just can’t figure out why it’s taking long long.


I’m now roughly one month into ownership of an ecobee3 (don’t recall if I’ve posted about it previously). Enjoying it so far. We just got back from 3 nights away and it was pretty sweet being able to set it fairly low while we were gone, and have the house up to temperature when we returned home. The motion sensor worked decently as a way for me to see when our cat sitter came by to check up on the critters. Also enjoying having that sensor help bring the upstairs temperature up a bit at night vs. what we had with just the thermostat downstairs.

Installation was stupid-easy; it took me longer to unbox the ecobee than it did to install it. Helps that I have a modern system already with all the requisite wiring.

After @lee_ars’s troubles with the Nest (thanks for taking one for the team, BTW), I barely even considered it.

Up next (I think) is a whole-house humidifier. Biggest concern is how I hook it up to the ecobee.


I’ve heard the general opinion that the ecobee is basically the fixed version of the Nest.


Glad you like it. I’m enjoying mine. I’m thinking of adding a few more sensors too to even out some cold spots.

As for a whole-house humidifier…
When we bought our house, the presence of a whole-house humidifier was a pro for me. I knew I was going to replace it, but I knew that everything was already hooked up. After our HVAC adventures this summer, the unit I had installed when we moved in stopped working. I called our installer to come out and look at it and he gave up. Said everything was fine and shrugged. At least he didn’t charge me. Turns out that the electrical got jacked up somewhere along the line. I had given up and just went out and bought a new unit anyways which is how I discovered this. I installed it in about an hour.

For the ecobee3 hook up, there is none. You hook the humidifier up to the furnace and not the ecobee. When the furnace kicks on and the humidity is low, then the humidifier kicks on. I’ve had to adjust my fan to stay on a bit longer to make sure the humidifier keeps the levels where I want them. There is no control for a humidifier for the ecobee.

I have a Honeywell Evaporative Humidifier. We had one growing up and I don’t remember having to do a lot with it. Right now, I’m on unit 3 in about 4 or 5 years. The original one I just tossed since I didn’t know how long it’d been in there or what maintenance was done. It’s replacement and then this last one this year. If I have to replace this one for any reason, I think I’m going to look into a steam whole house humidifier. They are a lot more expensive but supposedly do a better job.


I’m confused now, because ecobee says they can control a humidifier but I can’t find anything on (for example) Honeywell’s site/instructions about connecting to anything but the humidistat that comes with the humidifier.

[quote=“Darktan, post:466, topic:762”]
I’m on unit 3 in about 4 or 5 years. The original one I just tossed since I didn’t know how long it’d been in there or what maintenance was done. It’s replacement and then this last one this year.[/quote] 3-4 years seems like a lousy lifespan. Do you have poor water quality that’s eating them up? What’s the failure mode?


I’m cornfused.

How does putting another sensor in make the heat even out? Did you install directed ducting as well or are you now heating the house so the coldest point is X degrees?


Gotta be this. It sounds to me like you tell it where your going to be, and it makes sure the temp in that area (or wherever is the nearest remote sensor) is whatever you tell it is comfy.
A guy at my office has a zoned system in his house. It’s really neat when it works, but he has two outside units that seem to be very fragile - gotta wonder if they’re not big enough to handle everything at once, or they are big enough and they don’t handle running lean well.


I used to have a place with two furnaces. It was pretty awesome. One upstairs, which almost never ran, and one downstairs.

If I ever update the HVAC here I might try to split the air conditioning. Keep the bedrooms and toilet at about 65 degrees and the rest of the house at 80.


My brother rented a place when he was in college. 1st floor was one apartment, 2nd and 3rd together were the other.
The guys on the 1st floor kept their heat so high the guys on 2 and 3 had to open windows to stay cool. They almost never turned on their heat.

Didn’t hurt that 1st floor was rented by jocks, and 2/3 was math/ science nerds. Why tell the muscle brains they’re paying for everyone’s heat?


Awesome! :joy:


I once lived above a pizza place. Great in the winter… Not so great in the summer.

Extra bonus: Cheap pizza when I was in paying my rent.


You suck Dak. You had to mention something. Woke up this morning to no heat. Did some troubleshooting and it looked like the control board to the furnace was not getting enough power. Doing a little more digging with the HVAC guy onsite and we find that the control board is only getting 17v when it should be getting 24v. Something is drawing the power and shorting or something. The something… my ecobee3. We bypassed the control board and the furnace worked. Disconnected the thermostat and it popped on using the control board. We bypassed the thermostat and it popped on too. So it’s my ecobee. I went to $DIY_STORE and picked up another one came home and plugged it in and it was fine. Good news is our home warranty covered it all and let our HVAC guy do the job. So he upped his labor by $100 since it would’ve cost us $100 for him to come out so the warranty company paid for his trip. And the thermostat is covered so once he gets paid by them, he’s going to send us a check for the thermostat. We’re going to let him keep the cash though as a Xmas gift. I’ll deal with ecobee warranty on our side. Plus I got another sensor out of the deal.

Well since I did the install of my new ecobee I can talk a bit more to this. You can wire it up and the ecobee can control the humidifer. I wasn’t around for the part during the install where you select that so all I was going off of was the thermostat itself and it had no settings to set the humidity level. But all it will do is to replace the humidistat you would put on the return duct. Since you really only will use the humidifier 5 months a year, I don’t see why I would complicate the system more by adding it in. Right now, I have the fan set to 55 min.hr minimum on the thermostat and the humidifier set to 40%. This means I’ll be blowing humid air through the house whenever needed and not just when the furnace is on. It should give me a more stable and level percentage. I was fluctuating quite a bit there when it would only pop on when the furnace kicked in. But come this spring, all I’ll have to do is turn on the AC and turn off the humidifier.

We’ve been in the house for 4 years now. The first one I tossed when we moved in just because who knows what crap could’ve been in there. I replaced it with the same model and it was working up till our HVAC project. Who knows what could’ve happened then. These things are pretty simple. They just pour water down a metal filter with a fan behind it blowing the moisture into the HVAC system. The part that usually breaks is the solenoid that controls the water and or the small electrical piece that turns everything on (water flowing and fan blowing). It’s simpler and quicker to just replace it than trying to find the $5 solenoid part. The problem with all of these is that they are consumer models. Designed to be simple so that a homeowner can install it himself but also cheap so they have to go out and buy another one. From talking to some of my contractors, Honeywell makes great thermostats but everything else they make is hit or miss. Sometimes you get one that lasts forever but usually you’re only good for a couple years.


The latter. Let’s say the dining room (where the thermostat is) is at 70 degrees, but upstairs is at 66 and you’ve set the target temperature to 68. With a regular thermostat, the heat won’t even kick on because the dining room is above the set temperature. With the ecobee’s remote sensor, the heat will be switched on to bring the upstairs temperature closer to the target.


Can you set a hierarchy so that the dining room overrides the living room or something? Because I see the scenario above causing a 72 degree dining room, and that’s nightmarish. Even if I reduce the temps by 10 to get where I keep them, I’m trading cold spots for hot spots right?


Geez, I’m going to start calling you the Iceman. You want the dining room at 62 degrees?? I’d be pissing popsicles.


I set the furnace at 62, and we have the vent in the kitchen and our bedroom closed.

I do have a space heater in my office though that I keep on max during the day. There is no heat back here and the walls seep cold.


Our weather here has been crazy this month - more days with highs over 65 than under. We were wearing shorts on Christmas day. And for the most part, the humidity has remained high-ish. Then I go into work and the building AC is working overtime, so my actual office is maybe 70, tops, if I’m lucky. I’ve been running a space heater all week. When it gets down around 62-66 degrees in my office, with 80+% humidity, it feels so cold that my fingers hurt and don’t want to type. The AC really should do a better job of dehumidifying the interior spaces, but in the winter, it doesn’t seem to. It looks like the humidity is only about 70% where you are, so I’m guessing temps in the 60s don’t feel as awful.


So your fan is running almost constantly? Ours is loud enough that I’d notice it constantly running (I tested last night for about half an hour).

How tight is your house? As ours is new construction (4 years), things are still pretty tightly closed up and I can’t see needing to replenish the moisture in the air constantly like that.


I was wearing shorts on Christmas day, it was like 45 or something. Yesterday I went out and wore jeans, no socks and a T-shirt, I think it was 38 or so. Today I went and fed the chickens in PJs and flip flops. It’s a bit chilly and there was frost on the car windows, so I guess 30ish.

It’s what you are used to, in Hawaii I put on sweats when it got down to 65.

Funny thing is in the midwest you can get used to 95 degree summers and -10 degree winters.