Will a smart thermostat help my situation?

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Old 12-02-18, 12:08 AM
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Will a smart thermostat help my situation?

I have a basement rambler with a forced air gas furnace. The thermostat is located in the hallway at the top of the stairs and it is probably the warmest area in the house because there is a register at the midway landing of the stairwell right below it. It is set to 62 at night and 67 during the day and it reaches 67 pretty quickly because it gets warm in that area fast. Anyways, the family room that we spend most of our time in as at the far end of the house and is always a lot colder. I know for one reason, the room is full of windows so it is going to lose heat. Another reason, with it being at the far end of the house, the heat output is not as strong. And of course, the thermostat placement is probably the main reason. Anyways, would a smart thermostat help me out in this situation? Maybe one that you can place sensors in different rooms? I thought about relocating the thermostat, but I was wondering if this might be a better idea because there really isn't a good place to put it in that room except for an exterior wall, plus my energy company is offering a $75 rebate for several thermostats. The other cold room in the house is the master bedroom which is at the other far end of the house and has only one heat register in it, but I don't mind it being cold in there since we are in there at night anyways.
 
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Old 12-02-18, 04:31 AM
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Hi dm, the distribution of heat around your house is not really controlled by the thermostat. However the current location near a heat register does not sound the best. Pros will be along.

My approach is always start by reducing the hear loss (where possible) and then some changes if heat ducts, both supply and return.

Bud
 
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Old 12-02-18, 08:07 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I do realize it is not the best situation but it does make sense that it is going to get warmer where my thermostat is, thus shutting it off before the rest of the house gets warm. By the end of the day, the temperature difference between rooms is not as much. I am just wondering if better thermostat placement will help. I could probably close some of the vents too, right? Will that provide greater output to other areas of the house?
 
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Old 12-02-18, 09:04 AM
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Don’t start closing vents before first checking the heat rise for the furnace.
Try running the blower constantly. Although it will raise your electric bill.
 
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Old 12-02-18, 12:15 PM
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What do you mean by the heat rise of the furnace? So just leave the blower running 24 hours a day?
 
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Old 12-02-18, 12:58 PM
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The heat rise across the heat exchanger.
Yes, leave the blower run 24/7
 
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Old 12-02-18, 01:25 PM
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While relocating the thermostat may help..... multiple sensors won't.
A smart thermostat wouldn't help much either.
 
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Old 12-02-18, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by roughneck77 View Post
The heat rise across the heat exchanger.
Yes, leave the blower run 24/7
Ok, I turned the fan to always on. What will that do exactly? I know even though it feels like it is blowing cold air, the air is still room temperature so it won't actually make it colder, but what will it do? Will it just recirculate air through the house (because the air by the return is warmer)?
 
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Old 12-02-18, 05:04 PM
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It may even out the temperature in the space better.
Your duct may be really poorly designed. Ideally you shouldn’t hear nor feel airflow.
 
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Old 12-03-18, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by roughneck77 View Post
It may even out the temperature in the space better.
Your duct may be really poorly designed. Ideally you shouldn’t hear nor feel airflow.
Today is pretty cold and I am home so I will see how that works. What do you mean that I shouldn't feel or hear airflow though? If the fan is constantly on, it is going to constantly blow air. Am I missing something?
 
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Old 12-03-18, 09:38 AM
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If the duct system is designed properly, even when the blower is running constant, you should feel nor hear airflow while in the living space aside from walking right up to a diffuser.
Basically, if your sitting on the couch, eating in the kitchen, taking a shower or any other daily routine type task, you shouldn’t be able to tell if the blower is running or not.
 
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Old 12-03-18, 11:37 AM
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Well no, I can't feel it from the couch and I can't hear it unless I am near the furnace where I can actually hear the blower going. I though you meant you would not feel air coming out of the registers at all. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-04-18, 03:35 PM
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Thumbs up Smart thermostats are great!

We recently bought an ecobee3lite thermostat + extra sensors (wireless), and this has eliminated our problem with unevenly heated rooms. Based on the time of day, you can tell it which sensors to pay attention to (e.g. living room during the day, bedrooms at night). Also nice is that the website can show a graph with heater-on duration and temperature response (or lack thereof), which helped me diagnose a furnace malfunction.
 
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Old 12-07-18, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by roughneck77 View Post
If the duct system is designed properly, even when the blower is running constant, you should feel nor hear airflow while in the living space aside from walking right up to a diffuser.
Basically, if your sitting on the couch, eating in the kitchen, taking a shower or any other daily routine type task, you shouldn’t be able to tell if the blower is running or not.
I wanted to report back on this. I have the fan set to on and it keeps running when the flames go out (like it is supposed to), however it shuts off again right before the furnace fires up again. Once it lights, the fan goes on again. Is it supposed to do that? It is like it shutting for a minute until everything is lit and ready to go.
 
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Old 12-07-18, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by trosen View Post
We recently bought an ecobee3lite thermostat + extra sensors (wireless), and this has eliminated our problem with unevenly heated rooms. Based on the time of day, you can tell it which sensors to pay attention to (e.g. living room during the day, bedrooms at night). Also nice is that the website can show a graph with heater-on duration and temperature response (or lack thereof), which helped me diagnose a furnace malfunction.
Thank you for this. I was reading about where a thermostat should be placed and I read a lot of things that say don't put them in a hall or room you are not in, but then I also read they should be placed by the return. Mine is in the hall by the return and that is always the warmest place in the house. I would imagine if this were a brand new house and the heating system was perfect, then every room should be the same. But it just makes sense that having the thermostat or a sensor somewhere else would make it more accurate. I looked at the ecobee 3 because Costco has it now for $140 and it comes with 2 sensors, plus I get a $75 rebate from my energy company. So do you just program it with off and on times like you would a regular programmable thermostat, or does it learn and know when you are away?
 
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Old 12-07-18, 07:27 PM
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Wow..... a magical thermostat. Remote sensors don't change how well a system is distributed.

For example...... your living room is always warm and your bedroom is cold. Your bedroom sensor says "it's cold in here - turn the heat on". The heat turns on..... the bedroom gets warm and the living room gets hot. The living room sensor says " turn the heat off" and the bedroom gets cold. How did the remote sensors help ?

One thermostat controls one system. If you had a zoning system...... that would be different.
 
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Old 12-08-18, 04:06 PM
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I think we are talking about two different things here. It would be nice to have equal heat distribution, but my house is old. My ducts are old. The room I am in a lot has a bunch of floor to ceiling windows and skylights so it is not as insulated or efficient as the rest of the hose. It is probably not possible to have even distribution with what is there. You did say thermostat placement may help a little, which is essentially the same thing as the sensors, right? In my case, I could either move the entire thermostat or buy one with a sensor and put the sensor where I would have moved the thermostat. Of course that room will get hotter and the hall will be even hotter. But if there are more frequent temperature drops in the hall than in the room I am concerned about, won't thermostat placement help? The biggest example is in the morning when it goes from 62 to 67. My house is pretty big and it warms up where the thermostat is very fast, probably because it is at the top of the open stairway so heat rises from downstairs in addition to the register nearby. I would also imagine since that is probably the hottest area of the house, the heat dissipates quickly to the colder areas, thus dropping the temperature at the thermostat and causing the furnace to go on very frequently. So wouldn't moving the thermostat (or a sensor) to a different area at least cause the furnace to initially heat up longer and not go on as often? I have no expertise in this field but am just trying to think this through, so maybe I am overthinking it or totally going about it the wrong way, but that is just my theory.
 
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Old 12-08-18, 04:12 PM
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Yes...... you can add a remote sensor or move your thermostat but the temperatures and how everything heats will remain the same.

You can put the sensor in the coldest area. That area will now heat up to what you have the thermostat calling for. The location where the thermostat was sensing will now be much hotter than it used to be.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 06:22 AM
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To answer dm's question about programming: You make "comfort settings" that correspond to the temperature ranges you want. For each setting, you also set which sensors to use (e.g. Living Room when Home, Bedrooms when sleeping). Then you can make a schedule for when the various settings are active. Although the initial setup for Ecobee had some oddities, regular operation has been very nice. Supposedly, the sensors also know if a person is in the room, but we haven't used that, and it may be unreliable.

Pete is correct that moving the sensor doesn't "magically" fix the underlying heat distribution issue. But in reality, people are in certain locations, and their ambient temperature is what matters. It doesn't matter if the rest of the house is freezing or too hot, if where the people are feels good. The smart thermostat with extra sensors is a winner, because it can make people more comfortable by controlling their ambient temperature better.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 10:08 AM
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I want to add that the Ecobee at least can improve temperature uniformity with a setting to run the blower at least X minutes every hour. If you have a problem where certain rooms cool down fast, but the thermostat is in a room that retains heat, running the fan evens out the temperature.
 
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Old 12-10-18, 11:56 AM
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slightly OT, but I have a new Ecobee 4 (installed two days ago)... Where is this setting? I want to try this

^^^^ignore please. I found it
 
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