Ecobee Is Blowing Cold Air Instead Of Hot? (Possible Causes & Fixes)
For as smart as they are, smart thermostats occasionally do some silly things. Ecobee users noticed their thermostats sometimes blew cold air instead of hot air. When you’re expecting heat on a chilly day, cold air is most unwelcome. So, why does this happen?
Your Ecobee might blow cold air instead of hot if settings are in place allowing your fan to run constantly. The difference between your highest and lowest temperatures may be too small. If Smart Recovery is enabled, it may make mistakes while it learns your schedule, like blowing cold air instead of hot. Finally, there may be issues with the wiring.
Ecobee and Your HVAC
Ecobee controls the HVAC system at a very high level. But ultimately, it’s at the mercy of your HVAC’s limitations. So, if your HVAC only has the ability to cool your home by 10 degrees in the summer, that’s all Ecobee can manage.
Most new HVAC systems are able to maintain an internal temperature that’s 20 degrees cooler than outside. For example, if it’s 90 degrees outside, your HVAC can cool your home to 70 degrees.
The furnace is similar in its limitations, but overall, heating is easier to accomplish. If the temperature is very cold outside, the furnace has to work harder to maintain the inside temperature.
Now that we understand how Ecobee communicates with our HVAC system, let’s look at some settings that might cause problems with air temperature.
Video: Ecobee Pro Heat Pump Settings
Minimum and Maximum Temperature Settings
Ecobee has a built-in feature called Heat/Cool Minimum Delta. This keeps the HVAC system running efficiently and prevents it from short cycling. It allows users to set a limit between their preferred highest and lowest temperature set points.
By default, the Heat/Cool Minimum Delta is set to 5 degrees. Meaning, your AC and heat temperatures must be greater than 5 degrees from each other. You have the ability to change the value of these degrees.
Ecobee has another feature where you can set the minimum and maximum temperatures for your HVAC system. This can be found under the Preferences menu. The purpose of this feature is to keep you from choosing a dangerous temperature for your HVAC system. Therefore, you should know how hot or cold your system can safely run when setting these thresholds.
Once these thresholds are set, you are unable to set the thermometer to a temperature outside of this range. If this heating and cooling range is too small, this could be the cause of cold air blowing instead of hot.
Like its Nest competitor, Ecobee has a learning feature called Smart Recovery. This program learns your schedule and desired temperature range. But in our demand for instant gratification, we forget that learning takes time—even for smart devices.
While it’s learning, Ecobee can make some mistakes. Oftentimes that means it blows cold air instead of hot or vice versa. You can either wait it out until Ecobee has learned the routine or disable the Smart Recovery program.
If you disable Smart Recovery, you can still set custom schedules that automatically change temperatures according to your routine. The difference is Ecobee isn’t trying to learn and adjust to your routine. You’ve set it and must make the changes yourself.
To disable Smart Recovery, go to Main Menu > Settings > Preferences > Heat Smart Recovery OR Cool Smart Recovery > Disable.
Ecobee and Your HVAC Fan
If you’ve checked your thresholds and disabled Smart Recovery, there may be an issue with how Ecobee is trying to manage your HVAC fan.
Fan Auto vs. Fan On
By default, Ecobee sets the fan to “Auto,” meaning it will automatically turn the fan on and off with your HVAC system. The “Fan On” setting means the fan will run constantly until you manually shut it off. If your fan is running all day, it eventually starts to feel like cold air is blowing, whether or not you have the heat on.
You can check the fan mode by going to Ecobee’s Comfort Settings. Go to Main Menu > Comfort Settings. From here, you have the option to set the fan to “Auto” or “On” in both heat and cool mode.
Heat/Cool Dissipation Setting
This setting keeps the fan running for a short period after the HVAC finishes a cycle so you can use all available heat or air in the system. It should be set to auto, which means the fan continues to run for 30 to 45 seconds after the HVAC shuts off. But custom settings might make it feel like the fan is blowing cold air.
If the fan is running longer than you’d like after the HVAC shuts off, you can change the value. Go to Main Menu > Settings > Installation Settings > Thresholds > Heat/Cool Dissipation Time. Choose your desired runtime for this setting.
Timed Fan Holds
Timed Fan Holds allow you to set a duration of time you want the fan to run. They can be set for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, or Indefinitely. For example, say it’s 8:00, and you set your Fan Hold for 45 minutes. Your Ecobee screen should now read: “Fan on until 8:45.”
Setting a Fan Hold to “Indefinitely” means the fan will run until you manually cancel the hold from the main temperature screen. If you did this and forgot to switch it back, your constantly running fan will feel like cold air is blowing.
At the moment, you can only set or clear a Fan Hold from the thermostat screen. Go to the Quick Changes Menu and hit the Fan Hold button. From here, use the dial to select your preferred runtime. Tap the back arrow (
Ecobee and Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces
Ecobee runs differently for heat pumps and furnaces. It requires different wiring and settings in order to run correctly. It’s important to know which type of system you have in order to properly set up your Ecobee.
You have the option to allow the Ecobee thermostat or the HVAC system to run the fan. However, Ecobee operates the fan differently than your furnace. Sometimes, the systems fight for control. It might be best to set your Ecobee to allow the furnace to control the fan.
To make changes to this setting, go to Main Menu > Settings > Installation Settings > Equipment > Furnace > Fan Control in Heat Mode. Select Ecobee Thermostat to have Ecobee control your fan. Select HVAC to have your HVAC system control the fan.
Note: you can only make this change directly on the thermostat. Neither the app nor the web portal currently supports this adjustment.
Incorrect wiring may lead to hot air settings blowing cold air instead. If you are the least bit unsure, have a professional install your Ecobee to ensure proper wiring.
The chart below details the wire functions and the common colors in which you’ll see them.
|Blue or Black
|Powers HVAC system
|Second-stage Heating System
A common misconception is that Ecobee isn’t compatible with heat pumps. However, the W terminal accepts a connection to heat pumps.
Why is my Ecobee not calling for heat?
Your Ecobee may not be activating the heater for several reasons. You may need to change your heat set point. If your thermostat is set to 68 degrees, your HVAC won’t kick on unless it goes below that number. Try increasing the value a degree or two.You may also need to increase your heat threshold settings. If the HVAC system is set to run at a maximum temperature of 70 degrees, Ecobee will not run the system to a temperature beyond that value.Lastly, it could be that your fan setting. If you have it set to run for long periods, eventually, you’ll feel cold air blowing.
How do I adjust Ecobee heat?
To adjust the heating or cooling range, you must do so on your thermostat. Go to Main Menu > Settings > Preferences. Choose Heating range (or Cooling range). Then, change the minimum and maximum allowed values. Choose Save before exiting.
Does Ecobee automatically switch heat and cool?
You can set your Ecobee to “Auto Mode” which will automatically switch between the heating and cooling systems.To Enable: Main Menu > Settings > Installation Settings > Thresholds > Auto Heat/Cool > Enable.To Set: Main Menu > System > HVAC > Auto. Back on the main screen, adjust your Cool Set Point (blue) and your Heat Set Point (orange) by using the sliders.
If your Ecobee is blowing cold air instead of hot, it’s most likely because of your fan. If the fan is constantly running or running very often, eventually, the air it blows will feel cold.
Smart Recovery may also be the culprit. The most common issue reported about Smart Recovery is that it blows air at the opposite temperature of what’s set.
The final and most complicated issue is incorrect wiring. If the heating and cooling wires are switched, it would only make sense that cold air is blowing instead of hot.
Brigid Levi is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who enjoys a good DIY project and creating beautiful spaces within her home. From cleaning and organization hacks to home decor ideas, she loves helping people in their quest to turn a house into a home. Her hobbies include pretending to be Joanna Gaines while updating her home with her husband and performing in local theater productions.
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