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  • Humidifier control

    Hi All, I've got an Ecobee 3 running a fairly standard single stage natural gas furnace and air conditioner. I also have an in-line whole home humidifier installed (Aprilaire 700M) that has it's own controller mounted on the side of the return duct. I believe the controller has a humidity sensor that is inside the duct, then there's a manual dial on the controller that I can use to set the humidity level, then the controller turns the water flow on/off to keep the measured humidity at the desired level.

    Hoping that someone has some ideas on how to automate this humidifier using Ecobee and/or Homeseer. The problem I'm trying to solve is that you're supposed to turn the humidity setting down when the outside air temperature drops below certain levels to avoid condensation on the inside of the windows. The temp here in Mich can be 60deg one day then 10deg the next and back again and I'd like to avoid the walk down to the basement mechanicals every few days to adjust the humidifier.

    I believe the Ecobee has the ability to directly control a humidifier but think it needs to be wired directly to the Ecobee. My Ecobee is up on the main floor and furnace/humidifier/controller are in the basement and would rather not have to cut into walls/finished basement ceiling to fish a wire. So hoping there's a clever wireless solution.

    Any ideas would be welcome even if its a controller/solution you know about that may work but haven't implemented yourself so I can research that lead. Thx!

  • #2
    You could put a zwave outlet in to control power to the humidifier and then use either a zwave humidity sensor or EcoBee's reported humidity to control it. I don't have an integrated humidifier, I have a console unit that I control this way. EcoBee only reports humidity every 5 minutes, but that is good enough for me.

    EDIT: if your humidifier is not AC powered you could use a z-wave dry contact relay.
    HS3 SEL running Pro Edition 3.0.0.531 on Ubuntu 18.04, mono 5.20, 656 devices, 209 events.
    Plug-Ins: Chromecast, Device History, EasyTrigger, Ecobee, JowiHue, LutronCaseta, MeiUnifi, PHLocation2, Pushover 3P, SDJ-Health, Sonos, WeatherFlow, weatherXML
    Scripts: SparkMan's Lock Event, 5 of Jon00 scripts.

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    • #3
      Typically those types of humidifiers are 24VAC. I have the same project on my to do list but have not landed on a solution either.
      HS 3.0.0.548: 1976 Devices 1156 Events
      Z-Wave 3.0.1.262: 123 Nodes on one Z-Net

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      • #4
        Probably not the answer you want but you can with an aprilaire thermostat.. I have the aprilaire 600 humidifier, same as 700 just a little smaller unit. My aprilaire 8840 thermostat controls the humidity in the house automatically based on published guidelines for recommended relative humidity based on outdoor temp. Set it and forget it. And it integrates with homeseer and does not require additional wire going to the thermostat than the 5 wires you probably already have.

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        • #5
          If it is 24v, it is probably pulling it from the 24v transformer hooked to the furnace and thermostat. You could buy a 2nd 120v to 24v transformer and control it via a z-wave outlet. Then wire the humidifier to it.
          HS3 SEL running Pro Edition 3.0.0.531 on Ubuntu 18.04, mono 5.20, 656 devices, 209 events.
          Plug-Ins: Chromecast, Device History, EasyTrigger, Ecobee, JowiHue, LutronCaseta, MeiUnifi, PHLocation2, Pushover 3P, SDJ-Health, Sonos, WeatherFlow, weatherXML
          Scripts: SparkMan's Lock Event, 5 of Jon00 scripts.

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          • #6
            I have a duct mounted 240V steam humidifier (hydronic heat, but use the A/C duct to distribute humidity in the winter). After evaluating a lot of options over the years, the humidistat with an outdoor sensor makes for an easy solution. A humidistat like the Aprilaire 60 could work for you. PS: I have zwave temperature and humidity sensors located throughout living areas, zwave thermostats with humidity sensors, and Shill's device history graphing the data.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the ideas everyone. I came across the Aprilaire 60 in some searching I had done. That might be the most turnkey solution, but wouldn't hook things up to homeseer, which I guess is not a requirement. The automated switch (or relay) ideas are interesting. I could just leave the dial pegged at highest humidity then have homeseer switch it on/off. Although I think it's currently setup to only run when furnace is on, don't want it to keep running forever if homeseer loses connection (or power). So will have to think about that one more.

              I love my ecobee thermostat so wouldn't want to switch to the Aprilaire and I actually only have 4 wires to my Thermostat, but ecobee's super slick adapter that you install at the furnace enabled it to work with just the 4 wires. Seems they could add a remote humidifier controller to their product line and/or come up with another adapter that would somehow enable you to use existing wires to send signals to the humidifier too. They'd have at least one customer!

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              • #8
                The Ecobee 3 can run a humidifier or dehumifier from the thermostat. I have a dehumidifier installed running off our Ecobee.

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