Ecobee Thermostat for Radiant Heat with Flairs on 2 Minisplits and 1 Window Unit

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    James Clarke

    Hi Kenneth Behrman,

    With the ecobee integration available in the Flair app you are able to have some control over your ecobee thermostat using the Flair app, but there is no Flair control available in the ecobee app.  You would not be able to control your Flair devices from the ecobee app.

    You may be able to control everything (except for the security piece) via Flair.  There are several questions we would need to address to determine this.  If you want to discuss this please contact our support team (support@flair.co), we would be happy to help!

    Regards,

    The Flair Team

     

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    Matt Twomey

    Hello, I am interested in this question & response. I have a similar setup, including: gas-fired hydronic heating controlled by an Ecobee in multiple zones; Mitsubishi heat pumps in each of those zones for heat and A/C. I've been using multiple Pucks for almost a year only with the mini-splits. I would have guessed the answer to Kenneth's questions was a "Yes"... If you configure the Ecobee for multi-stage heating, and you have a Puck for each mini-split and an Ecobee for each Puck. You could use "Mirror Mode" on the Pucks and let the Ecobee take control of the set point, sensing and schedule. Right?

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    Matt Twomey

    Hello Again. I posted on this a few days ago. Since then, I've been exploring this and found that you actually can do this as Kenneth describes. I'm doing it. In a nutshell, my Ecobee is controlling the gas fired boiler as an auxiliary heating system which is triggered at an outside temperature of < 20 °F. The Ecobee is also controlling the Mitsubishi mini-split heat pumps through the Pucks as the initial heating stage. The Pucks are mirroring the Ecobee and simply accept the set point, schedule and temperature and sends it to the Pucks; then, the Pucks send the IR signal to the wall unit on the heat pump. Meanwhile, I can still override the setting with the remote control for the heat pump which is nice. Also, I can block the signals from the Ecobee by putting a hold on the Puck if needed. In general, the Puck follows most of the changes which are made on the Ecobee; there are a few commands which it seems to ignore. For example, I found that if the Ecobee is changed from Heat Mode to OFF; the Puck does not seem to accept this. Also, you might lose some fan and vane controls. If this is critical for your heat pump, this might be problematic.

    So Kenneth, I hope this helps with your question. Also, as an alternative. I suggest you consider trying a thermostat interface for your LG heat pumps if there is one available. This might allow you to hard wire the Ecobee directly to the heat pump and use the Ecobee in a hard wired mode. Personally, I prefer hard wiring heating systems when practical. The Puck has the advantage that it can be done with no wiring, other than the power supply. You can consider the easy of installation vs the reliability of the communication, etc.

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    Kenneth Behrman

    Hi Matt,

    I appreciate the response!  I have done quite a bit of digging into this myself.  I talked to Flair support and they basically said they couldn't confirm or deny what I was trying to do would work.  I am really glad to hear that it works on your end!  I never would have thought about setting the in floor heat as the aux but that makes alot of sense.  I also learned you can tell the Ecobee that it is connected to an AC unit even though it isn't, and the flair will pick this up and send an AC signal to the minisplits.  Will work with my window unit too!

    I am debating on using the minisplits for heat at all.  It really isn't needed but might be nice in a pinch.  I was looking into my minisplit and I can actually just place a jumper on the controller to deactiave heat in the minisplit, then it doesnt matter if the flair sends a heat signal to the minisplit, it won't do anything.  Truly the simplest solution to have infloor heat controlled and the ac controlled by an ecobee paired with a flair.

    I spoke with ecobee about hardwiring the minisplits too, this actually wont work unless the ecobees are just controlling the minisplit.  The consumer available ecobees cannot handle multiple transformers.  I could tie the transformers together but I would have to look into that possibility further.  I assume that is more complicated then I am thinking.

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    Kenneth Behrman

    I also found a custom made adapter for the ecobee that I am pretty interested in... seems promising and the creator says it will do everything I am trying to accomplish.

    Might get my post deleted for sharing this but it sure is a cool little invention: https://www.tindie.com/products/beckmx/minisplit-adapter-for-nest-thermostat/

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    Matt Twomey

    HaHa! I found the same device in a YouTube. While it is interesting and might really work, personally, I would avoid using that device. From a practical standpoint, it might be difficult to use and control when in the hands of other family members in the household. My goal is to use "off the shelf" items without a lot of middleware. For that reason, I like Puck and Ecobee (that's a plug for our sponsors). They are off the shelf, reasonably reliable, etc. The Puck has the advantage that it is mostly wireless and easy to install. I also want my family members to be able to use it intuitively without having to watch a YouTube to figure it out. Your circumstances could be very different. 

    I live near Portland, Maine where we have serious heating needs in winter. My heat pumps are great most of the time. However, they are a huge disappointment in very cold weather. They are "hyper-heat" and should work well at subzero temperatures...but they don't. When outside temperatures are above +20°F they are awesome. My inclination is to switch modes manually between, Heat, Cool, Aux, Dry, OFF. It turns out that decisions related to all of these modes are really complex and probably best done by an intelligent/aware human, vs an off the shelf algorithm. Consequently, I don't mind changing modes manually when it is needed. I know I can do this on my Mac or iPhone when needed; also, I can do it anywhere or anytime. My current setup allows me to get alerts anywhere and anytime; it also allows me to dig into the details and get to the temperatures at home while away on vacation. Also, with HomeKit automation, I can get Siri to make changes quite reliably with voice commands. I can also use shortcut automation to send temperature warnings to my iPhone while I'm hanging out with my family in Germany; It can also take actions when needed and then let me know what it just did (I used to do this sort of stuff during my working life).

    Yes, indeed you can trick an Ecobee into thinking that it has more wires than you have physically connected. If you tell it that you have all the wires needed for two stage heating and cooling, it will proceed to configure multiple stages and then make the settings available for the Puck to follow and send to the IR receivers on your heat pump. If you do it right, at the end of the setup on the Ecobee it will ask you if your heat pump is Geothermal or Air-Air. There's a different YouTube about how to "trick" or lie to your Ecobee which is interesting and amusing. In fact, you only need power wires on the Ecobee to get it to do the job. If you use a remote sensor, you can actually put it in your basement and make it work like it is stuck to the wall in a different part of the house. I'm probably going to do that to control the mini split in my main bedroom with the Puck and a remote sensor (while the Ecobee is physically in my basement next to the boiler in the cobwebs). I'm pretty sure it will work.

    I would suggest keeping the heating mode on your heat pumps intact until you have at least a few heating seasons worth of experience with them. In floor radiant/hydronic heating is awesome in very cold weather. It can also be pretty awful when the weather is mild. My experience is that heat pumps are the best in mild weather, and radiant floor heating is perfect in very cold weather. Again, your circumstances might be different. 

    I appreciate your thoughts, insight and questions. Thank you!

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    Kenneth Behrman

    I live in Minnesota so I agree completely.  I definitely will need some testing to figure it out, I really think setting the infloor heat to aux and using the minisplits as main heat might be the solution.  Time will tell whether deactivating the heat on the minisplits will be necessary.  

    Trust me, I want the pucks and ecobee combination to work.  It would be by far the most convenient and reliable compared to any thing custom.

    Now if only they would sell the Black one again so it would match the ecobees!

    Thanks for all the insight Matt.  I think alot of people will find your input very helpful.  I came across alot of unanswered questions similar to this.  

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