How to Manually Select Which Ecobee Sensor to Use

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The Ecobee line of smart thermostats can use remote sensors to monitor the temperature in other areas of your house, rather than just where the thermostat is. Unfortunately, there’s no easy and simple way to select which sensor to use at any given time. Here’s a way around that, though, which lets you pick which sensor to use and when to use it.

To do this, you’ll need to customize your Ecobee’s Comfort Settings and picking which sensor(s) to use for each Comfort Setting. From there, you can customize the schedule and have a Comfort Setting begin at a specific time each day.

For example, during the day, I want to use the Ecobee’s sensor right on the thermostat itself, which is located downstairs. The downstairs stays cooler than the upstairs, so the A/C won’t run as often during the day. However, at night, I want to use the remote sensor that’s located in the bedroom, so our A/C will turn on and use the temperature where I sleep rather than rely on the temperature that the thermostat itself is detecting downstairs.

To start, open up the Ecobee app on your phone and select your thermostat on the main screen if it isn’t already.

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When your thermostat’s user interface pops up, tap on the menu button in the bottom-left corner.

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Select “Comfort Settings”.

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There are three Comfort Settings to choose from: Away, Home, and Sleep, and they’re supposed to be used based on what they’re named, obviously.

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Start by tapping on “Away”.

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If you have the A/C running, tap on the blue number toward the top and on the left.

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Tap and hold your finger on the number to the right and drag it to set the desired indoor temperature that you want your thermostat set at when you’re not at home. Then hit “Save” in the bottom-right corner. Do the same thing for the heating temperature if you have the heat running.

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Next, tap on the area where it says “2 Participating Sensors” (or however many sensors you have).

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Check and uncheck the appropriate sensors that you want to use (and don’t want to use) for this Comfort Setting. After that, tap on the arrow in the top-left corner to go back.

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Tap “Save” in the bottom-right corner.

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You’ll repeat this step for “Home” and “Sleep”, only this time you’ll select the desired temperatures that you want for either Comfort Setting and choose which sensors to use. For example, the “Home” Comfort Setting I’d set to the downstairs sensor, since I’ll spend most of my time downstairs when I’m home and not sleeping, whereas for the “Sleep” Comfort Setting, I’ll select the upstairs sensors and set the temperature to something a bit cooler since I sleep better when it’s cooler.

Once that’s done, tap on the arrow in the top-left corner to go back to the menu.

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From there, tap on “Schedule”.

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You’ll start on Monday and there will be a default schedule already in place, but we’re going to change it around. From here on out, you won’t need to focus on the top Comfort Setting–just the ones beneath it. By default, you’ll have “Home” and “Sleep”.

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Start by tapping on “Home”.

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Select a time that you want the “Home” Comfort Setting to kick in. Keep in mind that the time you select is when the temperature will finish reaching the desired temperature for that Comfort Setting, so if you choose 6pm, it may actually start at 5:30pm or so to get the temperature up to the desired temperature by 6pm. Once you select a time, hit “Save” at the bottom.

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Next, tap on “Sleep”.

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Again, select a time that you want the “Sleep” Comfort Setting to kick in and then hit “Save”.

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If you want to add the “Away” Comfort Setting to the schedule, tap on the “+” icon in the top-right corner of the screen.

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Select “Away” if it isn’t already and then hit “Next” at the bottom.

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Choose a time that you want the “Away” Comfort Setting to kick in and then tap on “Save”.

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It will now be added to the list. Once you have your daily schedule the way you want it, tap on “Copy Monday” at the bottom.

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Select all of the days that you want this schedule to work on. You might want the weekends to be different, so don’t select Saturday and Sunday for this. Hit “Save” when you’re done.

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If you want the weekends on a different schedule, simply don’t select Saturday or Sunday and set up a custom schedule for these days just like you did in the previous steps.

To delete a Comfort Setting from the schedule, start off by tapping on it to select it.

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Then tap on the “X” button in the top-right corner.

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Hit “Save” down in the bottom-right to remove it. If you delete a Comfort Setting from the schedule, it will only apply to that day you’re on, so you’ll need to copy it over to the other days of the week.

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It’s a fairly complicated process, but once you go through it and get familiar with all of the menus, it’s pretty easy to navigate through it and manage it in the future. It’s not the easiest we’ve seen, and Ecobee could definitely improve this in the future, but for now, it’s at least doable without much headache.

Craig Lloyd writes about smarthome for How-To Geek, and is an aspiring handyman who loves tinkering with anything and everything around the house. He's also a mediocre gamer, aviation geek, baseball fan, motorcyclist, and proud introvert.