Ontario High electricity use with Ecobee

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by db30, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. db30

    db30 New Member

    New here, just stumbled on this community. Geothermal is pretty foreign to us as we purchased a cottage that has one.

    We've owned this cottage for a few years now that we are not at very much through the winter. It has a geothermal Water Furnace and in October we had an Ecobee 3 Lite installed in the fall the same time we had a maintenance check done. We recently spent some time over Christmas up there and noticed during stage 1 and stage 2 only cold air would be blowing. Not sure if it was actually cooled air as a result of A/C running or just non-heated air been blown by the fan, but it definitely wasn't warm. Warm air would only come out once Aux heating is engaged.

    Just got our hydro bill and it was almost 50% higher than last year for the same period and examining the data a bit more carefully we can see that similar temperature days use significantly more electricity since the Ecobee was installed. The previous thermostat was a Honeywell.

    So guess it could be one of the following:

    1. Ecobee is installed wrong
    2. Ecobee is installed ok but settings are wrong.
    3. Furnance has issue and timing with new Ecobee is just a coincidence

    I'm heading back up there this week and having the company that did the maintenance check back in to look at the system.

    We are in Ontario so we have had temperatures in the minus 10 and colder. Right now we are in a deep freeze with overnight lows in the minus 20's (Celsius).

    Any tests I can run to try and isolate what the root cause is? Should we have the Ecobee run stage 1 and stage 2 run much longer? I recall that previously with similar temperatures once the furnace would engage, warm air would come out immediately. What could the Honeywell thermostat settings have been in regards to the stages and aux heat?

    I realize don't have the exact furnace model number or a picture of the wiring so help from the forum may be limited but will get that to share here once I head back up there. Any other information that would be useful to share?

    Any guidance or advice would be much appreciated.

  2. mrpac

    mrpac Member

    Hi db30 -

    I am an Ontario GEO user as well - have been living with it for the last 8 months. So far - so good - even down the the -18 deg c.

    Back to your issue - prior to buying the current home that I live in, I did have an ECOBEE thermostat with LilBee setup - only in a GAS application.
    It was more of a PITA to setup than I expected - for GAS. So in order to have it setup correctly for 3 stages - I am sure that it would require someone with experience to do it correctly.

    Seems odd that you are only getting cold air. It makes sense that in AUX there is heat - due to the elements being ON and the FAN on as well.

    Is it as simple as it is still in COOLING mode? I know that with my setup - using a Climatemaster Tstat- it needs to be set into HEAT, or AUTO for the heat to function.
    There are most likely more experienced users on this forum with EcoBee setups.

    Next steps are the obvious ones - did you throw out your old Tstat? Verify that the GEO is pumping and that the compressor is running when required in Heating Stage 1 and 2.

    Hope to hear that it was a simple fix!
  3. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    What was wrong with the honeywell? If nothing, put it back and if it heats well you know where you messed up. That's your "test" btw. If a pro did it, call him back.
  4. nc73

    nc73 Member Forum Leader

    If you have a thermometer, measure the temperature at the register closest to the heat pump. Should be over 80 depending on your set temperature. Temperature rise could be from 15 to 20s. Should really be measuring at the return and supply of the heat pump.
  5. db30

    db30 New Member

    Update. It was a faulty valve so the compressor was not coming on at all. I now have plenty of real life data (too much in fact) to compare the efficiency of running geothermal vs purely electric only. I checked last night when it got below -20C and Aux was not engage at all.

    Thanks for everyone's input.

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