I wondered: “Is there a way I could get the floor and ceiling fans to turn on when the HVAC is running?“
I looked into my existing Trane thermostat and the Wyze, Amazon and YoLink thermostats I have evaluated and found that there was no way to detect the HVAC running to control an Alexa Routine to turn on the additional fans.
My attempts using vibration sensors on the ducting near the HVAC blower failed to detect its running.
Hey! What about a temperature sensor on a HVAC vent in a room?
After a quick test with an IR thermometer gun, I found that indeed the temperature at the vent gets much hotter when the heat is running and much colder when the AC is running.
All I needed to do is find the appropriate temperature sensor to trigger my Alexa Routine to control the fans.
Caption- YoLink Temperature sensor with Probe
I found a YoLink Outdoor temperature sensor with a probe worked well, if I mounted the probe on the HVAC vent
Caption- YoLink Temperature sensor mounted on a HVAC vent in a room
Ok, I can see the sensor would work, now how do I get it to control her fans?
If your mom has fans that are controlled via an IR remote, you can use a YoLink IR blaster to turn them on/off.
While most floor fans use IR, ceiling fans tend to use their own radio wave technology, not being compatible with either Zigbee or Z-wave.
However, I found a great RF-type fan controller from Bond that controls ceiling fans, fireplaces and SOMFY shades. This is interfaced to the YoLink automations through an Alexa Skill
If your mom has a tendency to leave a door or window open when the HVAC is running, you can add YoLink door-window sensors and alert her to close the door or window when her HVAC is running!
This is easily handled through YoLink automations that check to see if the door-windows are open when the HVAC starts
Ok, how do I set this all up?
I’m suggesting that you start small and first add just the YoLink temperature sensor and the YoLink SpeakerHub. That way you can get a good feel for the correct temperature settings in the YoLink automation.
Caption- My temperature sensor alert setting
Note that you will need to change the temperature settings when the season changes to cooling is running instead of heating or add a second temperature sensor for AC sensing.
Next, I would add the fan control, for the IR type fans with the YoLink IR Blaster, and/or the Bond RF ceiling fan controller.
Please note that the IR type fan controllers typically have a single button that controls BOTH on and off. This can lead to confusion with the YoLink automations as there is no way to send a separate on command verses an off command for the fan. I solved this problem by adding a vibration sensor to the fan to detect it was already running so there was no need to send a command in the case of the HVAC turning on.
Finally, if you think the “door-window” left open detection would be useful, add those sensors.
The Kit List
To find the exact products mentioned below, and see the routines mentioned, go to our kit list page:
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Retired Intel Engineer wanting to share DIY technology tips for the children of parents wanting to remain living independently. I like posting ideas and answering technical questions. If a product or software has an issue making it hard for seniors to use, I try to offer workarounds and also try to contact the manufacturer for solutions. I write a column for this website in the Innovation- Homebrew Solutions & Ideas section