Home automation: HVAC, ecobee, Flair

To give you some context, we live in a two-story 80’s-era house with a one year-old HVAC system, and old windows and doors. Maintaining uniform temperature upstairs and down has been a challenge. I first added an ecobee thermostat with their room sensors in all the major rooms, which helps by setting comfortable temperatures for sleep, home, and away schedules. I think in the past year the ecobee says it has saved us a couple of hundred dollars.

The temperature differential between upstairs and down remained a problem which many of you may be familiar with - in the winter or summer, cold downstairs and hot upstairs, with us trying to close and open vents to maintain some uniform temperature. I ran across a company called Flair that has Flair Smart Vents that are controlled by one or more Flair Pucks. This all interfaces with my ecobee thermostat and the room sensors.

Here’s how it works (we’ll assume winter to simplify the language):

  • The ecobee sets the programmed temperature and turns the heat on or off.
  • The ecobee communicates the set temperature to the first Puck, which tells all the vents what the temp should be.
  • Based on the ecobee room sensors in each room, the vents in that room open to warm the room, and close if the room is warm enough.

This works really well, as the vents upstairs will close when the rooms are warm enough, which sends more heat to the downstairs. A couple of other neat things:

  • When I set it up the Flair system, I told it how many vents I have in total (12), and it knows that I have 6 Smart Vents. The Flair system senses the air pressure in the vents and avoids closing too many so that the HVAC system is not burdened.
  • If I get chilly in my office, I can manually open the vent with the Flair app. It resumes automatic operation at the next ecobee schedule change.
  • The Pucks have IR remote capabilities built-in. I recently (yesterday) added a second Puck to control a portable Delonghi heat pump we have in a poorly-insulated sunroom. Still experimenting with this, but one thing I’m looking forward to is setting a quiet period so we can watch TV without having the volume cranked.

Overall, our house is much more comfortable, and we think this was a good investment.

Edit: the Flair vents are battery powered, so there’s no need to run wire, it’s just a matter of replacing the vents. They can also be powered by AC, such as for new installs or major overhauls.


Nice - we are in a century house (built around 1900) and it has two heating ducts going to the second floor, each doing two rooms. This might be a great way to adjust the heat / cooling up there to balance the house (assuming we need it - we just moved in this past September)

Going on the todo list…

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Yes, it’s a single-zone system.

Yes, they are dual-pane, but they are also dual-pain. Unlike people, when windows get old they lose their gas. Depending on what happens after grad school, we may pass them on to someone else :slight_smile:

I used to have a two story plus basement house that had the air handler in the basement. In the summer it had a hard time pushing cold air to the top floor. My solution was to run the fan all the time in the daytime so more air was moved. Really helped to stabilize temperatures between floors. Cost to run the fan was less than other solutions.

Not needed in winter since heats rises.