An ecobee SmartThermostat might be able to help you lower your utility bills while also making at-home temperature control a breeze. However, when an ecobee thermostat sensor continually disconnects, that convenience is traded in for frustration.
An ecobee sensor keeps disconnecting or registering as unavailable due to:
- Low battery
- Static interference from other devices
- Placement is too far from the thermostat
Simple solutions include replacing the battery or relocating the sensor.
If you’ve been struggling to get your ecobee sensor to connect fully or continuously, then you’re not alone. Sensor connectivity is one of the most common issues ecobee owners encounter. This article will explore why it happens and how you can put an end to it—for good!
Why an Ecobee Sensor Keeps Disconnecting
There are three primary reasons why an ecobee sensor might register as “unavailable” or fail to connect to the hub device.
First, your ecobee sensors may have a low battery. Ecobee sensors use anywhere between one and three Energizer CR-2032 coin-cell batteries. There are two ways to get at your sensor’s circular watch-style battery. If your sensor comes with a stand, you should be able to pry the circular stand portion away from the sensor’s body.
To do this, you’ll need to:
- Locate the indented tab on the back. Pull the sensor upward and away from the stand. The next part can be a bit tricky. You may want to grab an old unusable credit card or a flathead screwdriver.
- Pry the plastic lid away. Use your fingers or your helpful tool to pull the lid away from the body of the sensor. Use the idents for leverage. They help quite a lot.
- Push up. Once you’ve got this piece of circular plastic off, you should be able to push the battery upward gently and away from the sensor.
Note: Once you’ve freed the old battery, resist the urge to toss it in the trash. Batteries can be harmful when thrown in with the regular garbage. It’s far better to keep your old battery or batteries and recycle them at your local pick-up points.
Ecobee sensors, like many other types of devices, broadcast a particular frequency of radio signals that are invisible to the naked eye. These signals register within the 915MHz frequency. Other electronic devices that use this frequency can interact with the sensors, with unwanted side effects.
Check to see if you have any errant walkie-talkies, baby monitors, or home phones lying around. They may be broadcasting a counter frequency, making it difficult for your sensor to communicate with the thermostat.
According to the ecobee support team, the best way to solve this issue is to change your router channel. Altering your router’s SSID (Service Set Identifier) may also help. To do this, you’ll need to log in to your router admin account by entering your IP address into the search bar of your web browser.
From there, you’ll need to enter your settings or the advanced settings menu. You should see the option to “change Wi-Fi name” or “change SSID.” You should also see a “channels” drop-down menu or checkbox. Ecobee recommends setting your router to channels 1, 6, 9, or 11, as these don’t overlap with other channels.
If an ecobee sensor is placed too far away from the device hub (AKA the ecobee thermostat), it may struggle to communicate. This could result in a pattern of “unavailable” status updates from that particular sensor. The immediate solution for this issue is changing your sensor’s location.
Remote sensors tend to function well within a distance of 45 feet (13.72 meters), and users should place them on the same floor as the sensor. Walls and floors can block the sensor’s signal, so it’s crucial to set up your sensors within a clear line of sight of the thermostat.
What Happens When My Ecobee Is Disconnected?
When the ecobee SmartThermostat is disconnected from its sensors or from Wi-Fi, it continues to function as a standard thermostat. The primary difference is that users will not be able to access settings and change temperatures via their smartphones, tablets, or computers. When connectivity is restored, smart functions become available again.
How Do I Get My Ecobee Sensor to Reconnect?
If your ecobee sensor is constantly disconnecting, it can be frustrating to get the thing to stay connected. Fortunately, the culprit is likely one of the above three things. As such, getting your ecobee sensor to reconnect could be as simple as following a few steps.
The first step to this troubleshooting guide refers to a virtual icon found on the thermostat’s SENSORS sub-menu. To be more specific, it relates to two icons. Let’s talk about them.
You’ll need to head over to your ecobee thermostat and access the main menu. From there, select “SENSORS.” You should see a list of all paired sensors and their current status. Go ahead and choose the sensor you’ve been having trouble with, and press the trash icon.
You’ve now removed your pairing with that sensor. Before you panic, remember that this is a necessary part of the repairing process. You can now move on to the second step, powering down.
For this step, you may need to scroll back up to the information concerning battery issues. After all, you’ll need to remove your sensor’s battery to power it down completely. Also, now is a good time to check how much juice your current batteries have.
Note: A D-FantiX handheld universal battery checker could be the best tool for this step. It’s a shame to throw out (or recycle) batteries that still have some juice in them, and a battery checker can ensure that you never replace an excellent battery, ever again.
After confirming your current battery’s charge, you’ll want to remove the thermostat from your wall. Then, you’ll need to wait for about three minutes before powering the device again.
You can now replace your thermostat on the wall and wait for it to power up. Once that’s happened, you can pop a new battery (or the same one if it’s in great shape) into your sensor.
When you’re ready, go ahead and return to the thermostat. Follow the “pair sensor” prompt.
All you need to do now is follow the prompts to pair your sensor with the device hub. So long as your sensor has a well-charged battery, is close enough to the thermostat, and isn’t getting frazzled by other electrostatic information, it should begin working immediately.
Update Your ecobee’s Firmware
If all of these steps, tips, and tricks have failed you, there is a final alternative that you could try. In rare cases, your ecobee firmware may be out of date. Should this happen, you’ll need to contact the ecobee Support Team.
Fortunately, they accept many communication modes, including live chat, email, phone calls, and Twitter.
The ecobee smart home system can be a convenient and cost-effective solution to at-home temperature woes. However, when the ecobee sensors fail to stay connected and paired with the main thermostat, the system can feel more like a hindrance than help.
Still, most ecobee sensors simply need a new battery or new placement location. Unpairing and repairing your ecobee sensor only takes about five minutes, and it’s not terribly challenging. Take charge of your sensors and make the most of your ecobee once again!