How do you automate your ceiling fans?

I'm not looking for How to, but more how do you? I searched, but I really only found threads like "How do I make this fan work" etc. My hub is still on it's way, but I've been trying to pre-plan things for an Alexa free smart home. Lights are easy, but how do you guys decide when a fan should or should not be running? I'm just looking for ideas. Do you base it on Temperature? One thought I had (for summer) would be to have them to come on when the AC is not running, but turn off when it comes on. Currently I find myself turning them on and off at times because some times I'm cold, some times I'm hot and ceiling fans seem like they are gonna be a tough one to automate. My end goal is to stop asking Alexa to do things as she is like having a disgruntled maid who only obeys when it's convenient for her lol.

FWIW, I use temperature and Time of Day based fan automations.

In the master bedroom the Fan comes on between the horus of 8:30 PM and 9 AM, but only if the MB temp is 70. If the room becomes warmer, the fan kicks up speed, from low to medium (as I recall), and back down if it cools off. If it gets below 70, or the time becomes 9 AM, it turns off.

I'm using a Inovelli fan controller for that fan, and one other.

In the living room, because I have two fan units on one circuit, I'm using the Hampton Bay Fan Controllers. However, the fans operate simiarly to the MB, different times and different temps, but similarly.


i'm not doing too many crazy automations, i more so use it for the voice/phone control. i installed z-wave switches (back in the Wink days) and loved that HE was local. it was just convenient to give a single command and ensure all my lights are off instead of me having to walk around the house and confirm

of course if you wanted to fully automate it, i would suggest pairing it with a temp sensor. then when the temp gets to a certain point, turn on the fan until the temp drops below another value (basically how a thermostat works)

Fans cannot change the temperature of the air. They can only change how the air feels on the skin by lowering your body temperature. Thus, you would probably want some sort of occupancy sensor to trigger that someone is using the room before turning on a fan.

A fan does circulate the air in a room and has some impact on distributing air evenly, but that doesn't lower the average temperature in the room.


If you go this route, I suggest an ON temperature and an OFF temperature separated by 3-5 degrees. If you use > or < a single set temperature, you could have the fan clicking on and off too often as the room temperature hovers around your set temperature

I have too much computer equip in office. I turn in fan and additional window AC based on temp. I also open the vent when it senses AC is on and off when heat us on.

I live in the South, and in the summer, we leave our fans on during all waking hours, and 24/7 in the bedrooms.

That said, in Spring and Fall it’s much trickier, and being “comfortable” is so subjective, I haven’t been able to automate it. Whether or not I want a fan on depends on: temperature in the room, humidity that day, what mode is the HVAC in, how much sunlight is coming in the windows and heating the floors up causing them to radiate heat, how much clothes we’re wearing, were we just outside in the sun or have we been inside all day. So most of the year we just use Alexa.


I already have an ecobee with a remote sensor in every room so I should be able to pull temperature and do it that way. Guess I'll have to play with it and see what works.
Question since I don't have my hub yet, are there logs that will keep track of when things turn on and off? I'm wondering if I can identify a pattern to see when I decided to turn them on and off and what the temperature would have been when I decided to do that.

I am moving over from Smartthings to Hubitat, my hub isn't here yet, so take what I am about to say with a grain of salt as it were.

Every room I have has 2 to 3 Iris motion detectors, smart swtiches or other branded devices that give temp readings.

My Ceiling Fan controllers are the King of Fans (Hampton Bay) Zigbee fan / light controllers except the living room that has a GE in wall smart controller.

I have a rule that averages temp, and once temp goes above a given average threshold, fan gets turned on low. Temp goes up 2 degrees more, medium, 2 degrees more, High, 2 degrees more, if available max. The same logic works inversely so if we get undder the max threshold high, medium, low, off...

I do not know Hubitat well enough to know exactly how to pull this off yet, but if the tutorial videos are any indication, it should be pretty fast and easy to pick it up and run with it.

SmartThings didn't work well with timers, I am hoping Hubitat does a better job handling run this job between this and that time, run this other job during this other time window sort of thing so I can slow the fan down overnight as I like it cooler as I am falling asleep and want the fan off most of the time when I wake up...

This app works well for automating ceiling fans based on temperature.

Hmmmm. It seems that almost every comment in this thread talks about temperature and fans. Thinking broadly here, I hope the assumption is that if the room temperature is above a threshold, then the people in it will feel uncomfortable and turning on a fan will help their discomfort. And the assumption is that the fans are in rooms so frequently occupied as to make occupancy a given.

But, again, you do know that the only impact a fan can have on room temperature is to raise it (albeit negligibly), right?

The fan makes you feel more comfortable by blowing away the thin envelope of body heat emitted by your body, allowing even more body heat to be emitted. To truly automate the fan's operation, you'd want to use a body thermometer (do they make anal ones with Zigbee?). OK, I'm being silly here, but just making a point.


I actually automate my 3 ceiling fans based on humidity in the house

I was thinking about this more over the weekend. It's not temperature we want to regulate. It's comfort. And lots of things go into that:

  • temperature
  • humidity
  • airflow
  • radiative heat from your surroundings
  • radiated energy from sunlight

And then I imagined, what if I built a "comfort sensor". Kind of a sphere filled with sensors for all these things. You'd set it on an end table next to the couch, or somewhere nearby where people tend to congregate. It could measure everything and then you could integrate the measurements to get a "comfort index", and then decide if you want to turn the fan on or off.

So then I started googling some of this, and well, you can see where this is going. I'm not that smart. Lots of smart people have come before me, and these things already exist! Though they currently seem to mostly be expensive and used in things like hospitals or high-end commercial areas. But:

But what was really cool was I found an open-source project to build your own at home, and use a 3d printer for the mechanical parts! How to Build a Comfort Monitoring Sensor Station : 10 Steps (with Pictures) - Instructables

So now this is getting added to my backlog of weekend projects. :smiley:

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Search digiblurDIY, as well as The Hook Up on youtube for ideas on Getting started. Both get in the weeds on creating homemade tasmota multi sensors.

I will take it one step further, and suggest that you are regulating happiness. For example, my spouse likes having the bedroom fan on throughout the night, regardless of conditions. She only finds the lowest speed tolerable when we are sitting under the fan in the family room. Humans are not purely rational beasts (and ISO standards are often generated by industry wonks who are also not purely rational).


Excellent, excellent point. Even the best possible hardware/algorithm can only deal with the environmental factors. The human factors are, shall we say, stickier. Case in point: It's hot here today. I was dying from the heat so I adjusted the AC. I feel great now. My wife just texted me this: "I am FREEEEEZING".


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