I need some community help on picking out the right Z-Wave fan controller.
I am replacing an old 'dumb' controller that operates a continuously running fan in our bathroom for full home ventilation.
I want to replace the old controller with a z-wave controller so I can have the fan turn off when I am not at home during the day.
I originally installed a GE/Jasco 14287 Fan Controller , but at the lowest setting on this fan, even at 1% via Hubitat, the fan runs a bit faster than the old 'dumb' controller. Otherwise it's great, but I really want to operate the fan at the minimum range that was possible with the old controller as it is much quieter. This is impossible with the GE/Jasco controller.
I can't find specs for the "minimum" power on the GE/Jasco controller, but it's rated for 2.5a maximum fan load.
Is there another fan controller you can recommend that can operate the fan a bit slower than the minimum setting on the GE/Jasco controller at it's lowest setting? The Leviton VRF01-1LZ looks like it has a max 1.5a rating, so in theory wouldn't that operate the fan a bit lower? I could always purchase and install it as a test, but thought I'd ask here first.
I recently moved into a home that had a vent fan installed in the bathroom. The fan runs continuously for whole house ventilation.
Original "Dumb Controller" details
The original controller from 15 years ago has a "Max" setting, and the ability to set a specific "Low" setting.
I can't find any info on the actual fan itself (max amperage, wattage, etc) but the controller is 180watts - it's the Airetrak CD (2nd page on this PDF). This other PDF tells me the controller has a max 180watts load.
The controller can dial the fan down 12 steps in 5% increments. When set to the lowest setting it's whisper quiet.
Given that the max load is 180w, and at the "12" setting I believe it's at 72 watts (12x5% = 60% and 60% reduction from 180 = 72)
The problem is if the fan is too fast or loud even at 1% output, the only real way to fix it is to use a different switch or maybe put a pull down resistor in the wiring. But adding a pull-down resistor in a electrical code compliant way is a real pain.
True, but on the stock GE fan control, I'm not sure 1% has any meaning. Isnt the lowest setting on the GE control using hubitat 15%? I'm sure the dimmer slide goes lower, but I don't think it has any real relationship, except as being in a range....I might be mistaken though.
A compelling idea, and I appreciate the suggestion. I’m trying to wrap my head around the wiring because the old fan control isn’t really an on/off switch. It was a continuous delivery switch. Either high or low always on. I’ve been looking at the wiring diagrams trying to figure it out. Because of this, if a family member wants to use the fan when it’s off, they wouldn’t be able to toggle the switch like you could with the GE switch. They would have to use their phone which they may not always have on hand.
I purchased the Leveton 1.5a control to try. It’s not z-wave plus, but I have a z-wave plus outlet in the same gang box so I might be ok if it works...
I mean it might work better, but not because it has a lower "load" rating. The fan pulls what it pulls at any given voltage. The load rating of the switch just indicates the max load it can handle. NOT the max load the fan pulls.
The load rating of the switch is not the same as the actual load of the fan. Short of using a multi-meter, I don't know how you could determine the load of the fan at 100%, which is the max sustained current the fan will pull. The startup current of the motor could be even higher, and is hard to measure with a multi-meter, as it only lasts for a millisecond or so.
I hear you. Thank you for the insight. I’m just hoping the Leviton has a lower possible minimum setting than the GE. It’s a total shot in the dark as I haven’t been able to find many other fan controllers that I think would work for my needs. If it is no better, I’ll return it and stick with the GE as at least it’s a Z-Wave plus or I’d swap my old ‘dumb’ controller back in and just keep cringing and the thought of any motor running 24x7x365 in my home.
Update: I ended up installing this Enerwave ZWN-RSM1-PLUS Z-Wave switch behind my old dumb switch. Because the fan is always ‘on’ the setup is Enerwave switch > dumb switch > Fan. I capped off the ‘auxiliary’ wire on the Enerwave as it doesn’t get used in this configuration.
The Enerwave paired instantly and works with the generic zwave switch driver. I was able to find a specific driver by searching for Enerwave and Hubitat. The switch is super tiny - not much bigger than a book of matches. It is pretty basic with no energy monitoring.
Unfortunately this means I can only turn the fan on and off. I can’t control the speed. I really liked that GE Zwave plus switch, but I’m now past the return date so I’ll have to try to sell it.