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Nest Humidity Control %RH

tanderson097
Community Member
How does Nest control whole home humidifier humidity levels?
I recently had my HVAC system replaced and the installer removed my manual humidistadt and instead wired the whole-home humidifier to my Nest thermostat.  I am trying to understand how the Nest handles humidity levels in the home when engaging the whole home humidifier. 
 
I know that I can manually control the humidity levels in the app via the Humidifier slider, but there is no description of what % humidity the slider adjustments are calling for.  On manual humidistats, the homeowner typically sets a specific humidity level expressed as % humidity.  This % is then manually adjusted throughout the heating season as the exterior temperature changes. (Colder temps require lower indoor humidity in order to prevent mold growth and window condensation.)
 
Therefore, my questions:
  • Is the Nest smart enough to adjust indoor humidity levels as the outdoor temperature changes?  
  • If not, how does the homeowner know what % humidity the Nest is calling for as the Humidifier slider is adjusted in the app?
Thanks in advance for assistance!
 
 
This is a very obvious and timely topic. I can't believe Nest didn't include this from the onset of design, but doubly so that it hasn't been corrected since the issue has been brought to attention. Simple building science stuff. This should be included in your next update, and should be pushed before this winter's heating season (which is already starting in some parts of the country.)
 
Travis
21 REPLIES 21

jnettik
Community Member

So I just purchased the $129 version of the Nest (2021 version, no real model number given that I can find). Very hard to find info or a manual on any of these products 😞  The thermostat does report what my current humidity level is, but as far as I can tell, this model no longer has the ability to control a whole house humidifier installed on my new gas furnace.  No settings on the thermo, no mention of humidity settings on the app. I guess it's better to get an auto humidistat for the furnace and just leave Nest up to temperature control.

Is this accurate?  That the most current version of the Nest (the mirrored front panel) will not manage the humidifier when attached to the "*" terminal?  I just spent time eliminating the old manual humidistat and rewiring for the Nest.  

I really don't know. I can't find any documentation on if/how it can control a whole house humidifier. I don't see anything in the Home App that references humidity settings. The lack of documentation for the Nest is frustrating. If you can find docs on how it works or you get it working, post your info here.

Thanks. 

No where do I see a reference to humidity settingsNo where do I see a reference to humidity settings

 

 

So, I finally figured it out.  Some of the guidance I found on YouTube and other places was correct, but not clear.  I am running an EWC NCM-300 Zone Control Panel for a new single-stage Carrier gas furnace with an AprilAire M400, and a Nest Gen 3 Learning Thermostat.  Here is what I did:

  1. Turn off the power to your furnace.
  2. Connect any unused Thermostat wire to the "*" terminal on the Nest wiring block associated with the thermostat that you want to use to control the humidity.
  3. At the Zone Panel, connect the wire now attached to the Nest's "*" terminal to one of the wires leading to the humidifier's water control solenoid.  It doesn't matter what wire you choose.
  4. Secure the remaining wire from the humidifier's water control solenoid to the Common terminal for the thermostat zone wiring block that is associated with the thermostat you are using to control the humidity.
  5. Test & Troubleshoot.

Most all the guidance said to wire the Common wire for the humidifier to the furnace control board.  That didn't work in my instance.  I had to wire the Common to the thermostat zone block.

Here are some other lessons learned:

  • Only the Nest Learning Thermostats offer full humidification control.
  • Be sure to do some flow testing so you know for sure that you're getting a proper flow of water through the solenoid before doing any rewiring.
  • Be sure to clean out the humidifier's water filter (if so equipped).
  • Understand that there are a number of factors that affect how the Nest manages humidity levels.  This article is very helpful in that regard.
  • There are also some constraints on the humidity output when there is a call for heat.  Our new furnace is pretty efficient and it doesn't take much to nudge the home back up to temp.  This means that humidification output is limited only to the length of time that the heat is running.  This has me questioning:
    • Does it make sense to have the humidifier also run when the fan is running?  That is, can I nudge up the humidity level by turning on just the fan?
    • Do I need to adjust the water output from the solenoid to the humidifier?  At the moment, there is a restrictor that limits the water flowing over the mesh filter, so most of the filter remains dry.

Best I can tell after having just done it is that, yes you can control with the newest nest. However you have to go into the “pro” settings under the equipment screen. Once you confirm the type of equipment for everything you can test it all out. Of course if you mess up the wiring you can also damage your equipment. 

Once you’ve done that you’ll have access to the “humidity” slider on the app. I can’t figure out how to get to it on the nest itself which is annoying and google doesn’t seem super interested in building out further nest humidity “features” like updating with outdoor temperature. 

You may have to get an ecobee for that. 

Jake
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey all,

 

Apologies for the late reply. I wanted to follow up and ensure everyone is good to go. Please let me know if you are still having any trouble from here, as I would be happy to take a closer look and assist you further. 

Best regards,
Jake

BGH7
Community Member

Jake - my fan and humidifier continue to run even when the heat is not on.  Meaning the temp in the house is higher than the thermostat is set too, but the fan and humidifier still keep running.  

My Nest humidifier is set to 35% and the inside humidity is 31%.  Seems like the humidifier is pumping cool air into the house to try and reach the 35% regardless of whether the heat is running.  Please Advise!

Bigskiohio
Community Member

There are settings under pro to only run when heat is on and not to run when only fan is on 

 

 

Aurelian
Community Member

The settings to link the heat and humidifier together are in the "equipment" settings for the nest.  If they are not already set up (they should be if it is running now), then you will have to set where HVAC components are plugged into on the Nest.  Once the humidifier is selected there will be a further options as to when the humidifier can run (anytime, only with fan, or only with heat and fan).

 

Unfortunately I believe this is the only place this setting can be updated.  Be sure you know the wiring of your HVAC if you plan to update the wiring configuration of the nest.

Hi Jake - I’m about to have an AprilAire 800 steam humidifier hooked up to my HVAC and controlled by our existing Nest Gen 2 thermostat.  I want to ensure the Nest setting for humidity levels can go up to at least 55% or 60%, I.e. 45% is not enough.  We live in So. Cal and our portable console humidifier is set at 55% and it’s very comfortable - no dry skin, lips, eyes but no condensation or mold either.  Can you answer asap?  (I checked with a Google rep but he seemed somewhat unsure plus a slight language issue. ). Thanks very much!

Just an FYI, I no longer need help.  Our AprilAire Humidifier was installed yesterday and the HVAC tech was able to show me how to set the humidifier at 55% on our Nest thermostat.  It looks like it will go to at least 60% humidity (maybe more) but we haven’t tried it yet because they aren’t completely finished with the install.

drczajka
Community Member

I have the same issues as above, the nest displays humidity level but no way to control the humidifier that is attached to my furnace.  Is this correct? or is there a way to have nest control the humidity? Now that it's winter, it would be nice to increase the humidity level in the house.  Please confirm.  It seemed as though there was a place for the humidifier wire to be connected, but without a humidity control function, my HVAC tech did not connect the wire.

Jake
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey drczajka,

 

Do you mind me asking if you happen to have any wires labeled H, HUM, HUM1, H2, HUM2? These would be the common wire labels for the humidification functions. I did find an article with more details on humidifier and dehumidifier compatibility. Please let me know if that helps, or if you are still having issues from here.

 

Best regards,

Jake

dsm363
Community Member

Is there a reason why the humidity control is only in 5% increments?

 

I just had the Aprilaire 800 installed and the Nest learning thermostat (5 year old model) is controlling it. Thanks. 

Your ability to control humidity levels using a Nest thermostat depends directly on the model of thermostat you're using.   You'll need a Learning Thermostat model to have more direct control over humidity levels.

scubadive1
Community Member

Same position as others, the Nest has bricked my whole house humidifier and there's a distinct lack of documentation about it.  I could bring in a professional, but it will be cheaper and faster to just get rid of the Nest.  Rather disappointing that such a common feature would be overlooked.

What do you mean by bricked?  A humidistat is only going to control opening or closing the humidifier's water solenoid (bypass type).   It's possible that there could have been a short which affected the solenoid, but that's likely to be due to a wiring problem and not something attributed directly to a Nest (or any thermostat for that matter).

VicDewey
Community Member

So I figured it out! First I believe you have to have a Nest learning thermostat gen 1 2 or 3.

*Secondly, you have to wire it to the astric terminal of the thermostat. See this YouTube wiring diagram. 

* after you connect it you'll have to go into the Equipment go into the Pro Setup and set up the humidifier.

16429189943835584189320904624834.jpg

Hit continue.

Turn the dial until the "*" highlighted ( it should be yellow instead of green if it's not set up) and press /select it. Then select each of these and hit continue.

1642919277894978875164233553826.jpg

not sure if the settings that I used are the right ones, but it's working for me. Type:humidifier, Activate:humidifier and Heat, Fan: Activate 

16429199257136021303782204967348.jpg

Hit continue and Done. 

Go back into your EQUIPMENT. Continue until you get to your equipment settings. SELECT HUMIDIFIER then SET HUMIDITY. You'll have three choices. Select the dial for one droplet two droplet or three droplets. Select the desired level and then hit done

16429201046162855462810705629056.jpg

16429201266233164615314456970494.jpg

 

 

 

Thank you for the information and photos which are helpful.  Some Nest info. online shows that humidity settings can be set by %, not just water droplet symbols.  If % settings are possible (which Communithy Member BGH7 below thinks is possible, could you tell me what the max humidity % setting is?  I can’t seem to find that information.  I called Google, had a difficult time communicating with the rep, and got an answer that it was up to 70% humidity setting.  I tried to confirm it was the setting %, not just the sensor, but didn’t feel totally assured.  I’m about to spend a few thousand on an install so want to be sure.  Thanks!

As I noted in a different thread, yesterday I had an AprilAire 800 humidifier installed and connected to my Nest thermostat which is controllable by % to at least 55% - probably higher so I don’t need a reply.  Thanks!

BGH7
Community Member

Here is the issue I'm experiencing.

Thermostat set to 65.  Actual temp in house is 70.  
Humidifier is set to 35%.  Actual % in the house is 32%.
When the heat shuts off, the fan and humidifier keep running in an attempt to reach the 35% humidity level we have it set to on the Nest.  In other words, it continues to blow cold air into the house, despite the heat not running.  The water keeps trickling and fan wine turn off.

As soon as I lower the humidifier % lower than what it's actually at in the house, it shuts off.

Anyone know if this is normal?  I thought the humidifier should only kick in when the heat kicks on.