In the winter I'd like to only run the heat occasionally. Ideally I'd like to keep the temp somewhere between 68 degrees and 74 degrees (F). Ideally when the temperature drops to 67 the thermostat would kick on, heat until the temp got to 74 and then turn off until it dropped back down below the bottom of the range. My house is pretty insulated so this generally takes an hour or two a couple times a day, however it's tedious to manage by hand. I've dug quite a bit into various smart thermostats but mostly they just say they "learn" or they're app capable but I can't really find any the conclusively say they can or can't do this.

As it stands now the thermostat maintains a temp very aggressively, turning on and off several times each hour which I understand the on/off cycle does contribute towards reducing the lifecycle of the hvac system.

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    The difference between the set-point and turn on/off is called the dead zone or "hysteresis" and can, on many thermostats - even old-school "dumb" stats, be adjusted. Most people want a very narrow dead zone i.e. they want the temp at 72° all the time. You want a bigger zone set it at 71° with a 3° zone. Seems pretty simple.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5, 2022 at 11:26
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    What make and model is your current thermostat? Oct 5, 2022 at 11:45
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    Exceedingly likely that your current 'stat can do this, no "smart" needed. A good old Honeywell round dial mercury 'stat can...
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 5, 2022 at 12:45
  • @ThreePhaseEel Honeywell Home Pro Series (unsure of the precise model, but looks like the T6 Pro)
    – aslum
    Oct 5, 2022 at 14:28
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    Ah, you already got one "too smart, but not smart enough" - a dumb 'stat would do better.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 5, 2022 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


Yes. Here's an example:

Heat Differential Temperature: (This threshold will only be configurable if your thermostat is set to Manually for Configure Staging) Also known as the "swing" temperature, this is the minimum temperature differential the ecobee observes before engaging heat. This is set to 0.5⁰F/0.3⁰C by default. This setting will wait for the temperature in your home to drop by this value (0.5⁰F/0.3⁰C in the default scenario) below your set point before engaging your heat. For example, if your Heat set point is 72⁰F, the ecobee will wait until the temperature in your home drops below 71.5⁰F before engaging your heat. This setting prevents your equipment from short cycling and helps to conserve energy.


Most other brands also have controls for preventing "short-cycling"

Having said that, under certain circumstances, your boiler/furnace can dump more heat into the medium it is using to transmit heat to the rest of the house (e.g. water) than the house can absorb, and will turn itself off to prevent an overheat condition.

  • More heat than the house can absorb??? Oct 5, 2022 at 12:12
  • Wow, the Ecobee defaults to a 0.5°F swing? That'd have the heat or AC running all the freaking time! Not much "Eco" in that "bee"...
    – FreeMan
    Oct 5, 2022 at 12:15
  • In many cases (e.g. mine), the actual furnace has a minimum short cycle. But there's also a lot of inertia in hydronic heating systems....
    – gbronner
    Oct 5, 2022 at 13:32

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