Smart Thermostats 101

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Thermostats have come a long way since their inception and in recent years, the emergence of smart thermostats has been the latest evolution in their capabilities. Almost all control companies have a smart, or at the very least WIFI, thermostat available. Before you go jumping into adding this piece of hardware to your system. Here are a few things you should know.


Your smart thermostat needs dedicated power.

Smart thermostats are always trying to stay connected to your WIFI network and are sharing data to the online server that you are able to access through your phone. All that work means that batteries, like the ones you might find in a basic thermostat, wouldn’t last very long. It’s for this reason that all smart thermostats need to be installed with a dedicated power source using the C wiring connection. If not enough wires are available, you can either use a wire saver device if there is one available for your particular thermostat or you must pull a new wire from the furnace to the location of the thermostat.


Not all smart thermostats are the same.

This may be a no-brainer to some but it should be mentioned that the features and systems supported by one smart thermostat may not be supported by another. When selecting the thermostat you want to use, make sure it’s compatible with the system configuration that you have. Additionally, understand that sometimes there are features that the thermostat supports that your system either can’t or shouldn’t utilize. For instance, running your fan on all the time if the blower motor is not ECM could result in a very high electric bill. 


Have account and network information ready.

Some thermostats require that you use their app in order to actually configure the thermostat while others allow you to complete the setup directly on the thermostat itself. It always helps to make sure to sign up for the correct accounts as well as having your WIFI name and password ready to go when you begin the setup process. 


Do I need a professional to install my new smart thermostat?

We always recommend a train technician install any thermostat whether it’s smart or not. While the installation of a new thermostat can be simple, it can also be done incorrectly very easily which will leave you with a system not operational and possibly even damaged. If you insist on installing your own thermostat, follow these two basic rules: Turn off the power at the furnace, and never assume. Always read the directions because the wiring of a new thermostat may not be wire for wire.