Smart thermostats are one of the most popular hi-tech home gadgets. They let you control the temperature remotely and, depending on the model, it can learn your preferences and manage your climate system automatically; some even record energy usage and track and analyze your habits. If you’re ready for an energy-efficiency upgrade, follow our guide to smart thermostat installation.
Is Your Home Ready for a Smart Thermostat?
Before you purchase a smart thermostat, there are a few things to think about. First, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is your current thermostat in a good location? If it’s on an exterior wall or close to a draft or heat source, the readings may be inaccurate whether the unit is smart or not.
- Is your HVAC system compatible with a smart thermostat? Not every heating and cooling system is set up for one, and some thermostat models are paired with certain brands.
- Is the unit compatible with your existing smart home system? Many smart thermostats integrate with Google Home, Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and other voice assistants.
- Do you have a home Wi-Fi network? Smart thermostats connect to smartphones and other devices via Wi-Fi to set the temperature and access all of their features.
You’ll Need a Mobile App
The app for a smart thermostat is installed on your smartphone. It is typically free to download. If you have an Android device, you’ll need to download the app from Google Play; if you use an iOS device, you’ll have to get it from Apple iTunes. The instructions for installing and setting up the app are usually simple. Then you’ll have seamless access to all the thermostat’s controls and features.
Smart Thermostat Installation Steps
Once you’ve considered all the variables and purchased a compatible smart thermostat, you can move forward with installing it. The process can vary depending on the model and the manufacturer. Nonetheless, here’s a basic look at what smart thermostat installation looks like:
- Cut the Power to Your HVAC System: First, turn off your heating and cooling system if it’s running, and then turn off the circuit breaker for the system. Try to adjust the temperature or switch the system on to verify that it’s off.
- Disconnect the Old Thermostat: Pop off the faceplate, or remove any screws holding it in place, to access the backplate and low-voltage wiring. Take a photo of the wiring setup so you know which wires go to which terminals. Or, you can label each wire with a sticker.
- Remove the Thermostat Backplate: Depending on how your thermostat is set up, remove any small screws holding the wires in place, or press small tabs to release them. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws securing the backplate to the wall.
- Patch the Wall: This is only if the new thermostat is a different size and shape, or you’re relocating the unit. The wall can be repaired by spreading a joint compound around the area; smooth it out with a putty knife and let it dry. Once you’ve sanded the area, it can be painted.
- Install a C-Wire: If your old thermostat didn’t have a C-wire, adding one is necessary to power the smart model. Wire adapters are available as well. But it’s recommended to use a C-wire; if you’re not sure how to install one, hire an electrician to avoid any damage.
- Attach the New Backplate: After you thread the wires through the smart thermostat’s backplate, screw the backplate to the wall. Depending on the installation, you may need to first drill small holes or install wall anchors.
- Connect Your Smart Thermostat: Insert each wire into its corresponding terminal. In many smart models, the wires will push in until you hear a click. Flatten the attached wires against the wall to fit the front plate of the thermostat.
- Attach the Faceplate: Snap the faceplate into place. Tuck the wires back into the wall if it doesn’t attach right away. Then you can turn on the circuit breaker for your heating and cooling system. The thermostat should boot up and prompt you to set up the Wi-Fi connection and smartphone app. You can now start programming the thermostat.
When smart thermostat installation is done correctly, you can save significantly on your energy bills. A smart thermostat is most beneficial when no one is around. It controls the HVAC system accordingly so it’s not used more than necessary.
Call Air Stars for Help with Smart Thermostat Installation
We are a heating and cooling services contractor based in Kieser, OR, and serve the entire Salem and Portland areas. Our HVAC professionals install and repair ACs, furnaces, and heat pumps and can assist with thermostat installation. If you’re ready for a smart thermostat or need other help with your HVAC system, book service now online or call 503-483-8616 today.