There is no doubt that smart thermostats are one of the best inventions of the decade. These tiny devices can greatly increase your comfort when you are at home, help you save money, give you peace of mind and offer you a wide variety of personalization option.
If you want to buy a smart thermostat but you are afraid that installing it all by yourself might be over your pay grade, let us reassure you that you have come to the right place. Below we will explain how to easily install your smart wifi thermostat and how to properly use a C-wire. The tips presented below can also be used to install other types of smart thermostats.
However, before moving further, we want to highlight the main benefits of owning your own smart thermostat for those of you who are still pondering over the thought of buying one of these devices.
Main Reasons to Buy a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are able to collect a wide range of information regarding your home’s energy usage. By keeping track of the energy expenditure, temperature, humidity and other factors, both internal and external to your home, a smart thermostat such as Nest can help you save energy, reduce costs and pinpoint areas of your home where the heat or humidity exceed the recommended value.
A smart thermostat is a must-have appliance in your home if you want to stay in control of your home’s temperature, you need to save money ( who doesn’t) or you are eager to leverage the power of technology in order to control the heating or cooling in your house from a remote location, using a mobile app or online platform.
Here are some of the reasons as to why buying a smart thermostat is a “smart” choice:
1. You can control the heating, cooling and humidity in your house remotely: connect through the mobile or tablet app to your router to receive and send signals to your smart thermostat. For instance, you can be on vacation, at work or at the gym, and adjust your home temperature or humidity based on the results your smart thermostat is sending to the cloud.
2. Pre-program the thermostat or schedule it to start or stop automatically once a certain temperature has been achieved.
3. Automatically adapts to your needs: modern thermostats such as Nest second and third generation have the capability to program themselves based on your unique heating or cooling needs. The device looks at the temperature outside while taking into account the optimal level of comfort you have set. In time, the device manages to get to the right temperature before you even know. For instance, it starts to warm up your home 30 minutes before getting out of bed, or 15 minutes before coming home from work.
4. Prioritize energy savings: smart thermostats are specially built to help you save more energy and reduce carbon footprint. As heating and cooling costs account for up to 50% of your home’s overall energy costs, it is important to know that you can save up to 25% of those costs on a yearly basis. Totally, you can save up to 12.5% on total energy costs. Depending on your usage, you could save up to $500 a year or more. In just one year, you can recoup your initial investment spent on the thermostat.
5. Increase your home comfort: probably one of the most important benefit for you is that smart thermostats can make you feel truly comfortable in your home. Many homeowners have no idea where the state of discomfort comes from. Studies show that humidity and temperature are two of the most important factors in the comfort level. By having a smart thermostat at your side, you can gain a huge boost in comfort and can truly enjoy spending time with your family.
6. Gain peace of mind: ultimately, a smart thermostat gives you peace of mind that wherever you are, your home is on good hands. You can control the temperature of your home from afar, creating reminders or receiving personalized alerts in case of a malfunction.
The Installation Process
Although each smart thermostat is different from the next one, all of them follow the same principles when it comes to the installation process. The only exception from the rule is the programmable outlet thermostat model Lux WIN100 that only needs to be plugged into an outlet to work. For your smart thermostat, here is a basic installation guide:
1. Remove it from the back plate: once you buy the thermostat, you will notice that it is secured to a back plate with one or two screws. Use your screwdriver to set it loose.
2. Find the correct wires: next, take a photo of the actual wiring of your thermostat and then compare it to the wiring of your new thermostat. Disconnect the wires of your existing setting and tape them securely to the wall to ensure they won’t accidentally fall into the wall cavity.
3. Remove the old thermostat: to do that, you need to remove the old back plate. Use your screwdriver for that operation. If you are installing the Nest second or third generation smart thermostat, make sure the new plate covers entirely the area where the old plate was. You don’t want to have a dirty patch of stale wall near your new thermostat.
4. Fit the new back plate into place: because old thermostats contained mercury, it was necessary to ensure that the back plate was level. Fortunately, new thermostats do not require that. However, if you want to ensure your new thermostat can be seen in all of its beauty, use a leveler to ensure that it is level.
5. Connect the wires: now the fun part. Connecting the wires might take you a while, especially if you’ve never done that before. However, things are pretty straightforward. Connect the wires as specified in the back of the plate. In case you need a “C” wire, here is what do to.
The “C” wire stands for “Common” and it represents the main wire that powers up your smart thermostat. To determine if whether you have a “C” wire, take a look at the back of your new thermostat’s back plate. If you see the letter C there, then you need to keep reading how to install one.
The Nest 2nd generation claims to work without a “C” wire, as it can take energy from “D” and “G” wires. However, some users expressed their concern over Wi-Fi failure due to insufficient spare power. To fix this issue permanently and to ensure your thermostat will always run, we recommend you to create your own “C” wire. How to do that? Quite simple.
If you have a spare wire that is not connected to anything, get it to your thermostat and connect it to the “C” wire slot. Then go to your heating/cooling control panel and make sure you connect it to the “C” slot. Here is a great video from the Honeywell Smart Thermostat to show you how it’s done. The same principle applies to all Nest thermostats and the vast majority of smart thermostats.
You could also use a power extender kit that can be wired directly to the “C” terminal. These transformers can work ceaselessly, 24/7, ensuring you have enough power for your thermostat.
6. Attach the new thermostat to the back plate: now that the back plate is secured and the wires are perfectly matched, you need to attach your Nest 2nd generation or other smart thermostat to its power source. You have two options here: either screw it into place or fit it securely using the clip-on function. Once attached to the back place, the thermostat will automatically turn on.
7. Check if it’s working: next, make sure that your new device is working properly. Run a complete checklist to determine if it can recognize your cooling and heating systems
8. Connect it to your Wi-Fi and register it to the network: you need the name of your Wi-Fi network and the password to ensure the device is up and running. Each manufacturer has its own method to register to the network. Depending on the device, read the installation guide. As a rule of thumb, Nest thermostats can easily connect to your home Wi-Fi network through the app.
9. Adjust it to suit your requirements: the final step is the personalization one. Now you get the chance to set your new smart thermostat just the way you like. The pre-set program is the Energy saving one. You can adjust it to suit your own purposes. Explore the extra features your new smart device has and change it according to your preferences.
It usually takes up to 30 minutes to make the initial set-up of the device. After that, you only need to set it up from time to time.
Disposing of your Old Thermostat
On final aspect to consider here, now that you have learned how to install a smart thermostat. Your old thermostat might still contain highly toxic mercury vapors. It is recommended to dispose of it at an disposal approved center. Check with your local disposal center for extra rules and regulations that apply.