Can I Use a Smart Thermostat?

You're a do-it-yourself kind of person since you've done your fair share of home improvements and appliance installation. You know your way around a crescent wrench. You don't need any help when it comes to thermostat installation.

You've got this, and you'll be fine. Everything will be fine — no reason to panic.


Installing a smart thermostat can help you control the temperature of your house with ease. You could set up most heating and cooling systems to make them Nest thermostat compatible so you can monitor the temperature with a voice command or the push of a button on your smartphone. But before you do all that, you need to install it in the right place and with the right wiring. Use this guide to figure out how to connect your smart home devices to your Wi-Fi thermostat.

Person holding phone with text "with a smart thermostat, you can set your home's temperature of variable speed with your mobile or internet-connected device."

How Does a Smart Thermostat Work?

The purpose of a Wi-Fi-enabled AC thermostat is to save money and energy that your HVAC system would normally spend, providing a pleasant atmosphere for your home all year long. With a smart thermostat, you can set your home's temperature or variable speed with your mobile or internet-connected device. Since operation with this system is convenient, you can take more control over heating and cooling while saving money on your utility bills each month.

Smart thermostats connect to your home's HVAC system through a common wire or C-wire. They also connect to your home's wireless connection, which you could control with an app installed on your mobile device or computer. You can also control it by walking up to it and manually turning the dial.

The best thermostat comes with the following features:

  • Connection to mobile device: The most prominent feature of a smart thermostat is that it connects to your smartphone, computer or tablet. While you can control your living space's temperature on the thermostat, you can also control it from your phone. This capability allows you to control it from anywhere in the world, whether you're on the couch right next to your thermostat or you're on an exotic vacation in the middle of winter and you suddenly realize you forgot to turn off the heat.
  • Monitoring humidity levels: In the summer, moisture could accumulate in the air as soon as the sun rises. Your thermostat could detect the humidity in the house and alert you if it changes so you can adjust as needed. It also allows you to program your desired indoor humidity level to prevent mold and mildew buildup. Instead of making your family sweat even more, you can lower the moisture in the air with your smart thermostat.
  • Geofencing ability: If you go to work in the morning, your smart thermostat can use tracking technology to figure out when you've left the house and adjust the temperature to save money. After all, you don't need to cool off or warm up an empty house.
  • Connection to smart technology: Most smart thermostats respond to voice control if you set it up to connect with smart home devices, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. If you can't find your smartphone or you're in the other room, you can use voice commands to change the temperature according to your exact specifications.

Condenser with list about the importance of proper installation of a smart thermostat.

The Importance of Proper Installation

Proper installation of your smart thermostat is essential to it working like it should. If you want a comfortable temperature in your house, you need to install your thermostat correctly. Consider the right placement with the right wiring so you can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • A reliable HVAC system: Your heating and cooling system comes with several components that all respond to the temperature controls on the thermostat. The placement of your thermostat will help your HVAC system run smoothly. If you install it in the wrong location, your system could short cycle, which could wear down your AC and cut its life short. Figure out where to install your thermostat so that you can have a durable HVAC system that lasts a couple of decades.
  • Safety with your wires: A smart thermostat uses wiring and voltage that connect it to your HVAC system. Most often, a thermostat needs a C-wire to function, so if your home's old unit didn't use it, you need to buy one before setting up your smart technology. If you arrange the thermostat wiring correctly, you won't have any power outages or connection issues with this technology.
  • Maximum energy-efficiency: Your smart thermostat allows you to increase the comfort level of your living space without spending extra money. The proper placement of this device allows you to save the most money on your utility costs. A high-quality thermostat can help you save up to 10% per year on heating and cooling costs by adjusting your inside temperature by a few degrees.
  • A comfortable living space: Overall, the goal of a smart thermostat is to control the temperature so you can have a pleasant indoor environment all year long. When you install your thermostat in the correct location, you and your family can sit inside without sweating or shivering in extreme temperatures.

Everything could go wrong, but probably not in the way you're thinking. While it's possible to mess up the wiring of the thermostat, that's not the most common installation problem. The most common way people make mistakes during their thermostat installation is location, location and location.

Do's and Don'ts of Thermostat Installation

You can always consult a local HVAC technician if you're not sure where to place your smart thermostat. Here are some things you should keep in mind when you're installing any programmable thermostat:

  • DO install a thermostat in a common family room. Your HVAC system should provide a comfortable temperature for the people in your living space. A smart thermostat often controls the atmosphere of the whole house or at least one level of your property. You should put a thermostat in a place where everyone hangs out, such as the living room or the dining room, to keep the central part of the house at the right temperature.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat on an exterior wall. If that wall is poorly insulated, your thermostat will detect that the room is either too hot or too cold. You'll waste energy in summer and winter. Which is bad.
  • DO install a thermostat on an interior wall. The wall where you put your thermostat should be insulated to control the temperature of the house properly. Try to put it near the center of your home, especially near the rooms where your family spends the most time. You should put it on the main level because upstairs tends to be hotter and the basement tends to be cooler.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat where there is a steady draft. You don't want your thermostat directly above or below a vent since that affects how it perceives interior temperature. When the heater runs, the thermostat is the first to feel the air. As a result, it'll think the room is warmer than it is. You should also avoid installing the thermostat near doors and windows because the drafts will cause it to think the room is cooler than it is. Again, this is a recipe for wasting money.
  • DO install a thermostat with the correct voltage. Most smart thermostats today require a low voltage — or 24V — HVAC system. Before ordering a smart thermostat, double-check that it's compatible with your type of system. If you have one thermostat in the whole house, chances are you have a low voltage system that works with most smart thermostats.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat in direct sunlight. The sun's heat could give your thermostat a false reading and make it think that the room is warmer than it is, so it can activate your air conditioner even when you don't need it. In the winter, your thermostat could turn off your heater because it feels the direct sunlight and thinks the room is warm enough. Ideally, you don't want your thermostat exposed to sunlight at all. This setup isn't always possible, so minimize exposure as much as possible. Keeping your thermostat away from sunlight exposure will minimize your energy bill and help you have a comfortable temperature despite the weather outside.
  • DO install a thermostat after repairing the wall. Your old thermostat might have been larger than your new one. If that's the case, you need a way to repair mismatched paint or damaged wallpaper that your old thermostat might have covered. Most smart thermostats today come with a wall plate that could hide the damage done from your old unit's bulky size.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat behind an obstruction like a door or bookshelf. Even if that spot meets other thermostat installation guidelines, you'll hate the inconvenience when you want to change the temperature. Also, obstructions could interfere with the Wi-Fi signal from your smartphone to your thermostat.
  • DO install a thermostat in the middle of the wall. Here's a little science lesson for you — warm air rises. If your thermostat is too close to the ceiling, the heat makes it seem like the area is warmer. Instead, put it toward the middle of the room, about 5 feet off the floor.
  • Do NOT install a thermostat in the kitchen. Due to the use of your cooking appliances, the kitchen can get pretty warm. As a result, your thermostat that controls the temperature of the whole house might think that the rest of your living space is warm, like the kitchen. In the summer, your air conditioner will turn on when you don't need it, and in the winter, your heater won't turn on when you need it.

If you're installing a smart thermostat, make sure it is in range of your home Wi-Fi network. There's not much point in paying for smart tech if you can't use it.

How to Install a Smart Thermostat

Yes, it's possible to install your thermostat incorrectly. However, if you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you should be just fine. To install your temperature controls correctly, you'll need:

  • A new smart thermostat
  • A screwdriver
  • A wire stripper
  • A level
  • Your Wi-Fi password

The installation project should take about a half-hour.

Follow these steps exactly so you stay safe while installing an efficient smart thermostat. If you need help with installation, you can call us at 270-575-9595 for tech support. To install a smart thermostat:

  • Turn off the breakers to your HVAC system to prevent electrocution.
  • Safely remove the faceplate of your old thermostat.
  • Take a clear picture of your old thermostat to know where to put the wires on the new one.
  • Pull out each wire of your old thermostat and separate them.
  • Loosen the screws around your old backplate and pull it off of the wall.
  • Pull the wires through the hole and install the new backplate onto the wall.
  • Use a level to check the new backplate and make adjustments as needed.
  • Tighten the screws of the backplate after you've confirmed it's level.
  • Attach the wires according to their colors and the letters of their terminals.
  • Attach the smart thermostat to the backplate.
  • Turn the power back on and make sure the thermostat has power.
  • Set up the thermostat by programming it according to the promptings on the screen.

After you manually set the temperature for a couple of weeks, your thermostat will learn your habits and adjust the temperature based on your routine. The leaf symbol on the screen shows that you're saving energy and money in the current setting. You can also check your energy use with your phone or computer to practice better energy-saving habits.

Where Can I Find a Smart Thermostat?

You can find a perfect smart thermostat for your needs right here at Ingrams Water and Air! Give us a call at 270-575-9595 or take a look at the thermostats we offer to find yours today!

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