Smart Thermostat Installation Guide

Installed smart termostat

A smart thermostat is a simple way to keep your house at its most comfortable and reduce energy costs, and if you’re thinking about upgrading to this intuitive device, the good news is you can install it yourself.

For most people, smart thermostat installation should take no more than 30 minutes to do, as long as you’ve got the tools and know-how.

How do you install a smart thermostat?

To install a smart thermostat, you need to remove the old thermostat and replace it with the new smart model. This involves some work with wiring and turning off your HVAC system, and depending on the smart thermostat you have and your home’s setup, these steps could differ slightly.

There’s no need to fear if you’re planning on installing one of these smart devices and if you already have an existing thermostat at home, even better.

We’ll walk you through the steps needed to get it done and how to know when you should call in the experts, so check out this simple guide to smart thermostat installation.

What Is a Smart Thermostat?

smart thermostat inside home

A smart thermostat is an intuitive alternative to a regular thermostat, and it can be installed at home to automate your heating and cooling needs.

These thermostats have a range of smart features like schedules, learning your routines and adjusting the temperature to suit, or knowing when you’re close to home so the air conditioner or heater can be turned on beforehand to make things comfortable.

These smart devices are more than just a helpful accessory though, as they can also save a lot of money and wasted energy.

They monitor energy use, make sure HVAC systems are turned off in empty rooms, and can be monitored remotely so that nothing is ever on when it shouldn’t be.

What To Do Before Installing a Smart Thermostat

always check fuse box

Before you even purchase a smart thermostat, you’ve probably given some thought to how you’ll handle the wiring and circuit breakers that need to be managed during installation, and it might be putting you off.

The good news is though, most people can install one of these in an afternoon and there are loads of DIY guides out there to help, as well as having the manual of the thermostat you purchased to go by.

The smartest approach is to follow those instructions explicitly, but if you’re after more of a general idea on how it all works, we can help. You’ll need to first make sure that the device you’re buying is compatible with the HVAC systems you have at home, and most products will have a checklist that allows you to do this correctly.

Finally, you’ll need to find a time to do this project when you’re not relying on any heating or cooling. If anything goes wrong or you need to call in the experts, you don’t want to be left without a heating system in the middle of winter when you’ve got people arriving for the holidays.

Steps for Installation

steps for thermostat installation

With your new smart thermostat in hand, you’re probably pretty eager to get started, but first, you should read through the steps and make sure you understand it all.

Here’s a general idea of what’ll be required when you install a smart thermostat at home.

  1. Find the breaker panel and turn off the entire HVAC system of your home. This might include separate switches for various things like heating or cooling units, or one single switch. Once done, you’ll have no more electricity running to the old thermostat so there’s minimal danger of shorting anything. If you’re unsure that it worked, test out the old one by trying to turn it on and off.
  2. Go back to the thermostat and remove the faceplate from it so that you can see the wiring and backplate. Use your phone to take a photo of how the wiring looks so you can refer back to it as needed. Your thermostat might be labeled on its various parts including codes on each terminal, and if not, you can add these stickers yourself to make the future steps easier.
  3. Slowly remove each of the wires from the backplate, either by pulling them, unscrewing the screws that hold them in place, or pressing the tabs to release the mechanism that holds them in. Then, remove the backplate itself by backing out the screws and removing them.
  4. If your thermostat needs a C-wire, you might find the adapter to install this included with the smart thermostat. Follow the instructions explicitly to make sure this step is done correctly. Those without the electrical knowledge or experience might not be okay with doing this part, so if you do have to install a C-wire, a professional’s help is best.
  5. Using a pencil, hold up the new thermostat’s backplate on the wall where it needs to go and mark it with pencil around it. Pull the wires through the backplate and then drill the holes required for the screws using a small bit.
  6. With the backplate on, you’ll need to connect the wires of the thermostat to the terminals coming from the wall. Look at the photo you took earlier or the labels you made to do this correctly.
  7. Fasten the faceplate of the new thermostat onto the backplate, and if it clicks into place, it’s done right. Otherwise, have a look to see if wires are in the way preventing it from snapping together.
  8. Turn the breaker back on to restore power to the HVAC system, which should also power up the new thermostat.
  9. Once the thermostat has booted up, you’ll have to connect it to your household WiFi and sync it to the phone or device that has its dedicated app. The thermostat might also run through a list of questions to help understand your HVAC needs and schedules. When complete, perform some basic tests using the thermostat to make sure it’s installed correctly.

When to Call in the Experts

Installing a thermostat yourself is easy when you have some basic electrical knowledge and the right tools, but if you’re not comfortable getting the job done, there’s no shame in asking for help.

Rather than risking electric shock or destroying your home heating and cooling systems, a quick search online can point you towards qualified electricians that work with these smart devices and can install them quickly and easily.

If at any point during a DIY installation you feel unsure, it’s best to stop what you’re doing and call in the professionals. What could be a simple task will become expensive and damaging, so there’s no point taking a risk when you can simply get a professional’s help.

Smart Thermostats: A DIY Dream

installation steps

There’s no need to fear installing a smart thermostat on your own when they’ve been made especially for DIYers to do easily themselves.

All you need is some patience and a thorough understanding of the manual that comes with your thermostat, and you’ll be one step closer to a fully integrated smart home that can predict your every need.

Related Questions

Smart thermostats have become one of the more common ways to automate the home, and with their installation being so easy, it’s no surprise why.

If you’re looking for other devices that you can use to turn your regular home into a smart one, we’ve got the answers with some FAQs about popular smart devices.

How Do I Install a Smart Light in My House?

lamp with smart bulb

A smart light bulb can be installed using the same method you’d use to install a standard light bulb, with either a screw or pop-in mechanism.

From there, you’ll need a hub or bridge that helps you control the light, and then will need to sync your household wireless connection to the light and hub so you can control it remotely.

Do I Need Multiple Smart Thermostats?

Most smart thermostats come with the option to purchase additional sensors so you can have one of these in each zone of your house.

The thermostat can control the separate areas provided there’s a sensor in that space, and you can create settings and temperatures for the different rooms of your house so that everyone is comfortable.

How Can I Make My Air Conditioner Smarter?

If your home only uses an air conditioner for its HVAC requirements you might not need a complete smart thermostat installation, but rather an air conditioner-specific device you can install to make it smarter.

These mounted systems rely on the infrared sensor of the air conditioner to control them remotely and they operate through an app like other smart thermostats to automate how your home is cooled.


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