Should I Upgrade to a Wi-Fi® Enabled Thermostat?

wifi thermostat

The Wi-Fi® enabled thermostat is a relatively new product to the HVAC market that is already seeing great success.  Wi-Fi enabled thermostats are adding additional benefits to homeowners that have not been enjoyed in the past.  Depending on homeowner habits, a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat could potentially cut the cost of your next heating or cooling bill.

  1. Travel Habits- Do you find yourself leaving the house and forgetting to adjust the thermostat or setting your programmable one?  Do you come and go from your house several times a day?  By upgrading to a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, a homeowner would have the ability to change the temperature of their home from a cellphone, tablet or PC.  Rather than heating or cooling your house while you are gone the Wi-Fi enabled thermostat allows you to avoid wasting energy while you’re away.
  2. System Compatibility- There are quite a few Wi-Fi enabled thermostats on the market and making sure the one you select will work with your system can be complicated.  It is always best to consult a professional contractor before making a purchase decision, but here are a few things to consider.  About half the homes in the U.S. have a Common Wire or “C wire” providing low voltage power to their thermostat to do things like keep the back light on.  Most Wi-Fi enabled thermostats need this power wire to operate correctly.  You should check to see if your thermostat has this wire before selecting your Wi-Fi enabled thermostat.  A few Wi-Fi enabled thermostats will also operate without the C Wire if your home does not have one. Systems that use high voltage thermostats (more than 24 volts) will most likely not be compatible with Wi-Fi enabled thermostats.  Almost all Wi-Fi enabled thermostat providers have a compatibility table or checker on their website.
  3. Installation- Wi-Fi enabled thermostats vary greatly in sophistication and cost, and many can be installed without calling a contractor.  Some even have installation instructions on the app, so all you need to do is install the app and follow the step by step guides.  It would be good to do some online research before deciding on the model that best suits your needs.

Wi-Fi enabled thermostats can be a great way to cut energy costs, but you should weigh all of your options first.  If you have a consistent schedule and don’t mind walking over to set and program your thermostat, then maybe a programmable thermostat is the better option.  On the other hand, if you would like to monitor and change the temperature in your home remotely from your phone, then a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat might be the way to go.  Either way, controlling the temperature in your home is vital to reducing your heating and cooling costs.


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12 thoughts on “Should I Upgrade to a Wi-Fi® Enabled Thermostat?

    • Hi Troy, depending on your particular brand of thermostat it could be an issue with the software or the screen itself. Sometimes powering it down fully (removing from wall and take out batteries) and resetting it will help but before doing that I would suggest you reach out to the customer support team for the manufacturer by phone and they can walk you through some troubleshooting steps.

  1. I have 5 z wave thermostats they are great excerpt I only show 4 the 5th one does not. Is there a limit? what am I doing wrong? Please help.

    • Carlos, there often are limits to the number of devices you can have on one z-wave hub. However those limits are usually higher than 4 but do vary by platform. Your best bet is to call the customer support team of the z-wave hub manufacturer (e.g. Wink, SmartThings, etc.). Hope this helps.

  2. If my router went down and it was winter, how would the thermostat
    let me know the router is not working and the thermostat cannot control
    the temperature. I would be afraid the pipes would freeze.

    • Joann,

      Great question. All WiFi thermostats in the market that we are aware of are not reliant on wifi connection to maintain control of the temperature in your home should your wifi router or your Internet go offline. The wifi is only there so you can change your settings on the thermostat from the Internet or your phone if/when you want to do that.

      When the wifi connection goes down basically the thermostat acts just like any other standard thermostat and it will heat or cool your home based on the most recent settings you had on it whether those were set over the Internet or manually at the device.

      Additionally most apps that come with a wifi thermostat will let you know if the thermostat is offline. So if you’re ever away from home and want to check in on the home the app will tell you if the stat is online or not. All that means is that your thermostat is still functioning based on your last setting but you won’t be able to change those settings until the Internet or router comes back online.

  3. Hello guys what a nice blog that gives nice information about how to upgrade the Wi-Fi network and also including the security feature. Thanks keep it up.

    • Hi Chris,

      You would need a secure local network wireless (Wi-Fi) router in your home that connects to the internet, usually via through a service provider like TV cable or phone lines. The Wi-Fi signal from the thermostat would be connected into this home wireless network. This would allow for you to download the Thermostat app to your Smart Mobile device, and control your home thermostat settings from anywhere in the world.

      Hope this helps,

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