Category: Knowledgebase

What is geofencing and how do smart thermostats use it?

Your smart thermostat can use your phone’s location to figure out if you’re home or not. What is geofencing? Imagine an invisible border surrounding your home. When you’re “inside” the border you’re considered to be “home”, so your thermostat makes things nice and comfy for you. When you’re outside that boundary, your thermostat lets the…
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No C-wire? Install a Nest thermostat at your own risk

Nest says you don’t need a C-wire – until you do. Read enough Nest reviews and you’ll eventually spot a common theme: Nests sometimes fail in systems without a C-wire. We were curious about these seemingly “random” Nest failures, so we called a few local HVAC companies and asked them for their off-the-cuff opinion on…
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Crunching the numbers: 3rd-party projects and alternative ways to analyze your Ecobee or Nest data

Ecobee and Nest both offer emailed monthly data reports containing information such as how many minutes your system ran, whether it was heating or cooling, etc., but the reports don’t give as much nitty-gritty detail as many users would like (and you have to wait at least a month to get them). Fortunately, a few independent projects…
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7 truths about the savings claims made by smart thermostat manufacturers

How much money can you actually save with a smart thermostat? As it turns out, that’s a complicated question. The answer depends on your existing habits, preferences, the climate you live in, and more. The savings look impressive (up to 20% in some cases) and the claims sound bold (can a smart thermostat really pay…
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6 things you should do before you replace your current thermostat with a smart thermostat

If you’re ready to replace your old thermostat with a shiny new smart thermostat, read our 6 tips first to ensure a smooth upgrade process! We learned some of these lessons “the hard way”, and now we are sharing them here so you can learn from our mistakes! 1. Confirm your system is “low voltage”…
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What is multistage heating and cooling and how do I tell if I have it?

Part of figuring out if your system is compatible with a smart thermostat is determining if your 24v HVAC system is single stage or multistage. (Wait a minute, how do I tell if I have a 24v HVAC system in the first place?) Single stage systems are best described as “on-off“. They’re either blowing hot…
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6 reasons why 2018 is the perfect time to buy a smart thermostat

Nobody likes buying something only to have something new and better come out a month later. Smart thermostats were a new and quickly-changing market several years ago, but things are stabilizing now in 2018. If you haven’t gotten your smart thermostat yet, 2018 is a great time to buy. Here’s why. 1. The smart thermostat…
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Is your wiring compatible with a smart thermostat? Our guide to low voltage, line voltage, and more

You’ve probably heard the term “low voltage” or “24v” while researching smart thermostats – but if you’re early in your research, you might not yet know the difference. The difference is critical: today’s best-known smart thermostats (from manufacturers like ecobee, Nest, and Honeywell) are designed only for low voltage systems. You’ll need to be sure…
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Which smart thermostats are compatible with Alexa?

Once you’ve adjusted the temperature just by talking to your Amazon Echo, it’s hard to go back to the barbaric old ways of using an app or a dial. Look for the words “Works With Alexa” to find smart thermostats that you can control through a separate Alexa-enabled device, such as an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, on the same…
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What if I don’t have a C-Wire?

The C-Wire, or “common wire” enables the continuous flow of 24 VAC power to the thermostat. It’s a wire that (if you have one) runs all the way from your furnace to your thermostat. Questions about the C-wire are by far the biggest drivers of traffic to this site, so I’ve written this article to help you…
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