Smart Thermostats, How to turn your dumb heater Smart.

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Adding a smart thermostat to your dumb heater is easier than you think.

If you have whole house Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning, or HVAC, you will already have a thermostat. Odds are this thermostat is not a “smart” one. A smart thermostat is connected to the internet and is controllable from a variety of devices.

We have chosen our Best Smart Thermostat, the Ecobee Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

The Ecobee with voice control

Why should I get an Ecobee Thermostat?

This thermostat is going to save you money. It may cost a lot up-front, but by heating more efficiently you will repay the cost of the unit in savings. The efficiency comes from the sensor and programming, knowing when a space is occupied or not.

The Ecobee has a setting Eco+ that even adapts for changes in electricity rates during the day! The Eco+ setting will also learn and adapt to your unique home and activity.

The included smart sensor lets you balance the temperature, and the thermostat can see were you are and heat accordingly. Now you are comfortable in your space and save money when you are away.

You can also know the temperature in your home when you are away and control it remotely. With the Ecobee app you can control the temperature from anywhere. You can use a computer, your phone, tablet, or apple watch.

If you already use a smart home system, including Google Assistant, Apple Home Kit, Alexa, Samsung Smart Things or IFTTT, (If This, Then That) you will be able to integrate the Ecobee.

Smart thermostats work with a lot of different apps

Ecobee with voice control has Alexa built in. With Alexa built in you can just ask for the weather, music, Alexa calling, and more.

You can connect to the speaker with Spotify, and send songs to your thermostat. The speaker for music has a pretty great sound for a thermostat!

You can even use your thermostats as an intercom system. Just ask: “Alexa, drop in.” “Alexa, drop in on My ecobee.” “Alexa, hang up.”

Is my old thermostat compatible with the Ecobee?

Firstly, you will need to check compatibility with your old thermostat. You can check at

You can do this before you purchase so you know if you can use the Ecobee Smart Thermostat.

Please note that Ecobee is not compatible with high voltage systems.

Smart thermostats can not run on high voltage systems
Smart thermostats can not run on a high voltage system. If you have any of these symbols do not buy the Ecobee

Take off your old thermostat and take a photo of your wires. The thermostat just pulls off the base, and you can see small wires sticking into terminals. If you see any of the high voltage markings from this photo, do not purchase an Ecobee.

See if your existing thermostat is compatible with a smart thermostat
My existing thermostat wires. The wires to the left, OT1 and OT2 stand for outside temperature. With a smart thermostat it does not use these.

Have this photo ready when you visit the site.

Use the interactive wire guide on the site.

They may even ask you to send a photo of your wiring to confirm compatibility. This is something you should do right now if you are thinking about adding a smart thermostat.

I went through the wire guide and it did not give me a clear answer. So, I used the chat function and sent them the photo of my wiring. The response was quick and clear. After the chat I feel confident that I can purchase the Ecobee!

Picture of my wires and where they connect in the Ecobee

Setting up your smart thermostat is easier than you think

Setting up the Ecobee Smart sensor.

In the box you will get;

  • Ecobee SmartThermostat mounting plate
  •  Ecobee SmartThermostat
  • SmartSensor w/ detatchable stand
  • Install & QuickStart guide
  • Wire Labels
  • Large Trim Plate.

The sensor requires a battery, a CR2477 which is included.

Follow the instructions in the booklet. Work carefully and power off your HVAC at the unit or at the breaker box.

Use the supplied tags to lable your wires as you remove them one by one. Reconnect using the included instructions.

Be patient and work through the set up. If you know this is not for you beforehand, use the Ecobee website to contact a home advisor in your area to set up your smart thermostat.

Just think about all the great things your new smart thermostat will do when installed.

  • Save 23%* on annual energy costs
  • ENERGY STAR® certified
  • Control with the ecobee app
  • Apple HomeKit + more integrations
  • SmartSensor included in the box
  • Alexa Built-in
  • Spotify & Bluetooth streaming
  • Hands-free calling & intercom
  • Supports HVAC accessories
  • Learns and adapts to your routine with eco+
This Video goes through the features of your Ecobee Smart Thermostat

What makes a heater “dumb”?

A regular thermostat is good at regulating temperature. When it goes below the set temp it turns on until the set temp is reached, then turns it off. What’s dumb about that.?

Well with a smart thermostat you can do so much more.

  • Set the time of day that you want the heater to operate, so a different low temp during the night, or when the space is unoccupied.
  • Use a remote sensor and even up your heat.
  • Change the temp settings on your smart thermostat from anywhere.

But what if you do not have a whole house system? And you want to make a heater smart too!

I don’t have an HVAC system. How can I make my space heater smarter?

Say you do not have a built-in heat system. How do you make a space heater, or base board heater smart? Add a smart plug.

Smart plugs connect wirelessly to your Google or Alexia, or just your phone. You can control your space heater from a remote location or have peace of mind that it is off when you are not there. You can program it to heat when you want and save electricity.

Once you start adding smart plugs you will think of so many things, other than your heaters, that you want to control from the couch or time them for your day.

Coffee makers, lights, crock pot, infared heater, you can think of many things you would like to operate remotely, or by voice.

Some features to check before purchasing a smart plug is:

Amps Limit

Compatibility with your smart home system. Or does it run on its own app?

Wi-Fi network GHz

Inside or Outside Use

Alexa Smart Plug

This plug is only for Alexa, needs a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi System and is for indoor use only. 15 Amps limit.

  • Amazon Smart Plug works with Alexa to add voice control to any outlet.
  • Certified for Humans – Struggle-free, tinker-free, stress-free. No patience needed—it’s actually simple.
  • Schedule lights, fans, and appliances to turn on and off automatically, or control them remotely when you’re away.
  • Simple to set up and use—plug in, open the Alexa app, and start using your voice.
  • Compact design keeps your second outlet free.
  • No smart home hub required—set up routines and schedules through the Alexa app.

If you do not have Alexa, look for a plug that suits your system, or just runs on an app.

Choose an outside plug for any outdoor conditions. Remember that a space heater draws a large number of Amps. A heater on high will draw at least 12.5 Amps. Make sure the plug is at least 15 amps, not 10 Amps.

Wi-Fi Settings for Smart Thermostats and Smart Plugs

You also need to know the GHz or Gigahertz that your Wi-Fi runs on. For Wi-Fi there are two settings, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You can go to your settings app and tap Network & Internet to see these on your network. If your new plugs or thermostat need one or the other, you can pick the one best suited.

Simultaneous dual-band routers are capable of receiving and transmitting on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies at the same time. This provides two independent and dedicated networks which allows more flexibility and bandwidth.

The Benefits of Adding A Smart Thermostat

I hope you consider adding a smart thermostat to your home. The Ecobee with voice control is a very nice smart thermostat to add to your home heating system.

And if you do not have a HVAC system, consider smart plugs.

The benefits of working with technology is long term savings and peace of mind when you are away from home.

2 thoughts on “Smart Thermostats, How to turn your dumb heater Smart.”

  1. Do you know of any smart thermostats that work WITH smart plugs? Like, the smart thermostat (and sensors, like ecobee) control a smart plug in each room where the space heaters are plugged in.

    1. Right we do not know any thermostats that talk to smart plugs. You can add more sensors to an Ecobee.
      But with the Samsung SmartThings, it lets you build your own setup with an app.
      Let’s say you want another plug to turn on if your temp is 72 you would program the hub.
      IF Motion Sensor Temperature > 72
      THEN Turn on Fan (You would use your WIFI switch)
      WAIT 5 Minutes
      THEN Turn off Fan
      Sounds like it would take time and patience to set up, but worth the rewards.
      Thanks, Sarah

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