Common challenges and tips for smart thermostats
Have you adopted smart technology? Does this smart technology apply to your heating and cooling system? If you can answer yes to either of these, stay tuned. We are going to uncover what this technology can do for your home along with some common challenges and tips to solve them.
Programmable thermostats are not a new concept. These systems have been around for years and since the early beginnings, the link between this technology and energy savings has been apparent. These higher-technology systems have many benefits — including increased convenience, accessibility and ease of use — but like most technology, there is the occasional challenge.
With a smart device from brands like Nest, Honeywell and Ecobee, homeowners can minimize energy costs while maximizing savings. From an application on a smart device, you can easily schedule the day’s heating and cooling remotely and monitor the unit’s performance. These upgrades to your home system are easily installed and most systems are relatively user-friendly. More information on the benefits of this device can be found in our article “Being ‘SMART’ About Smart Thermostats.”
If you currently own one of these devices we have included common troubleshooting advice that will conquer these smart technology obstacles.
#1 Continuously Power Your Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats — unlike older, simpler models — require a steady stream of power. For many devices, like the Google Nest, if there is a built-in battery the system will use the heating and cooling wires, but in some systems if there is not a built-in battery on the smart device the common wire connection will be required to keep power running to the thermostat. The common wire, or, as most homeowners know it, the “C wire,” controls the continuous power supply. The C wire completes the circuit from the R (red) wire so that energy can flow continuously.
Take a look behind your thermostat and inside the furnace to see if you have a C wire. If you do not have a C wire and the power is not steady, you will need to run a cable from your furnace to the thermostat. Not to worry, Rescue Your Air & Drain can often remedy these types of smart thermostat issues in as little as 1 hour and have your HVAC running smoothly.
#2 Maintain Steady Connection
Smart thermostats have been known to disconnect from the internet periodically and sometimes these “failed to connect” errors are not apparent
a) Check Your Thermostat’s Battery
The easiest check for connectivity issues is your thermostat’s battery. If the battery is less than 3.6V (found in the device settings), then the device is not able to connect to the Internet and this could be related to a power issue. In this case the device will require charging if possible in order to reconnect or, as mentioned above, the common wire will need to be installed. If the battery is 3.8V or higher, then the connectivity issue is not due to low battery of the device.
b) Check the Internet Connection
If the smart thermostat does not have any battery issues but was previously connected to Wi-Fi you can restart your thermostat, reset and check your internet connection, reset your thermostat’s network settings, and lastly check the settings on your Wi-Fi router or access point.
c) Check the Signal and Ping Strength
If you have followed the above steps and are still having problems you can now check your thermostat device. Ensure that the signal and ping strengths have stable connection. The ping speed on your device should be lower than 1500 ms and the signal strength is based on a 100-point scale with anything less than 50 indicated as a weak connection. If either of these connections are not stable make sure that your smart device is compatible with your internet, and also make sure other device interference on the network is not the problem by turning off the sources and reconnecting the thermostat to Wi-Fi. If the above does not fix your thermostat’s connection then the problem is likely with the thermostat base and this problem can then be solved with the manufacturer.
#3 Manage Thermostat Learning Settings
The Google Nest and some other brand thermostats use “learning” features to predict homeowners’ schedules to intelligently and efficiently heat and cool the home; however, some homeowners have noticed that this auto-schedule can cause unwanted changes to the temperature. For example, the air turns on without any activation by the user.
This setting can overlap with the manual point you have set. If you prefer to turn off “learning” and create a manual temperature schedule you can do so and use the Nest thermostat as a traditional thermostat.
#4 Control the AC/Fan
If you have had a problem with your AC or fan during the warm season, it could be that the G wire needs to be disconnected from the thermostat base and then reconnected. The button beside the G terminal should be pressed down which ensures that it is connected correctly.
We highly recommend using a licensed professional like Rescue Your Air & Drain to perform this work to limit unintended consequences that may arise if not done properly.
Once the fan is activated the system should begin making sounds that it is on. If the fan is still not working, it is best to contact the manufacturer’s support hotline to isolate the issue and determine if wire swapping or wire twist will provide a solution or if the root cause is an underlying HVAC system problem. Whether the problem is with the smart thermostat device, or an underlying HVAC problem, Rescue Your Air & Drain is equipped to get your fan up and running smoothly.
*Always make sure to turn off the power break before touching any wires.
If you have had any of these problems, don’t fret, Rescue Your Air & Drain can keep your home “smart” and comfortable. If you are looking to upgrade your thermostat but do not feel equipped to do so, let Rescue Your Air & Drain be your hero!
Call Rescue Your Air & Drain for a free consultation on your heating and air system, as well as thermostat recommendations. Our phone number is 870-735-1588. Or schedule an appointment online anytime for a consultation or free estimate on a new system.