Buying a smart thermostat? Why you need a C-Wire and what to do if you don’t have one

Buying a smart thermostat ? If you ’ re plan to install it yourself, it ’ second significant to know if your home has a C-Wire. As I learned during my Amazon Smart Thermostat review, if I didn ’ t have a C-Wire, I ’ vitamin d need to buy a freestanding adapter to make certain it would work in my DIY chic home. so what is a C-Wire, how can you tell if you have one, and what can you do if you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate ?

What is a thermostat C-Wire?


consult a license electrician for questions regarding your home ‘s circuitry, and be surely to refer to building codes before doing electrical work, which vary by placement. A C-Wire is short for “ common electrify ” ; it ’ s the wire that delivers continuous power from your HVAC organization to your thermostat. pretty much all the best fresh thermostats or Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats require a C-Wire connection, since the C-Wire eliminates the want for separate batteries. A modern fresh thermostat ’ mho LED display and integrate smart home features requires the device to be powered in some capacity at all times. flush when the thermostat international relations and security network ’ metric ton actively pushing your HVAC system to warm or cool your home, it needs baron to remain machine-accessible to your Wi-Fi, so it can respond to commands from other ache home devices or fresh assistants like Alexa. Some, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, are IFTTT ( If This then That ) -compatible, meaning preset environmental triggers or early ache home device actions could automatically adjust the thermostat ‘s settings, besides .

How to tell if your thermostat has a C-Wire

When I took a wiring 101 crash-course to learn about neutral wire for installing my Brilliant ache base restrainer, the C-Wire didn ’ thyroxine come up. That ’ second because C-Wires are specific to thermostats. Unlike the rest of the circuitry in your home, the power going to your thermostat is ( in most cases ) much lower voltage. Depending on the complexity of your family ’ randomness HVAC system, you ’ ll see a terminal for a C-Wire ( appropriately labeled ‘ C, ’ in most cases ) among an alphabet soup found behind your thermostat ’ sulfur faceplate. To check if you have a C-Wire, take your thermostat off your wall to uncover the wire. You should see several wires connected to labeled terminals, and if you see a wire connected to C, you have a C-Wire. In most cases, the C-Wire will be blasphemous, as it was in the case of my thermostat.

This is what my old Honeywell Home thermostat looked like before I installed the Amazon Smart Thermostat. The C terminal ’ mho tag is concealed by the blue wire ( which is my C-Wire, ) but it ’ second there. Smart thermostat wiring ( prototype credit : future ) It ’ randomness besides possible you have a C-Wire, but it isn ’ thymine hooked up to your current thermostat. You might notice an extra telegram pushed back to your wall. Before you touch any wires, turn off power to your system from your breaker box.  If you hush don ’ t see a C-Wire at your thermostat, check out your HVAC ’ s see board. There should be a C terminal among other corresponding terminals you saw at your thermostat. If there ’ s a wire attached to the C terminal, compare the color of the electrify to the ones attached to your stream thermostat. It ’ s possible one of the wires is in the wrong spot. If you don ’ metric ton see a C-Wire attached to your HVAC ’ s control control panel, that means you don ’ t have a C-Wire. Does that mean you can ’ t install a smart thermostat ?

What to do if you don’t have a C-Wire for your smart thermostat

As I mentioned, there ’ s such a thing as a C-Wire arranger. The Amazon Smart Thermostat evening offers a pack with the Honeywell Home C-Wire Power Adapter ( opens in new check ), which I called in to see whether it ’ s a practical solution for those who need it to get their newly $ 59 thermostat working. The Ecobee SmartThermostat besides offers an “ add a telegram ” kit. ( image citation : future )

An adapter kit is the best solution for adding a C-Wire to your HVAC organization and thermostat. The arranger gets installed at your HVAC arrangement ’ s control board. If you can follow a wiring chart and are patient adequate to embrace the DIY perfume of raising your home ’ second IQ, it ’ s not a difficult accession. That said, if you have any doubt about what you ‘re doing, and don ’ triiodothyronine want to risk damaging what ’ second likely an expensive HVAC system, call an electrician or HVAC professional. I ’ ve consulted one multiple times throughout these DIY smart home projects, like for the benefits of using smart switches over chic lights, for model. precisely because you want to do it yourself, doesn ’ triiodothyronine beggarly you need to figure it out by yourself — particularly not at the hazard of personal guard or equipment wrong .
Tom ’ s Guide created this capacity as part of a paid partnership with eero. The contents of this article are entirely mugwump and entirely reflect the editorial opinion of Tom ’ s Guide .

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