In the world of smart home technology, smart thermostats are the perfect combination of easy to install and instantly beneficial. If you’re ready to swap your old thermostats for smart devices, be aware that not all smart thermostats are compatible with all heating systems.
For instance, Nest and Ecobee both make very popular smart thermostats, but are they a fit with your electric baseboard heating?
The reality is: Virtually all smart thermostat manufacturers advise against installing Nest and Ecobee thermostats with electric baseboard heating.
Why? Simply put, they are not compatible. It’s also overly complex and dangerous. Nest and Ecobee thermostats were made to control low voltage (24V) heating systems and electric baseboard heating is high (or line) voltage (120V or 240V).
Installing a compatible smart thermostat is quick and easy. But, installing a smart thermostat that is not designed for compatibility with baseboard heating requires added hardware (a relay in this case). Instead of doing the extra (and quite dangerous) work, consider an option that’s already designed for baseboard heating.
Nest, Ecobee, and a number of other manufacturers of low voltage smart thermostats warn against using their products with electric heaters. Technically, you can – you may have seen smart home bloggers and YouTubers who managed to “achieve” this complicated setup. But the truth is that the physical setup required negates virtually all the smart technology that helps you save energy and money. More on that in just a minute.
But for now, just think about it. The hardware isn’t built for electric baseboard heating. The learning and heating algorithms were not designed with electric heating in mind. And it requires extra wiring that has to be set-up by a professional. Wiring that is at best, complicated, and at worst, dangerous. 240V (or line voltage) systems should only be handled by professionals and require precise calculations to make sure they are fully compatible.
If you’re looking to get rid of your old thermostats and replace them with smart devices, there are options made specifically for electric heat. Upgrading from a traditional or programmable thermostat to a smart thermostat is a great idea. But it’s important to first understand what type of heating system you have, so you can choose a compatible device.
Please Let Me Relay This To You.
Remember, electric heaters are exactly that – electric.
High voltage appliances, like baseboard heaters, are coursing with a potentially dangerous current. They require a lot more electricity to pass through the thermostat than one designed for a low voltage system, such as a furnace.
To install a thermostat made for a low voltage (24V) system with a line voltage (240V) system, you’d have to install an electrical relay alongside the thermostat. This does a couple of things – it acts as a buffer between the thermostat and electrical current, and acts as a heatsink.
This also has some negative side-effects.
Do you know all that money-saving and comfort-making technology built into smart thermostats? Advanced control, heating algorithms, etc? Throw those out the window. By installing a relay between your thermostat and mainline, you’re taking all that advanced technology and reverting it to a simple ON/OFF setup. This is COMPLETELY counter-intuitive.
Simply adding an extra piece of hardware won’t give you the control you crave. In fact, it might do the complete opposite.
Smart home technology is only smart when you use it the right way. Compromising that (especially when dealing with high voltage electricity) can have a ton of negative consequences. Ultimately, you lose the ability to increase the efficiency of your baseboard heaters and save.
It Comes at the Cost of Savings.
On a more practical level, using less energy translates to lower energy bills and more money in your pocket every month.
One of the biggest barriers to outfitting a home with smart thermostats is the upfront cost. But here’s the thing: If you do the math, virtually any smart thermostat will pay for itself in only a couple of years, which is a small fraction of the typical lifespan of a thermostat.
The average price of a low voltage thermostat is quite reasonable. You pay anywhere from $250-$500 (depending on your setup and need for extra sensors) and you get full control of your heat through advanced algorithms and technology. These are designed to use less energy and help you save money.
But there’s a problem: Using a relay-based workaround to install low voltage thermostats on line voltage heaters will cost you more. This is because you have to have a thermostat and relay system for each heater in your home. So that amounts to at least $250 + $30 per heater, and you lose any smart benefits.
Installing a low voltage smart thermostat like Nest or Ecobee with electric heating completely negates one of the major benefits of smart thermostats. It essentially transforms sophisticated technology into a primitive version of itself. It’s like expecting the power and features of a sports car, but getting a horse and carriage instead. You simply aren’t going to get the performance you want.
Thankfully, there’s a much better way to control your baseboard heaters with your smart home setup. And it saves you money too.
Mysa smart thermostats do what Nest and Ecobee smart thermostats do – but specifically for electric heaters.
There’s been a major lack of real smart home solutions available for line voltage heating and Mysa changes that.
Not only do Mysa smart thermostats share virtually all the same smart features as Nest and Ecobee, they actually have a wider range of compatibility with smart home systems. Our thermostats are a full-fledged, money-saving option. Heating can eat up to 60% of your power bill, so it’s a great place to save.
On average, people experience 26% savings on their electricity bills using Mysa. Ultimately, a Mysa smart thermostat setup will pay for itself in just a couple of years.
So You Have a Couple of Options:
Install an expensive piece of smart home hardware to do something it was never designed to do. Or, buy smart home hardware specifically built to handle and regulate line voltage loads.
It can be dangerous and costly to install a smart thermostat that isn’t compatible with your home’s heating system. While Nest and Ecobee are two great options for low voltage heating, Mysa was specifically designed to control line voltage heating. We’re making a huge difference in the lives of people who use electric heat.
Are you one of them? Check to see if you’re compatible!