How to install your smart thermostat


installing thermostat

Smart thermostats are a great tool for saving energy and money. They can automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule, and you can use your phone to control them from anywhere.

An added bonus: Smart thermostats are easy to install. In fact, you can do it yourself in less than an hour.

Here are step-by-step installation guides for two popular smart thermostats: the ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control and the Google Nest Learning Thermostat.

ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control

1. Make sure you have a Wi-Fi network connected to the internet.

2. Gather all the tools you’ll need:

  • A power drill with a 3/16-inch drill bit
  • Small flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Wire stripper

3. Ensure your heating and/or cooling system is working properly before you start.

  • Go to your home’s breaker box and turn off the switch that controls the power to your heating and cooling system.
  • If necessary, you can also turn off the main power switch at the breaker box.

4. Make sure you’ve turned off the right breaker by changing the temperature with your current thermostat. Wait a few minutes to make sure your system doesn’t turn on.

5. Remove the front cover from your existing thermostat and check the type of system you have.

6. Check if your old thermostat’s backplate has L1 and L2 wires (i.e., wires for incoming line power); has a “Warning: High Voltage” image; or is labeled 110, 120 or 240 volts.

  • If any of these conditions exist, you have a high-voltage system, which is not compatible with the ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control.
  • Do not connect an ecobee SmartThermostat with voice control to this high-voltage system.
  • You can also conduct a compatibility check on ecobee’s website.

7. Take a picture of the wires connected to the terminals of your existing thermostat for future reference.

8. Check to see if you have a C wire (also called a common wire), which enables the continuous flow of 24VAC power that ecobee thermostats need to operate.

  • If you don’t, you will need the Power Extender Kit included in the ecobee SmartThermostat box.

9. Carefully disconnect and label the wires from your old thermostat one at a time, using the labels provided.

10. Unscrew the mounting plate of your old thermostat to remove it from the wall.

11. If you decide to use the trim plate with your SmartThermostat (it’s useful if you want to hide marks or holes left on the wall by your old thermostat), align the mounting holes on the trim plate and new backplate and then press them into place together.

12. Pull the wires through the hole in the middle of the backplate and attach the backplate to the wall using the provided drywall anchors and screws.

13. Insert your R wire or wires (i.e., your heating and cooling system power wire or wires) into the Rc terminal.

14. Insert your remaining wires into the side (not the front) of their corresponding terminal blocks.

15. Tug on the wires gently to ensure they are securely connected.

16. Carefully push any excess wires back into the hole and ensure there are no drafts coming from the hole(s) in the wall.

17. Gently press your SmartThermostat into the backplate until it clicks into place.

18. Turn the power to your heating and/or cooling system back on using the master switch or at the circuit breaker box.

19. Follow the instructions on your SmartThermostat screen to complete the setup and registration process.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat

1. Make sure you have a Wi-Fi network connected to the internet, as well as the Google Home app installed on your phone.

2. Gather all the tools you’ll need:

  • No. 2 Phillips screwdriver
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Power drill (optional)
  • Pliers and wire strippers (optional)
  • Flashlight (optional)
  • Nest Thermostat Trim Kit (optional)

3. Open the Google Home app and tap the “Add” button.

4. Tap “Set up device,” tap “Set up new devices in your home” and select your home.

5. When you see “What are you setting up?” tap “Thermostat.”

6. Scan the QR code on the back of your Nest.

7. Ensure your heating and/or cooling system is working properly before you start.

  • Go to your home’s breaker box and turn off the switch that controls the power to your heating and cooling system.
  • If necessary, you can also turn off the main power switch at the breaker box.

8. Make sure you’ve turned off the right breaker by changing the temperature with your current thermostat. Wait a few minutes to make sure your system doesn’t turn on.

9. Follow the steps in the app to remove the front of your thermostat and check the type of system you have.

10. Use your phone to take a picture of the wires for future reference.

11. Check if your thermostat is connected to thick wires with wire nuts or is labeled 110, 120 or 240 volts.

  • If either of these conditions exist, you have a high-voltage system, which is not compatible with Nest Thermostats.
  • Do not connect a Nest Thermostat to these high-voltage wires.

12. If your system is compatible, tap “Not high voltage.”

13. If you purchased a Trim Kit to cover any imperfections on the wall resulting from removing your old thermostat, install it now—before you install your thermostat. Simply tap “I have a Trim Kit” and follow the app instructions.

14. Before installing the base plate, double-check to make sure the power is off.

15. Attach the base plate and connect the wires, making sure the connector button stays down after inserting each wire.

16. Remove the battery tab from the back of the display.

17. Position the display with the Google logo right-side up and push it onto the base until you hear a click.

18. Now go to the circuit breaker and turn the power back on.

19. Select your language and follow the remaining app steps to finish configuring your Nest.

To learn more about the features of different smart thermostat brands, visit our website.

Disclaimer: Energy Trust of Oregon is providing this information to make smart thermostat self-installations easier. However, the success of the installation is contingent on the customer, not Energy Trust. You should contact the thermostat manufacturer or a qualified contractor if you have any questions or issues during the installation.

Google Nest Learning Thermostat, the Google Play Music icon and Google Nest are trademarks of Google LLC.