Interested in controlling your fireplace’s temperature while you’re on the go? While smart thermostats aren’t nearly as popular for fireplaces as they are for electric heaters and air conditioners, there are a select few that do your fireplace justice.
If you’re having a hard time finding the right thermostat, fear not. We’ve compiled the best units for your fireplace so you can spend your valuable time on more important matters – like relaxing on the couch and watching a good movie while your fireplace roars in the background.
NEST THERMOSTAT E
NEST THERMOSTAT E
Best Smart Thermostat for Fireplaces
If you’re looking to save some money in your quest for the right smart thermostat (and who isn’t?), Nest’s Thermostat E is right up your alley. This versatile entry has been covered before and for good reason.
It works well with a wide variety of heating and cooling units, and that includes many fireplaces.
So, what makes the Thermostat E such a home run? Aside from being affordable, it is incredibly easy to use and sharp as a tack.
Its built-in learning algorithm is a boon for anyone seeking greater convenience in their daily lives.
Thanks to this feature, the Nest carefully monitors and learns your heating habits. Over time, it will mimic your behavior and adjust your fireplace to accommodate your preferences.
It’s a handy feature to have, to be sure, and will ultimately save you money on your heating expenses in the long run.
While it’s true that the Thermostat E isn’t quite as robust in its construction compared to other smart thermostats, it’s hard to knock its affordability. This was clearly done in a move to make the Thermostat E more accessible to a wider audience.
The display screen isn’t the best in the world, either. But it does a commendable job of providing you with crucial data and information. It’s limited, sure. But what is does show you is really all you need anyway.
We really appreciate the smart sensor that you place around your home. This helps compensate for cooler areas by telling your fireplace that more heat needs to be distributed throughout your house.
Although, quite frankly, you’re probably going to wind up using more gas/electric than you need to, running your energy bill through the roof.
If your fireplace is your secondary source of heat, you should be in good shape. But if it’s your only heating source, be prepared to get creative in how you warm your home.
Lots of people in similar situations will block off certain areas so that their fireplace heats only specific areas. But we digress.
And then there’s the voice control. No smart thermostat would be complete without it. The Thermostat E is compatible with Google Assistant, of course.
But you can also use it with the likes of Amazon’s Alexa. Since millions of people use Alexa, this addition was a no-brainer from Google and nice to see included. However, that’s all the voice support you get.
Loyal users of HomeKit or SmartThings will either have to make the switch or go without voice commands. This isn’t really that big of a deal, although some would certainly argue the point.
You can always use the dedicated smartphone app to make any changes, so it’s not like you’re forced to send Morse code.
Bottom line: if you want an affordable smart thermostat to control your fireplace, the Nest Thermostat E is likely your best bet. Fireplace control is limited for the time being. Until more support becomes available, you’re going to have to rely on what is currently offered.
- Offers the best fireplace support
- Simple yet effective display
- Subtle, attractive design
- Budget-friendly price
- No SmartThings or HomeKit support
Ecobee has been at the center of smart thermostats for quite some time. And with that comes a lot of experience and reliability.
What separates this unit from a lot of its competition is the inclusion of a smart sensor. Nest’s Thermostat E makes use of this handy little addition, too.
It’s a nice feature to have and helps make up for colder areas in your home. That said, we advise that you let your primary heating source handle the warmth in the rest of your house while your fireplace takes care of the room it is in.
Ecobee’s dedicated smart app is a cakewalk, making this one of the most user-friendly smart thermostats we have yet to use. The fact that it integrates with your fireplace is the icing on the cake.
We like how easy it is to control the desired temperature from your smartphone.
You can also view important information as it relates to temperature goals, energy use, and things of that nature. The main display on the thermostat itself is very similar to the Nest Thermostat E.
Here, you can see the current ambient temperature and the temperature outside.
It’s not the most intuitive display but it gets the job done. Besides, you’re going to be doing the majority of management from your smartphone or tablet.
After all, that’s the main goal of investing in a smart thermostat: to enjoy remote operation of your heating and cooling unit. Although, we will say that the touchscreen works surprisingly well considering how limited it is.
Voice support is pretty robust, with a notable exception. The Ecobee 3 works just fine with Samsung’s SmartThings, Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Echo, and even Wirepath’s Control4 smart home system.
Sadly, and oddly, there is no support for Google Home.
It’s important to mention the installation process, as most people can tell you that installing a smart thermostat can be a grueling task. We’re happy to report that the Ecobee 3 is a breeze compared to much of the competition.
If you have a dedicated C-wire, you’re in good shape. Without one, however, that’s a whole other story. You’re going to be in for quite a daunting job. As such, you should leave the installation to a professional.
We would have liked it if Ecobee included geofencing out of the box. But alas, you need to have an IFTTT channel to make use of this feature. Even without it, the Ecobee 3 holds its own and impresses as a smart thermostat.
It’s a bit pricey, sure. But if you’re trying to avoid a lot of technical hassle and just want to get your fireplace up to speed with modern technology, the Ecobee 3 is a solid buy.
- Easy installation with C-wire
- Excellent smartphone app
- Good voice support
- Sleek and stylish
- No Google Home support
Using a smart thermostat with a fireplace has its limitations. Only certain models/types work, so it’s important to understand the caveats and what you need to consider before investing in a smart thermostat.
Getting the Thermostat to Work
As long as you’re running a gas or millivolt fireplace, you should be in good shape. However, you’re still limited to very few compatible smart thermostats.
Unlike most HVAC systems, which are running off of a 24V supply, a gas or millivolt fireplace doesn’t use this type of power supply. As such, you will need to run to your local big-box retailer and pick up a 24V AC adapter.
Fortunately, these are incredibly cheap (read: affordable) and can usually be had for less than $10. Once you have that, it’s time to hunt down a fan relay.
This is needed to switch on the millivolt system located in your gas fireplace after the smart thermostat activates the 24V AC adapter.
Connecting the Wiring
We will be looking at the Nest for this walkthrough. When you’re ready, make sure everything is disconnected from electrical sources and carefully disconnect the wiring from your fireplace’s thermostat.
Next, find your Nest thermostat’s backplate and locate the RH terminal.
Next, splice one of the AC adapter’s leads to the RH terminal. Follow this with splicing the remaining AC adapter lead to the existing thermostat wire.
This wire should be colored red. The white thermostat wire needs to be tied into the W1 terminal of the Nest backplate.
Again, there are digital thermostats that are not programmable but come with a horde of features and buttons to confuse buyers. Check that your unit can be programmed.
Connecting the Relay
Your new fan relay needs to be installed near your fireplace. Female spade terminals come in handy here, as you may need them to help tie your thermostat wires into the relay.
Using the existing wires from your thermostat, connect them to terminal 1 and terminal 3 on the fan relay. The leads from your fireplace’s thermostat connect to terminal 2 and terminal 4 on the fan relay.
Finally, plug the AC adapter into the nearest outlet and connect the Nest smart thermostat to the backplate. And that’s it. You should be good to go, having full smart control of your fireplace.
Just be sure that you fully charge your Nest ahead of time so you don’t have to wait to use it.
What are the R and W terminals on my fireplace’s thermostat?
On many thermostats, R is for power, whereas W is for heating. Both are compatible with the Nest Thermostat E and Ecobee 3.
What types of fireplaces are the Nest Thermostat E compatible with?
The Thermostat E works with fireplaces that use oil, electric, and natural gas. As long as your fireplace has its own thermostat, you should be able to connect your Nest to it.
You can always use Google’s Compatibility Checker to ensure that Nest will work with your current heating system.
With a little research and dedication, you can enjoy using your fireplace with a smart thermostat. Just be sure to follow the proper installation instructions and you should have a straightforward user experience.