The answer is yes, smart thermostats can work with electric baseboard heat, but only if it’s a line or high-voltage thermostat.
Certain smart thermostat brands are not compatible with electric baseboard heaters. Low voltage smart thermostats will not work with electric baseboard heat, which runs on line or high voltage.
Installing a smart thermostat that’s compatible with baseboard heaters is an easy process. However, you will need additional hardware if you’re installing a thermostat that is not compatible with baseboard heating.
Things to Consider Before Getting a Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat automates home heating while saving on heating costs and reducing energy consumption. Even if you’re not at home, they allow you to manage the temperature in your home – individually, room by room.
When it comes to the market for smart thermostats, the options are constantly growing on a daily basis. Before getting a smart thermostat, however, there are some things that should be considered.
For instance, you’ll need a line voltage thermostat if you have an electric resistance heater. This includes wall convector heat, in-floor heating, electric baseboard heating, and fan-forced wall convection heat.
Another thing that’s important to keep in mind is that not all smart thermostats are advised for use or compatible with heating that is in-floor. The line voltage that smart thermostats are compatible with for in-floor heating should be indicated by the packaging and the manufacturer.
On the other hand, a baseboard heater is a heater that sits a few inches above the floor or directly on the floor, which is either hydronic-powered or convection-powered.
How Does Electric Baseboard Heat Work?
Electric currents are transmitted through electric baseboard heaters through wires that are encased in piping. The cool air is pulled in by the heater, electricity warms it up, the hot air is pushed out and up, and the room is heated for a duration of time.
Electric baseboard heaters can be connected by a smart thermostat to central control. But, how does a smart thermostat work? The main control of your thermostat is done through an app that you can download on your smart device.
Like we mentioned, even when you’re away from home, you can adjust the temperature that your electric baseboard heater emits as you desire, thanks to the app that you’ve installed. There are even more high-tech Wifi thermostats that learn your preferred heating schedule.
Can a Nest Thermostat Control Baseboard Heaters?
Ecobee and Nest are some of the most popular choices when it comes to a smart thermostat, but are they able to control baseboard heaters?
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Usually, manufacturers of smart thermostats advise against installing a Ecobee or Nest smart thermostat with baseboard heaters. You might be wondering what the reason for this is. Well, it’s simple. These things are not inherently compatible.
Why Aren’t They Compatible?
While baseboard heating uses a line or high voltage (120V or 240V), Ecobee and Google Nest thermostats were made to control low voltage heating systems (24V), which makes the whole thing dangerous and overly complex.
Instead of doing the extra work, which is quite risky for you to be handling on your own, you should instead consider a digital thermostat that is already compatible with baseboard heating, like this one from Mysa.
The manufacturers of Ecobee, Google Nest, and many other smart thermostats warn against using thermostats with electric baseboard heaters. Even though you might see people like smart home YouTubers and bloggers who’ve managed to successfully set up a Google Nest thermostat to control the baseboard heater, it’s not a smart move to undertake on your own.
Also, if you install a relay between your mainline and individual thermostat, all of the advanced technology will be bypassed, and you’ll basically revert it to a simple setup with ON and OFF.
You won’t get the control that you want just by adding a piece of hardware, and, to be more precise, you might even get the opposite.
Is Getting a Smart Thermostat a Good Idea?
Generally, a Wi-Fi smart thermostat is a great investment. However, the following things should be taken into consideration: how long you plan to live or stay in your current home, how busy your schedule is, and how long you can wait for your initial investment to pay off.
If you have a busy schedule, you will get the appeal of being able to manage the temperature setting of your living quarters when you’re not at home by using a simple app and your smartphone and smart features.
Even though getting a smart thermostat won’t save you cash in a direct way, it will still help you save money and lower your heating cost in the long run due to the ability it provides to control your cooling and heating system more efficiently.
In addition, you can save energy by adjusting your routine according to the reports about your usage of cooling and heating that will lower your energy costs.
However, we recommend that you get a smart thermostat only if you are planning to stay in your current house or apartment for a longer period of time, or if you actually own the place where you are living. The thermostat will eventually pay for itself thanks to the savings it’ll offer.
Electric heaters work with certain smart thermostats, but not with others. A line or high-voltage smart thermostat is necessary to be compatible with baseboard heating right off the bat.
When it comes to setting up a Nest Wi-Fi thermostat to control baseboard heaters, take a moment to think about how it will probably require a professional to set up the extra wiring, which is quite complicated and dangerous, as well as the fact that the heating and learning algorithms weren’t created with electric baseboard heating in mind. We hope that this article helped you and that you can now make a well-informed decision when buying a smart thermostat that you can use with electric baseboard heat.