Installing a smart thermostat in their home may seem a little cautious to a lot of people, considering how often modern technology goes bad. But don’t worry, manufacturers have thought of it: here’s what happens if your smart thermostat ever stops working.
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Thermostats are one of the most important devices in your home as they regulate the room temperature so that it doesn’t get too cold or too hot. This is not only for your comfort, but also to keep your water pipes from freezing in the winter and causing an even bigger problem.
Many fear that smart thermostats are a disaster waiting to happen, whether it’s an internet outage or the thermostat itself failing. However, there is nothing to worry about. Here are some things to keep in mind if something happens.
If your internet goes down
Some homeowners believe that if your internet goes down, you won’t be able to control the temperature with your smart thermostat. In reality, when smart thermostats lose their internet connection, they just act like a regular thermostat — the only functionality they lose is the ability to control them from your smartphone.
This means that if you’re on vacation and your home internet isn’t working, the thermostat won’t fail. You simply cannot check the temperature of your home from afar. Whatever you set the thermostat to, when the internet goes down, it will stay at the same level unless you have a schedule set up, in which case the thermostat will continue to work even if it’s not connected to the internet.
If the power goes out
When the power goes out in your house, a smart thermostat is just as good as a dumb thermostat — and won’t work if the power goes out.
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If your HVAC system doesn’t have some sort of backup power source it can use, your thermostat will be useless during a power outage, whether it’s smart or not. That’s why it’s always important to have a propane-powered heater available in the winter when the power goes out. Or, if you have a fireplace, make sure it’s ready to go and you have a supply of firewood.
Your thermostat may have a battery backup, but that’s just to save memory. So if you program it on a schedule, the battery will prevent the memory from being erased. Your HVAC system still needs its own backup power source to keep the entire system running during a power outage. Dumb thermostats don’t make it any better.
If your smart thermostat is not working
Any thermostat, smart or dumb, can fail at any time. Even mechanical thermostats based entirely on analog technology can malfunction (although this is less likely). If a smart thermostat ever turns off, it can at least send you a notification to warn you (although this is not 100% reliable).
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There have been many horror stories of smart thermostats completely breaking down and homes getting too cold, causing water pipes to explode and causing thousands of dollars in damage.
There’s not much you can do to keep the thermostat from failing, but connecting a second thermostat as a failover thermostat can be a great backup. Basically, you have to connect a cheap mechanical thermostat between your main thermostat and the HVAC board. From there, set a low but safe temperature, such as 50F. Then, if your smart thermostat ever trips, the backup thermostat will trip as soon as the room temperature reaches 50F.
Some newer HVAC systems come with built-in fail-safe devices, but these aren’t incredibly common, so if you have the knowledge and know-how, hooking up to a backup thermostat is never a bad idea — it’s good to have one, even if you don’t. t smart thermostat.