Do Smart Thermostats Work with Boilers?

Do Smart Thermostats Work with Boilers

Smart thermostats are a great way to control your home’s temperature, but what if you have a boiler? Boilers are typically thought of as an old-school way to heat your building, and smart thermostats are the newest in home thermal management.

Do smart thermostats work with boilers? Yes, some smart thermostats will work with boilers, but not all boilers and smart thermostats are compatible with each other. In general, smart thermostats don’t always work with preexisting heat sources.

How do you know if your boiler will work with a smart thermostat? There are some different options to consider when you’re looking into your home’s heating system. We’ll explore those related to smart thermostats and boilers.

But before that, check out my article that answers whether smart thermostats require WiFi.

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

How Do Smart Thermostats Work with Boilers?

If you already have a boiler installed in your home, you most likely already have a thermostat in place. As long as you do, you should be able to install a smart thermostat to work with your boiler. You’ll simply need to wire your smart thermostat into the existing thermostat.

How can this be so simple?

What you may not know is that neither your boiler not your existing thermostat need to be wi-fi enabled in order for you to install and use a smart thermostat. Once you wire your new thermostat into your old one, your smart one will then control the thermostat.

Of course, it isn’t always so simple as some systems will require extra adaptors to make the system work, but that is why unless you’re an electrician or have some training in electrical work, you should hire a professional to install smart thermostats. They can be tricky to set up properly and dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Unfortunately, there are cases where you won’t be able to use a smart thermostat with your current boiler. Some systems are too out of date for you to be able to find parts for or to be adapted to smart thermostats.

How to Know if You Can Connect a Smart Thermostat to Your Boiler

It isn’t often that you’ll find a heating source you can’t use with a smart thermostat, but it does happen. For instance, you may not be able to directly wire your new thermostat into your boiler because it’s too old for the hardware to be able to connect.

  • Your handyman may suggest you replace your boiler before adding the smart thermostat because of how bad of shape your boiler is in.
  • Another reason your electrician may suggest against adding a smart thermostat to your home is if your boiler is old enough to make it difficult to find replacement parts.
  • Finally, old boilers were made with different connection points than smart technology. This can cause you to not be able to add a smart thermostat because of incompatible hardware.
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However, you rarely need to worry too much about the boiler when it comes to installing another thermostat. If your thermostat is as old as your boiler, you’re more likely to encounter problems with the existing thermostat than with the boiler.

How to Know If You Can Connect a Smart Thermostat into Your Existing Thermostat

The thermostat you adjust the temperature with is just the tip of the iceberg. This is merely the control box for the entire thermostat system, which as you know, works to keep your home at a consistent temperature.

To connect a smart thermostat to your existing one, you’ll need to be able to wire the new one directly into the old one. An electrician should do this, but before you spend that money on a new thermostat, check with an electrician to make sure they’re compatible. Why wouldn’t they be?

Much like with your boiler, if your current thermostat system is too old, your electrician will most likely suggest a new one be installed. If you install a smart thermostat into a system only to have that preexisting system age out and break down, you’ll only spend more money.

Sometimes, thermostats will simply be too old to find parts for, just like with boilers. In these cases, your electrician will probably suggest you put in a new system. Remember that putting in a new system before your old one breaks will save you money, compared to adding a new one to the aging one.

How Do You Connect a Smart Thermostat to Your Boiler?

connect boiler thermostat

Most likely, your smart thermostat won’t be able to be directly connected to your boiler. Even if you can, keep in mind that you’ll have to remove the first thermostat system and put in another. This quickly gets expensive, versus simply wiring the new one into the existing one.

Here, we’ve broken down the process into steps for having a smart thermostat installed in your home. You can reference this when you’re ready to start the process.

1.      Check with Your Electrician

Before you do anything else, check with the professional.

If you don’t already have an electrician you use for your regular electrical needs, there are a variety of ways you can find one. Not only do you have the option of all the local electrical companies, but you can also look into freelancers.

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Freelancers can be found through websites like Angie’s List. Before you hire just anyone, you need to check their credentials. Look through their reviews, as well as ensure they’re insured and bonded contractors.

2.      Purchase Your Smart Thermostat

There’s a lot of smart thermostats on the market. For a great buying guide when you’re ready, look into this article on CNET. Much of the information in this post was found there, as it contains a plethora of facts on smart thermostats, and the buying guide is the best I managed to find.

When your electrician comes out to look into your current system, ask him about possible smart thermostats that may work with your existing system. He also may have suggestions based off his previous experiences and what he’s most comfortable working with.

Your electrician, if he has past experience with smart thermostats, is a great resource for what smart thermostat you may want to purchase. He’ll have firsthand knowledge of which systems last and which do not, as well as any issues you may experience with it down the road.

3.      Have Your Smart Thermostat Installed Properly to Work with Your Boiler

We’ve mentioned hiring an electrician throughout this entire post, but what are all the reasons you should hire one?

  • Past experiences. We just mentioned what a valuable resource your electrician can be.
  • Insured against any damages. Your homeowner’s insurance won’t be affected by any repairs that must be done because of a bad install. It will be covered by the electrician’s.
  • Trained to safely install thermostats. While you certainly could figure it out on your own, do you want to try to figure out which wires connect and risk mixing it up? There’s no guessing involved with a professional, which means less risk of fires or shocks.
  • Has already proven his ability. In order to be a licensed electrician, which is the only one you should work with, he must have already passed the state’s rules and regulations.

What should you look for in an electrician?

  • Bonded and insured. These mean that your electrician’s insurance will cover any damages or theft from the electrician or his crew.
  • Licensed and certified. Each state has requirements for electricians before they can become licensed in that state. These regulations are to keep you safe from fake or dangerous electricians. Never hire an unlicensed or uncertified electrician.
  • Past experience with smart thermostats and/or boilers. This one is self-evident, but you may not always be able to find someone with this specialty. Then you’ll simply want to look for any past experience with heating systems.

Final Thoughts

A smart thermostat can be a great tool for managing your home’s temperature. Even with an old-fashioned boiler, you can add a touch of modern ease. The most important things to remember are to get a good electrician to install it and to choose the correct thermostat for your home.