Should you by the Wyze Thermostat?

Wyze Thermostat: Is It Worth Buying?

After installing a Wyze Outdoor Camera, I decided the Wyze Thermostat should be next. I’ve been eyeing various smart thermostats but with Wyze costing only $50, I couldn’t pass up the inexpensive upgrade.

Before Buying Any Smart Thermostat

Smart homes, smart bulbs, smart everything that automate everything are all the rage. And it should be. These things save time and save literal energy. Before purchasing a smart thermostat, ask yourself if you need it and what your goals are. Our goal has been to lessen our impact on the environment. We installed a photovoltaic system but we’re still looking for ways to reduce our energy use.

A smart thermostat allows fine control over scheduling with the goal of using the HVAC system as little as possible. That means less money and less energy used for heating and cooling empty spaces. Nest claims a 10 to 12 percent savings on heating and 15 percent on cooling. Ecobee claims up to 23 percent savings. These claims are likely generous since they compare a fine tuned smart thermostat to a set, single temperature thermostat. Even a more basic programmable thermostat will yield savings.

With all that in mind, I still recommend upgrading to a smart thermostat if you want either finer tuned control, automated adjustments, or to potentially save additional money and energy.

Preparation

Before even purchasing a smart thermostat, verify that the existing unit is not high voltage. High voltage thermostats are primarily for electric baseboard heaters. Forced air, geothermal, heat pump, and boiler units should all be low voltage. Examining the current thermostat can offer clues as well.

The existing thermostat should be simple to remove. Once removed, exam the current wiring. In the wiring below, there is a C Wire attached that provides power to the thermostat. In my case, I have a forced air natural gas furnace and central air conditioning so I expected to find the C Wire.

The old thermostat wiring

Take a picture of the existing wiring. The Wyze app prompts the user to take a picture before removing the old hardware. That’s a thoughtful addition to the setup process. Wyze also asks that users upload the picture for research and improvements. I opted to do so.

Installation

Wyze makes installation simple. The Wyze app lays out how to install the thermostat step by step and, if necessary, the included C (Common) Wire adapter.

I won’t give a complete step by step breakdown on how to install the Wyze Thermostat as the app does just that. These are a few takeaways I had installing my own.

Turn off your furnace. Find the breaker box or fuse panel and cut off power. Wyze tells you the same thing but getting shocked or frying components is a bummer.

The installation is straightforward though. Wyze provides labels that should be applied to the wires before removing the old thermostat. The labels will likely match by color. The G will go on green, the W1 on white, and so forth. The additional designations such as W1 versus W2 or Rc vs Rh are helpful for more complicated installations.

After labeling the wires, remove the old thermostat completely. The Wyze Thermostat includes an optional wall cover to hide screw holes or old mismatched paint. A bubble level is built-in to speed up installation. Wyze could have easily skipped the level, saved a few cents on each thermostat, and no one would have known better. Its a small thoughtful decision that should be applauded.

I found that installing the wires was a quick process. There’s no screws holding wires in like the old thermostat has. For someone with bigger hands, pressing down the tabs was a clumsy affair. Again, the tabs are a thoughtful decision meant to make the Wyze Thermostat simple to install. Simply push down on a tab, insert the wire in the opposite side, and if the wire is inserted properly, the tab will stay down.

Leave as much excess wire in the wall as possible. There is little in the way of extra space behind the thermostat. I had difficulty attaching the Thermostat because of the wires. I had to push the excess in the wall before trying again.

Using the Thermostat

The Wyze Thermostat features a dial that double as a push button.

Turn the dial to adjust the temperature. Press on the button to access settings. The same settings are available in the app and easier to use there too. I touch on the settings more below under Using the App.

The Wyze Thermostat is noticeably thick and protrudes from the wall more than the Honeywell that it replaced. The glossy finish easily shows dust and fingerprints.

A proximity sensor at the top detects if anyone is home. If the thermostat is set to Away, triggering it will set the thermostat to Home mode.

Using the App

Installing a smart thermostat is only part of the equation. Without a means of scheduling, monitoring, and remotely accessing the unit, it may as well be an old dumb thermostat. Wyze supports Thermostat in the same app that controls the company’s cameras, doorbell, scale, vacuum, and other products.

The Wyze Thermostat connects to WiFi for remote access. The Wyze app allows users to see the current temperature and immediately change the temperature. A swipe up on Controls brings options to change the current state from Home to Away to Sleep. The system can also be told to heat, cool, or automatically handle it. A Hold button will keep whatever the user sets it to.

Click on the gear in the top right corner to open Settings. In the Settings menu, Temperature Preferences can be set for Home, Away, and Sleep modes. For example, I opted to set the Away mode to start in the morning before everyone leaves. Additional schedules can be added with Add block for more control over the day.

Settings includes options on how long the fan will run or cycle every hour, anywhere from 5 minutes to 55 minutes. An energy saving Coast to Cool option is present. For more energy savings, Wyze gives users the option of choosing between maximum savings, maximum comfort, or somewhere in between.

Tell the app what size filter the furnace uses (my exact size was not an option so I chose the closest option) and the app will determine when its due to be changed based on size and use.

Geolocation or geofencing is present but it simply hasn’t worked for me.

Degrii and Future Features

On the box, Built With Degrii is mentioned. What the heck is Degrii, you might ask.

Degrii is some kind of IoT AI company that’s handling the fancy software for Wyze. “Coming early 2021” graces the Wyze site. Wyze is promising additional software features for better scheduling, “feel like” temperatures based on humidity, and better radiator heating control.

Remote Sensors

Wyze promises to deliver remote sensors sometime in early 2021. That’s a vague promise and its not terribly encouraging. When the sensors do arrive, they are at least combination three in one units for humidity, temperature, and motion.

Integration

Wyze Thermostat works with Alexa and Google Assistant. I don’t use Alexa so I can’t personally evaluate it.

I was able to successfully add Wyze Thermostat to Google Home. Controls under Google Home are more rudimentary than Wyze’s app but it can still change the temperature, of course. Clicking on the flame brings up a menu to change from heating to cooling to off.

Is the Wyze Thermostat Worth Buying?

Yes, the Wyze Thermostat offers a great value for $50. While it lacks the diagnostic features of Nest, the Wyze Thermostat offers virtually all the features of other smart thermostats for less. Unless you’ve already bought in to another smart home ecosystem, Wyze is a great budget place to start.

If options like remote sensors are important, don’t buy the Wyze Thermostat — yet. Wyze is promising a combination temperature, humidity, and and motion sensor sometime early in 2021. Ecobee and Nest already sell remote sensors. As a general rule, never buy a product based on future promises, buy it based on what it can do today.

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