How to Install the Ecobee 4 Without a C-Wire

How to Install the Ecobee 4 Without a C-Wire

The Ecobee 4 comes as an upgrade to the popular Ecobee 3. Apart from being bigger and heavier, the Ecobee 4 also comes with Alexa integration. Voice controls make the Ecobee 4 a practical alternative. If you want to take full advantage of voice controls and also be able to change the temperature in your home with no controls and even without the thermostat smartphone app, the Ecobee 4 is among the leading products to consider. But without a C-wire, the installation process is might seem tricky. So, how to Install the Ecobee 4 Without a C-Wire?

Installing an Ecobee 4 thermostat without a C-wire

Without a C-wire, a power extender kit needs to be used with the Ecobee 4. This is the case with older homes which use 4-wire installation for thermostats. Smart thermostats such as the Ecobee 4 come with 5 wires. This is why without a C-wire, an adaptor needs to be used. This adaptor is usually connected to an outlet. However, when you remove your old thermostat, you can also have a pleasant surprise and find a C tucked in, as this can be the case in some homes. Given that you don’t have a C-wire and you want to install your Ecobee 4 in your smart home, this is what you will need:

  • The Ecobee thermostat
  • One room sensor
  • One sensor mounting plate
  • The power extender kit
  • Mounting Screws

All of these should come in the pack with the new Ecobee 4. It must be said that if you already have a C-wire, you will not need the power extender kit. The installation process has two main parts. In the first part of the installation process, you will be installing the Ecobee thermostat. In the second part of the installation process, you will need to install the power extender kit. This completes the installation process even without the C-wire.

How to install the Ecobee 4 thermostat

Since using the Ecobee 4 for the first time is exciting, you may be rushing through the installation process. But safety comes first. Before beginning installation, you will need to power off the HVAC system in your home or the master power switch.

Powering off the old thermostat is also important. A few users have experienced some issues in this area due to the fact that these devices come with included batteries. It is these batteries which keep the thermostat working, which is to be avoided. So how can you tell that your old thermostat is really switched off? You may simply test it by adjusting the temperature higher or lower than the one in your home. If the thermostat responds, it is a clear sign that it is still not powered off.

Once both the HVAC and the thermostat are switched off, the wires can be checked. Removing the front cover of the old thermostat should show you the types of cables you have at hand. Clips or screws are used to keep these cables firmly in place. Using a screwdriver, you can remove the cables from their thermostat base. As a side note, line voltage cables are not compatible with your new thermostat. They are usually thicker and they can also come with added warning signs.

If you are not an electrician, you are probably not familiar with the cables and their terminals. But Ecobee recommends actually labelling the cables from the old thermostat to avoid possible confusion. Using the labels which come in the box, you can know exactly which cable is attributed to a certain terminal in the new Ecobee thermostat. You will use the G label on the G-wire, the Y label on the Y-cable and so on.

At this stage, you may also find a jumper in your old thermostat’s terminals. It is usually connected to the Rc to the Rh terminal. It is best to ignore the jumper and only label the cables which are removed from their corresponding terminal.

When all the cables are removed from their terminal and properly labelled, you can remove the thermostat’s back cover. As mentioned above, this is also a good time to find if you have a C-wire located inside the wall. You may be surprised to find one in your wall. However, since all WiFi thermostats need power, you will need to find a practical solution for the lack of a C-wire.

How to install the power kit

Given your home does not have a C-wire located behind the old thermostat, you will need to use the power extension kit from the Ecobee’s box. This process is somewhat similar but it takes place in the furnace or the air handler machine. The wires from the control board need to be disconnected and connected to the power extender kit. As a good tip to follow, you can take a picture of the control board’s cables before disconnecting them so that you know their position when connecting them to the power kit.

At this stage, you can also use the labels provided by Ecobee to label each individual cable such as the ones in the old thermostat. You can now proceed to connect the cables to the power kit in their corresponding terminals. The kit is modern and it signals you when the cables have been inserted correctly by lowering the corresponding terminal’s button.

Now you need to connect the power kit to the control board. As you can see, these wires are already labelled. You can connect the Y-wire to the Y terminal to begin the process. Now that all the cables are in their position, you might be wondering about where to place the power extender kit. It comes with a magnetic back surface and this means it can be placed on a metal surface. You can find a metal surface around the control board to place the kit on. However, it is important not to force the wires into difficult to reach positions.

Troubleshooting is addressed at this stage. Some HVAC equipment will not start if its control board access door is not properly shut. It is why you need to ensure you close the HVAC unit properly if you are seeing that it doesn’t start after installing the power extender kit.

Complete the Ecobee 4 installation

You can now go back to the Ecobee thermostat to complete the installation. You can also use the trim plate before locking the thermostat in place if your wall doesn’t look too good after removing the old thermostat.

The backplate of the Ecobee 4 comes with a built-in level. You can level the backplate easily. There are two mounting holes on this backplate. One is on top while the other is on the bottom of the backplate. Using a pencil, you can mark these spots to drill two holes for the drywall plugs and screws. These plugs and screws are provided in your Ecobee box.

You can now install the wiring on the thermostat. The R, Rc or Rh wires are plugged in the Rc terminal. The G-wire is plugged into the C-terminal. The Y-wire is connected to the PEK terminal. The W or W1 wires are finally connected to the W1-terminal.  This completes the wiring stage of the installation. If you want to focus on the smaller details and ensure the thermostat sits in a perfectly flat position, you can gently press the cables towards the wall.

To install the thermostat on the backplate, you will need to line it up and press it gently. The thermostat should click into the backplate. As a final step, you can also turn your HVAC machine back on in order to power the Ecobee thermostat.

Make the most out of your Ecobee 4 thermostat with vocal commands

Now that your Ecobee 4 is in place, you can learn a few vocal commands to take full advantage of its capabilities. Given your thermostat is in position as well, you can access all vocal Ecobee commands as follows.

  • Check the temperature
    You can simply give a vocal command “Alexa, what is the thermostat temperature”? The Ecobee 4 can also be connected to Siri if you are an avid Apple fan.
  • Set your desired temperature
    If you want to set a certain temperature in your home, you may simply give Ecobee a vocal command through Alexa even without your smartphone app. “Alexa set the thermostat to (desired temperature)”. This works well in most cases, even if you are using the Echo Dot in your home.
  • Raise and lower the temperature
    You can also raise and lower the temperature of the thermostat using vocal commands. “Alexa, raise the thermostat temperature by (desired number of degrees)” is the vocal command. The same command is given to lower the temperature simply by signalling Alexa to lower the temperature with your desired number of degrees which are either Fahrenheit or Celsius.
  • Turn Ecobee on and switch Ecobee off
    Vocal commands also include turning on the Ecobee thermostat. Even if it’s turned off, you can tell Alexa to switch the thermostat on.

The Ecobee 4 and sensor installation

The Ecobee 4 thermostat comes with an included sensor. It can be easily connected to the thermostat when a battery is used to power it on. However, the Ecobee 4 works with multiple sensors which can be installed through the house. The manual states up to 32 sensors can be connected to the Ecobee 4.

One of the confusions during the installation process comes with sensor location. In reality, the sensor doesn’t need to be in the same room with the Ecobee. It can even be located on a different floor. For example, if you spend the most time in the living room, you can place the sensor there and control the temperature through the Ecobee thermostat. The sensor can also be located in your bedroom to allow a good night’s sleep. The Ecobee temperature sensor does not need any type of configuration. It automatically connects to the thermostat as soon as it’s powered on.

Troubleshooting, additional questions, and customer support

The Ecobee 4 is covered by a potent customer service team. If you have any further questions regarding the installation process, you can contact Ecobee directly online or by phone. Support@ecobee.com is where the manufacturer answers customer questions. You can also call 1.877.932.6233 directly to get your questions answered by an Ecobee team member. Please note that it might take some time to find a free operator during busy shopping periods.

An online compatibility tool is also available. This can be useful especially for those with older homes which might not come with the wires requires by the Ecobee thermostat.

Connecting the Ecobee 4 without a C-wire to your WiFi

Once the Ecobee 4 is connected, you will need to link it to your home’s WiFi network. During the setup process, you will be asked to type in the password of your local WiFi network. At this stage, Ecobee prompts users with a 4-digit code. This code is needed to associate the thermostat to your user account and to the Ecobee smartphone app. Once these steps are followed, using the Ecobee interface is easy and it is very similar to what can be seen on the smartphone app.

Final considerations

If you are unsure about the product and how to use it properly, you can read the user’s manual before installation. You can also call the customer service team which is happy to answer any questions regarding compatibility, installation and the functions of the 4th generation Ecobee. Even the 3rd generation is still available to purchase, but it will come without the highly-anticipated vocal commands.

The entire installation process with WiFi setup should not take more than an hour. Most users are even able to install it in a shorter period of time. However, you should always take your time with the installation process and ensure are cables are properly connected to the new thermostat.

Ecobee Overheating House Suddenly? then read more here.

How to Install the Ecobee 4 Without a C-Wire