I am replacing several old mechanical 120V 2-pole thermostats each of which controls both a blower fan (which blows air over hydronic coils to push warm air into the room) and a single central circulator pump (which circulates hot water to each blower fan unit). To function correctly, the pump must run when any fan is running, but each fan only runs when its thermostat is ON.

Currently, both poles of each thermostat are turning on LINE voltage to both the corresponding fan and the central pump. As shown below:

enter image description here

I would like to replace these thermostats with new 2-pole smart thermostats (this unit: https://www.sinopetech.com/en/product/smart-double-pole-thermostat-for-electric-heating-3600-w-zigbee/) but it requires a voltage difference across the poles, so my plan is to wire one pole to hot for both the fan and the pump and the other to neutral only the fan:

enter image description here

I'm confident this should work, but the potential issue I see with this is that when any thermostat is ON, the hot leg for each fan will be energized (although a complete circuit wouldn't be present since the neutral would be open). Is this permissible by NEC and is it safe?


Your idea probably won't work correctly to begin with

Your proposed setup probably won't even work quite right, whether you use old-style mechanical thermostats or new-style "smart" thermostats. With two-pole mechanical 'stats (such as the Honeywell CT410B), only one pole is thermostatic as a general rule, with the other pole simply being a disconnect. As a result, you'd get improper operation, either with all the fans running when any thermostat calls for heat or the circulator running if any of the thermostats are switched on despite a lack of heat calls.

Smart thermostats, unfortunately, fare no better on this front; some use TRIAC controls similar to light dimming, and won't work for this anyway, but even those that use relay switching likely only thermostatically control a single pole, with the other pole switched by a mechanical ON/OFF switch. (At least, that's the case for the Lux PSPLV512 I was able to find a manual for -- as is typical for "smart" gadgets made by gadgetmakers who think that they know better, the documentation for the thermostat you linked is terribly insufficient for me to determine if your choice of thermostat actually will work for this application, but I doubt it.)

Better plan: use some relays

A better idea would be to use single-pole thermostats in the hot wire, along with simple relays for controlling the circulator pump from the individual fan-coil thermostat signals. This way, you get proper thermostatic control of all the parts involved, without any worry about "backfeeding" of voltage into places you don't want it to go. You'll want UL-listed relays with 120V coils and enough HP rating to control your circulator; for fractional horsepower circulators, a set of RIB2401B relays will do the job for sure (they're rated for 1HP at 120VAC), but lesser-rated relays will work as long as they're big enough for the circulator load. Each relay has its coil connected across the corresponding fan, with the common terminal on each relay connected to 120VAC and the NO contact on each relay feeding the common circulator bus.

  • Thanks, I did confirm that the thermostats I was planning on using has relays (not TRIACs), but I will plan to use separate relays for the circulator anyway to avoid voltage being sent to unused fans unnecessarily. I'm planning to use this relay so that I can hide it in the box behind the thermostat: – astoffel Sep 29 '20 at 17:01
  • @astoffel -- how many amps and HP is your circulator? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 29 '20 at 23:32
  • 1/12 HP , 0.75amps – astoffel Sep 30 '20 at 21:21
  • 1
    @astoffel -- yeah, you should be fine with the PAM-1 then; motors less than 1/8HP are treated largely as general loads for Code purposes, not as horsepower (motor) loads. (It's why nobody deals with horsepower-rating ceiling fan controllers, for instance) – ThreePhaseEel Sep 30 '20 at 23:08

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