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Installation of a Programmable Thermostat

In my last blog entry, I discussed the benefits of installing a programmable thermostat. Here I am going to detail the steps it takes to actually do the installation. Including the purchase, of a new thermostat, the install can be completed in 10 easy steps

Step one is the hardest part because you have to purchase the thermostat. Most thermostats are going to be compatible with your heating and air system. However, you can review your system to verify you have the correct thermostat. The basic options are:

                "Works with 1 stage heating and cooling" which is used when you have separate heating and cooling units

                "Works with 2 stage or multi-stage heating or cooling" which is used for units that have multiple fan speeds                

                "Works with Direct Line Voltage" which is used when the thermostat is powered by the wires coming from the wall

                "Works with 24mv" which is used with fireplaces, floor, or wall furnaces

                "Zoned HVAX" which is used when units can control the temperature in different areas from the same system

Step two is to turn off the power, to the thermostat, at the breaker box. Usually the power to the thermostat is not that dangerous, but one never knows how much power is truly running through the lines, so turn off the power to be safe.

Step three is to remove the old thermostat from the wall.  Most thermostats are in two pieces; the main portion just slides up and out, exposing the base plate. Use a screwdriver to remove the base plate from the wall; do not disconnect the wires, from the base unit, yet.

Step four is to label the wires. You will see letters, on the base plate, and wires connected to the screws at the letters. These wires may not, necessarily be color-coded, i.e., the blue wire may not be connected to the "B." You want to label the wire with the letter it was originally assigned, for example, if the blue wire was connected to the "R," place an "R" label on the blue wire. You can use a piece of tape or the chosen thermostat could come with a label sheet.

Preventing the wires from falling back into the wall is step five. The professionals wrap the wires around a pencil. The weight of the pencil hold the wires in place. If the wires fall into the wall, you may have to contact a professional to fish the wires back out.

Step six is installation of the wall plate. Use the wall plate as a template to mark your holes for the screw. You will want to make sure the thermostat is level, because the mercury tube that registers the temperature will not provide accurate readings. If your thermostat comes with anchors, use them as well, as they support the weight.

Step seven is when you are ready to hook up the wires to the thermostat. Use the labels you made in step four to match up the wires to the proper connectors. Wires on a heating and air conditioning system range from two to five wires, so you may have empty connectors. This is normal. Push any excess wire back into the wall.

Step eight is to place the thermostat on the wall. Install batteries in the thermostat. Usually a thermostat requires two AA batteries. Place the thermostat against the wall, slightly above the wall plate. It then slides down to catch the grooves to sit in place.

You are now ready to power the thermostat. Return to your breaker and turn the power back on.

And step 10 is to program your thermostat. This is the most important step; if you don't program the thermostat, you are not getting the benefits of your recent purchase. Every thermostat is different, so you will have to read the manual to get the exact procedures.

Programmable thermostats are easy to install and use. They can be installed within one hour. Once you program it, you don't have to worry about making adjustments throughout the day. With the ease of install and utility bill savings, there is no reason to not install a programmable thermostat.

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