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Now that we’ve taught you how to program a thermostat, we should teach you how to install one, just in case you don’t have one yet.
yourself by using our directions to install a programmable thermostat. In this case the thermostat has DC current or only about as much electrical current as is in two AA batteries.
installing a programmable thermostat
Warning: Do NOT install a programmable thermostat if your heating system is electric. You could electrocute yourself.
How to know if you have electric heat
Generally each room in your home will have low square baseboards along the floor, each with its own thermostat. You will also probably have no furnace or boiler in the basement and you will get a whopping huge electricity bill in the winter. If you have gas or oil heat, then you don’t need to worry about electrocuting
See our photos showing how to tell if you have electric heat.
Internet by searching for the thermostat name and model. Tip: Please don’t start this project Friday night after 5 PM during the winter. If something does go wrong, you won’t be able to reach an HVAC professional until Monday morning. Remove the old thermostat 1. Turn off the heating system (it’s probably in the basement). Normally there’s a switch on the side of the furnace or boiler that looks like a red light switch. Click it off.
4. Remove the screws holding the thermostat mechanism to the thermostat base.
How to install a programmable thermostat
• Energy savings per decade: Up to $953 and 9,468 lbs. CO2 assuming you use the new thermostat to lower the heat 10° for 8 hours per night throughout the winter • Level of difficulty: Moderate • Cost: $25 to $50 • How long it takes: 20 minutes to 1 hour • Tools & materials: Needle nose pliers, very small flathead screwdriver, Phillips head screwdriver, programmable thermostat, pencil, drill, a 3/ 16th drill bit, hammer, paper clips. Possibly also wire stripper or knife, batteries that fit the thermostat, screws, drywall anchors We give you these directions because sometimes thermostat-installation instructions can be fairly cryptic, translated badly from Urdu and may assume you’re an HVAC professional. However please ignore our directions if they disagree with the installation directions of your particular thermostat. If you’ve lost those directions, you can download new ones from the
5. You can now see the flat base of the thermostat with the wires connected to different screws in it. These are the wires that connect your heating system to the thermostat. Take a photo or draw a picture of the wires and what screws they go to. That way, if you get in any trouble, you can at least reattach the old thermostat. Tip: If the wires are the same color, then put masking tape on them and label each in a way that explains which screw the wire was connected to. 6. Unscrew and remove the base of the thermostat from the wall.
2. Go back upstairs to where the old non-programmable thermostat is. 3. Unsnap the old thermostat cover from its base.
will protect your new thermostat from cold drafts so it doesn't crank the temperature up every time the wind blows.) Install the New Thermostat 1. Take the new thermostat out of its wrapping and unsnap the new thermostat from its base. 2. Unfurl the pen or other object you have used as a weight from the heating-system wires and push the wires through the hole in the new base so that they emerge under the terminal block (the area with all the screws for connecting the wires). Hold onto the wires as you do so. Secure the wires around a paper clip, pen, or other similar object to weigh them down enough so they don’t slip backwards into the hole in the wall never to be seen again. 3. Reattach the weighted object to hold the wires in place. 4. Place the base against the wall. Try to line up the base with as many of the screw holes from the old thermostat as possible so you have less screw holes to drill. When you have the thermostat where you want it—holding it firmly in place—use a pencil to mark the location of each new screw hole. 5. Remove the thermostat base from the wall. ✴ If the wall is drywall, you will need to use anchors. In this case use a 3/16th drill bit to drill the needed holes and then insert one anchor into each of these holes. Use a hammer to knock each anchor ✴
lightly into the wall until it is flush with the wall. (Both anchors and screws are normally included with the thermostat.) If the wall is wood, you don’t use the anchors. In this case, use a drill bit a fraction skinnier than the screws that came with the thermostat to drill the needed holes into the wall.
6. Place the thermostat base onto the wall and line it up with the holes. Screw it in. The holes in the base for the screws are a little elongated so you can shift the base around a bit to get it just where you want it, before you screw it in tight. 7. Follow the directions on your particular thermostat for where to connect the wires. If they are incomprehensible, then in general, you should do this: ✴ Loosen the tiny screw marked Rh and the screw marked W.
7. Stuff a few paper towels into the hole in the wall behind the thermostat. (This
With needle-nose pliers straighten the two wires that were connected to the old thermostat and insert the red wire into the hole marked Rh and the white wire in to the hole marked W.
positions of left and right wires and test the thermostat again. If you have a central cooling system, there might be more than just three wires. In this case, check the directions on the thermostat. ✴ Then tighten the Rh and W screws so each wire is between the back of the thermostat and the head of the screw and is tightly held there. Make sure the bare part of each wire has a good contact with the metal of each screw.
Check New Thermostat 1. Slide the Heat-Off-Cool switch to Heat. Sometimes the switch to do this is along the bottom of the thermostat. 2. Press the Up arrow on the thermostat until the thermostat read-out is asking for a temperature that is way over the current temperature inside the home (90° or so). 3. Turn the furnace/boiler back on (using that switch you turned off on the side of the furnace/boiler down in the basement). 4. Stand by the furnace/boiler in the basement and listen. If you did everything right, the furnace/boiler should go on within three minutes. Listen for the whoosh of the flame going on. If you aren’t sure the heat has gone on, lightly touch the metal flu above the furnace. Be careful; it could be hot enough to burn you. 5. After the heat goes on, go back to the thermostat and press the Down arrow until the thermostat is set to a reasonable temperature. 6. Program the thermostat to the temperatures and times you want. (See the earlier chapter, “Program your Thermostat,” to do this).
Tip: If the exposed part of either wire is too short, you may need to pull off a bit of the plastic coating to expose more wire. A wire stripper is best for this. You place the wire into a wire stripper hole, give the stripper a bit of a turn to cut the coating and slide the coating off.
8. Install batteries if they are needed. Tip: If your wires have no color, try the left one with the RH screw and the right one with the W screw. Complete the last steps of these directions and then check that the thermostat works (as described below). If the thermostat doesn’t work to control the heating system, then switch the 9. Snap the front of the thermostat onto the base. Snap the top in first and then the bottom. Sometimes there is a screw at the bottom that must be tightened.
Note: Make sure to bring your old thermostat to a recycling center or hazardous materials center afterward. Each old thermostat contains enough mercury to poison a small lake and many humans. Don't just throw it in the trash. If the heat doesn’t come on after ﬁve minutes 1. Check that the switch on the furnace/ boiler is on. 2. Check that the temperature on the thermostat readout is higher than the current temperature of the home. Tip: Click the Up arrow and it will show the temperature the thermostat is asking for. After a moment, it will return to showing the current temperature of the room. Make sure the ﬁrst number is higher than the second. 3. Check that the red wire and white wire are in the correct holes and that the screws are tightened all the way. 4. Make sure the bare part of each wire is in tight contact with the metal of its screw. If necessary—using wire strippers—strip off a little more of the plastic casing on the wire, then re-screw the wire into the contact, making sure that the wire is held tightly against the metal of the screw.
Note: If the heating system does not go on, this is usually where the problem is. 5. Confirm the Heat-Off-Cool switch is on Heat. 6. See if the heating system is on now. 7. Repeat if necessary.
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