If you've been reading the SaveOnEnergy.com blog for a little while, you're sure to have come across a post discussing the benefits of installing a new thermostat in your home. Whether you're planning on upgrading to a programmable or smart thermostat, or you're just in the market for a bare-bones replacement, installing a thermostat is usually a perfect DIY project - even for a novice.
Before you start crossing wires, know that there is a certain degree of danger to any DIY project. If you don't feel comfortable with all the steps involved, it's probably best to seek out the help of a heating and cooling professional.
As long as you're still okay with trying your hand at this project, follow along with these general guidelines, but always default to your particular model's installation instructions!
Step #1: Cut the power!
Whenever you're working with electricity it's imperative that you turn off the power supply from your circuit breaker panel BEFORE getting started.
Before you do anything else, make sure you've stopped the flow of electricity to your heating and cooling system's operational elements. If you're not sure which breaker to turn off, either turn off the electricity supply to the entire house or get the help of a professional.
WARNING: Not following this step can lead to serious injury or death!
Step #2: Removing the old thermostat
One of the easiest ways to mess up when trying to replace an old thermostat is by not paying attention during this step.
As you remove the wired connections from your old thermostat, be sure to label which wires go to which type of connection. Masking tape and a marker make this process much easier.
By labeling each wire clearly, you'll be sure to reconnect them to the appropriate terminals on your new thermostat.
Step #3: Mount your new thermostat
Be sure to follow the instructions included with your new device for this step. Typically you'll put a mounting bracket on the wall first, and then run the various wires you just detached from your old thermostat to the corresponding terminals on your new one.
Take your time and double check all the connections before moving on to the next step to prevent any electrical mishaps or accidents.
Step #4: Turn everything back on
Once you've finished installing your new thermostat, it's time to turn the power back on and finish setting it up. If you're installing a manual thermostat, at this point your job is finished - just operate your new thermostat as you did your old model.
If you've installed a smart or programmable thermostat, now is the time to establish your settings. Believe it or not, many people who have programmable thermostats never actually set them up properly, negating any positive effects the device may have on energy costs.
Getting the right thermostat for your home
Aside from knowing how to install a new thermostat, it's important to select a model that will work with the system in your home. More often than not, the friendly folks at your local hardware store will be able to point you in the right direction based on what you want out of a thermostat and what type of HVAC system you have.
Don't know what type of HVAC system you have? You'll need the help of a heating and cooling professional before choosing and installing a new thermostat.