Thursday, 24 April 2014

Easy Home Fixes: Replacing the Thermostat

A bit of a benign project, but aren't most household jobs?

Anyway, I thought I would share changing an analog thermostat to a digital one.
For some reason, I have to do this every time we move into a new house.
This house being 140 years old, it is understandable that it had a crappy analog thermostat, but our last condo was brand new, and still had one???

The before photo - pretty standard old thermostat. Ours is really not very accurate either. Also, perhaps being a designer has made me nit-picky, but I can't stand the fact that it doesn't line up with the switch plate.

Step 1. Turn off the breaker that goes to the furnace.
Step 2. Remove the cover plate and see what is there.

Step 3. Label the wires. Sometimes the thermostat will say what each of the wires is connected to (RH, W) but this one did not. Having 1 white wire and 1 black wire coming out of the wall, I made the assumption that white should go to white, but just in case, I consulted the internets.

It turns out that white is usually an electricians standard for heat. Yay - my assumptions were correct!

Step 4. Take out the screws to both the thermostat plate to remove it from the wall, and loosen the screws from the wires to remove them.

Step 5. Use the new thermostat plate to mark and drill new holes. Before mounting, pull the wires through the provided hole.

Step 6. Using your labels, or in my case put white to W and black to RH and tighten the screws. Some thermostats will have a lot more wires. This has to do with whether you have air conditioning and whether there is a separate wire for the fan. Obviously, we do not have A/C - Oh, and according to the Farmer's Almanac, it is going to be an especially hot summer this year. Yay......?

Step 7. Put batteries in your new digital thermostat and clip it back onto the mounting plate.

Step 8. Program the thermostat and put the cover back on. Done!

Okay, not really done. I will actually get back in there later patch the holes from the old thermostat, sand it and re-paint it... but that will happen another day. I started this project on a whim at 9pm. Getting late!



  1. Great Job!! Did you put in AC too?? :D

  2. ZOMG that crooked thermostat would have driven me up the wall. Every pun intended.

    Fair play for upgrading that yourself! I'm actually terrified of dealing with anything inside of walls. I think it's because I just don't have enough experience with wires. Is your new thermostat a lot more accurate now that it's been upgraded? Sorry for the dumb question. Again, wires are vastly outside of my comfort zone. Mad props.

    1. Yes, it is way more accurate, but then I guess a glass of mercury tilting back and forth isn't exactly accurate... so I guess that is to be expected.

      The offset old thermostat would drive me nuts every time I changed the temp. Just doesn't make any sense to put a brand new switch in but do nothing to center it (or vice versa) with the thermostat. Just breaks my brain a little. Like, erratic twitch kinda break.

      As for being afraid to play with wires, not necessarily a bad thing. Most things should be left to the professionals. This however, is just a thermostat that you can buy in the local Canadian Tire (Luckily having been to Canada, you know what that is) and bring home. I am not sure how complicated this would be in Ireland.

    2. Yep, it's shit like that that make me question what exactly goes through a builder's mind. Did they find that old thermostat in a bin behind a house and think one day, I know this will come in handy and then decide to use it in stead of a shiny new one, to save a few bucks? Oh please! That old one has such character! It really adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the room! Squee!

      You hit the nail on the head. There are loads of weird and finicky regulations when it comes to renovating your home. There are some tasks that require a certified electrician or plumber to carry out all legitly and whatnot. Like most regulations, it probably stemmed from some plebbian trying to hot wire something in his kitchen and it all went pear-shaped. Not to mention the strict building regulations such as - no outlets in bathrooms! Well where else would you want to straighten your hair? The hallway of course!

      End rant.

  3. Upgrading the thermostat after one moves in to their new house is a great idea. This will ensure that the heating and cooling system will be reliable at all times. It can be exhausting, but with all the convenience it gives, it’s definitely worth doing. And I’m glad that you were able to install yours with ease.

    Shelley Coday @ C & C


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