Fix-It Friday: Installing a Digital Thermostat

After installation, but before touch-up.

After sitting on the floor of a closet for two years, the digital thermostat is finally installed. I was tired of our inaccurate, old-school thermometer and wanted something more precise. Of course, I was also in it for the money-saving potential, too.

The idea of messing with wiring in our house didn’t exactly appeal to me, but I figured it would only be a few tiny wires. Worst-case scenario, there are a ton of wires to connect. I’ve rewired entire rooms from scratch, so how hard could it be?

The Process

First, I had to remove the current non-digital thermostat, which was attached in three different layers: the cover, a middle portion containing the actual thermostat, and the base anchored to the wall. There were a lot of screws.

Once I unscrewed the middle portion, I saw that I was in luck. There were only three wires: two connected to the thermostat, and one that was just hanging there, exposed. It should have been wrapped in electrical tape and tucked away from the thermostat unit. I noted which wire corresponded to which terminal points (labeled with letters of the alphabet), disconnected the two wires, and removed the base. Now I had a clean wall with a few screw holes and a set of three wires.

The new digital thermostat installation kit included very easy-to-read directions that said, in a nutshell, to mount the base using the provided screws and connect the existing wires to the same letters on the new terminal points. I think I hooked up a “B” and a “V”, tucked away the now-wrapped-with-black-electrical-tape third wire, and snapped the thermostat and then the cover into place. Easy-peasy.

From my garage, I took a bit of spackle and filled in the old screw holes. I also had leftover wall paint and touched up the part of the wall showing the old paint job, and it looks like new.

What I like best about the digital thermostat is that I can program it for four different temperatures each day — wake, leave for the day, come home, and sleep — with one set for Monday-Friday and another set for Saturday and Sunday. What I did notice is that I need to keep the thermostat set at 75-76 degrees at night to stay comfortably warm on the colder days, probably because the thermostat location is in a hallway next to the kitchen, where it tends to be warmer than the rest of the house.

It’s nice to not have to worry about turning down the thermostat in the morning before leaving for work. I’m looking forward to seeing if the digital thermostat helps lower our utility bills. I’ll try to compare our next bill to the same time period last year, but since we’ve been having a very warm spell, it probably won’t be a good indicator of improvement.

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