DIY Thermostat Installation: How to Choose And Install Your Thermostat

Choosing the right home thermostat installation option for air conditioners and heaters is a simple task but an important one. Before you start shopping, it is crucial to understand how your thermostat works with your HVAC system so you can be sure to find one with the proper compatibility. Below are some considerations when choosing a thermostat for your type of system.

  • Heating and Cooling: If you have a heating and cooling system controlled by the thermostat, such as a furnace/air conditioner combination, your thermostat will need terminals for a white heat wire and a yellow cooling wire.
  • Heat Pump: If you have a heat pump, which provides both heating and cooling functions, you will have a dark blue or B terminal and an orange, or O terminal, which will allow the thermostat to switch between each function as needed.
  • Two-Stage Heating and Cooling: If you have a two-stage heating and cooling system to optimize energy use, your thermostat will need both a W2 and Y2 terminal.
  • Common Wire: If your thermostat is a smart thermostat or a programmable one, it may require an additional power source independent of the HVAC system. If this is the case, they may require a C wire or common wire that will be black or blue. Some models, such as Honeywell and Ecobee, will have power adaptors, which means you can connect the C wire directly to a standard power supply.

Once you have determined the number of inputs and types of connections, you can look at your thermostat options to see if they cover everything your system will require.

Proper Thermostat Installation

If you have basic electrical know-how, installing a thermostat can easily be a DIY project if you follow a few simple steps. If you are wondering how to install a thermostat, you will always want to first turn off power to your existing thermostat and the main panel of your HVAC system. Next, follow the few steps below to install your new thermostat and make it ready to operate.

1. Remove The Old Thermostat

You will need to remove the old thermostat cover. You usually do this with a screwdriver or by sliding it upwards or downwards. Next, you will need to unscrew the rest of the mount and remove the main body of the thermostat.

2. Label The Wires

You will want to make sure you know what each wire is and where it was connected. Take a quick picture with your phone, and then use masking tape to label each wire with its terminal location as you disconnect them.

3. Remove Wires From The Thermostat

Once you have labeled and disconnected all of the wires, tape them to the wall or otherwise secure them so they do not fall back into the wall cavity.

4. Reconnect The Wiring to The New Thermostat

You will have heating and cooling wires for basic two-wire systems. In other systems, you may have more than two. Follow the instructions and wiring diagram that came with your thermostat to reconnect the wiring to it. If there are any unused terminals, be sure to tighten them.

5. Remount and Program The New Thermostat Installation

After the thermostat wiring has been secured, mount the new cover of your thermostat and set your program according to the instructions. If you have installed a smart thermostat, you will likely have to download an app as well to set the thermostat up.

A note of caution: Always ensure that your new thermostat is not being installed on circuits that have exceeded the manufacturer-specific voltage. Otherwise, it could damage the controls on the thermostat and even become a fire hazard.

When Should I Call a Plumber or Electrician for a Thermostat Installation? 

Sometimes, it may be necessary to call in a professional installer for your thermostat installation project. In most cases, the installation involves simply removing your old thermostat and reconnecting your new thermostat to the same wires, which makes it a quick and easy DIY job. If you have damaged wiring leading to the furnace, are missing necessary wiring for the new thermostat, or are connecting a smart thermostat in place of an older manual thermostat. It may be time to consider a professional. If you have a boiler system, a plumber or electrician should be able to assist. For most other systems, an electrician or HVAC specialist should know how to complete the job.

Thermostat Types

Another important decision to make when upgrading your thermostat is finding the best type of thermostat to meet your needs. The choice will primarily depend on the features you want and how you want to use them. Some options provide you with significant control over your system, while others are easier to operate.

Programmable Thermostats

One of the most popular thermostat options is programmable thermostats. These thermostats come in a wide range of prices and allow you to set programs for your heating and cooling options. Some offer daily and hourly settings, while others are more simple and may have a night, day, and vacation mode only. If you are a homeowner looking to improve your home's energy efficiency, a programmable option is a great way to get started.

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat can be installed alone to help you get control over your energy bills or be linked to other components of a smart home for greater home automation. Smart thermostats like the NEST learning thermostat use a Wi-Fi connection so that you can control it through an app on your smartphone.

Smart thermostats are popular for their energy savings capability, but they can also be helpful for the many features some offer. Many come with options such as troubleshooting and learning abilities. The learning function will allow the thermostat to detect your preferred settings and provide subtle adjustments that can improve your energy consumption. The main drawback to these types of thermostats is that NEST thermostat installations or other smart thermostat installations can be more complex and sometimes require a professional’s help.

Non-Programmable Thermostat

The least expensive type of thermostat is a non-programmable thermostat. Still, it is essential to note that while they are less expensive, the savings on energy costs you would have with a programmable or smart option can make these more costly. A manual thermostat is straightforward to operate. You turn the needle one way or the other to set the desired temperature you want. These types of thermostats are becoming harder to find and are being phased out due to their mercury content.

Find the Right Thermostat at Superior Home Supplies

Whether you are looking for a thermostat replacement or one for a completely new system, Superior Home Supplies has the options you need to help you take control of your home’s energy cost and keep your home comfortable all year.



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