How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Want Energy Savings?  Install a Programmable Thermostat

One of the simplest, least expensive, and fastest ways to start saving energy dollars immediately is by installing a programmable thermostat to control your home’s HVAC system. Not only can it take the bite out of high utility bills, but it can actually solve arguments over who gets to control the temperature of the house. OK, that last point may be a stretch, because someone will still have to decide what temperature to set the thermostat to, but from there, it’s “set it and forget it!”

Why use energy when no one is home?

A programmable thermostat can save you money by preventing the wasteful use of energy to cool or heat your home when nobody’s there. In the winter, you can set the thermostat to a lower temperature overnight, saving you the cost of heating the house while everyone’s asleep. Personally, I love a cold, dark bedroom to sleep in, but in the morning, it’s nice to get out of bed to a warmer room.

Basically, the thermostat can think ahead for you and begin to heat the house an hour or so before you get up. That way, you wake to a nice, comfortable home. At night, about an hour before you’re ready for bed, the thermostat can turn the heat down to let the house cool gradually.

In the winter, the opposite is true. While you’re at work, the thermostat automatically raises the temperature of the system so you’re not paying to cool a home that no one’s enjoying. But it’ll make sure you come home to a cooler house by starting the cooling process before you get there.

How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable Thermostats range in price, but you can get one for under $50.

How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Basic Programmable Thermostat

It all works through the magic of electronic circuitry, and the best part is – you can buy one for under $50 that’ll do just about everything you need it to! That money can be made up in no time by saving you those wasted energy dollars.

Before you being installing the programmable thermostat:

To begin, locate your home’s thermostat and set it to the “OFF” position. Wait until you hear the unit shut off if it was running.

How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Locate your existing thermostat.

How to Install a Programmable Thermostat

Turn to the “off” position.

Remove the existing thermostat:

Most thermostats simple snap off the backing plate screwed to the wall. You may need to use a small screwdriver to pry it from the plate. Be gently, though, to avoid breaking the small wires connected to the unit.

How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Remove from the backing plate.

In some older homes, the wires may be attached to the thermostat itself, instead of the connection seen above. In any case, they all work to send signals to the main HVAC unit to trigger it ON and OFF.

Disconnecting the wires from the backing plate:

Next, remove the screws holding the wires to the wall mounting plate. Be sure to note any marking on the terminals and which colored wires were connected to each. It’s a good idea to take a digital picture at this point in case you need to refer back to it.

How To Install a Programmable Thermostat

Remove the screws holding the wires.

If the thermostat you purchased came with wire coding stickers, use them at this point so you can readily identify the wires during the next few steps.

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Brad Staggs

Contributing Writer/Producer at Tool Skool
Brad has worked in and around the home improvement and tool industry most of his life. He was host of Talk2DIY Home Improvement, Co-produced DIY Tools & Techniques and is the author of Spend a Little, Save a Lot Home Improvement.