Hot Hot Heat (a thermostat tutorial)

No, I'm not talking about the weather (I wish). While I was at Canadian Tire shopping for plate hangers, I spotted an ENERGY STAR programmable thermostat on clearance and decided to go for it (I figured if the installation went horribly wrong, we're not in danger of freezing in June).

This is the thermostat we started with - nothing wrong with it, except that Adam and I are always forgetting to turn down the heat before we go to bed, which means we're wasting heat and money, and we end up sweating the bed (gross, but true). And it's ugly...

Before installing our new thermostat, which will do the remembering for us, I read through the installation instructions. It seemed easy enough: turn off the power, remove the old thermostat, label the wires, and match those labels to the ones on the new thermostat. Except that our thermostat was so old it didn't have labels, just a lot of dust, a tube with mercury in it, and red and yellow wires.

Luckily the internet is awesome, and some quick googling revealed that I should connect the red wire to the port marked "R" and the yellow wire to the port marked "W" (I'm calling them ports because I have no idea what they're actually called, but hopefully you get the idea).

The final step was to install the batteries, replace the cover, and turn the power back on. And since the new thermostat is a different size and shape than the old one, I also had a little paint touch-up to do (because I'm impatient, the paint is still a little wet in the after photo below). The whole process took about 30 minutes, but it obviously would have been quicker without the googling. I tested it, it worked (!), and then I shut it off for the summer haha.

We can't toss our old thermostat into the garbage because it contains mercury, so I plan to drop it off at our local household hazardous waste depot later this week.


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