DIY Do’s and Don’ts: Programmable Thermostats
Before I moved, I resided in a second floor apartment that hadn’t been updated since MacGyver went off-air. It was the kind of apartment where you couldn’t operate the microwave and toaster at the same time without tripping the breaker.
The kicker, however, was the thermostat. With Angus MacGyver (pocket that first name fact for trivia night) maneuvers, after removing the faceplate, I had to connect blue and red wires inside the thermostat by resting a u-shaped copper wire and hope it sparked. When it did, my air conditioning miraculously came on. I actually used my “ABC” Dentyne a time-or-two to help hold the connection in place.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have sprung $25 for an entry-level programmable thermostat. They’re simple to install and once set, outside of replacing a battery or fine tuning, they require no hands-on attention. Plus, according to ENERGY STAR® they can save you about $180 a year. So if you’re into spending a little cash to save money, or just want to upgrade your outdated thermostat, here are a few DIY Do’s and Don’ts to consider when installing a programmable thermostat.
1. Do turn the power to the furnace or air conditioner off. Don’t leave it on because it may start if you accidentally touch wires together.
2. Do have the proper tools in hand before you begin. Don’t forget the level. A catawampus faceplate means you’ll have to start from square one.
3. Do follow the instruction manual that came with the thermostat. Don’t try to wing it MacGyver style, you could cause a short and fry the device.
4. Do write down which color wire is connected to which terminal. Don’t assume all wires used follow common color-coded wires.
5. Do wrap any loose wires around a pencil. Don’t let them hang freely. If they do, they may slip back into the wall and be rather difficult to fish out.
6. Do double check. Don’t assume the guidelines, hole marks are correct the first time.
7. Do program the thermostat. Don’t leave it set to one temperature. By programming it to raise temperatures while you’re away or even asleep, you’ll definitely see the saving benefits.
Article by Billy Draper, appearing courtesy Xcel Energy Blog.
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