With the winter season fast approaching for many of us, thoughts come to mind of things we can quickly and inexpensively do to save some energy (and cash) this winter. One of those ways is installing a programmable thermostat.
A programmable thermostat really is a great thing. Why, you ask? Because, it takes care of us and increases the comfort of your house. Why wake up to a cold house when you could have it heat up a short time before you get up? Its just one less thing you have to remember to do every morning and night.
But, thats not all, a programmable thermostat also helps save energy. It sets your house temperature based on a schedule you setup. It never forgets to turn the heat down (or up). Can you say that for yourself? I certainly can’t.
So, today we are looking at how to retrofit an older mechanical thermostat to a nice new programmable thermostat that we got from Trane. The XL800 thermostat will be replacing an old Honeywell manual thermostat. The whole process is very simple and pretty much anyone can do it.
The first step is to go turn off the furnace, boiler, heat pump, or whatever device heats or cools your home.
Next, we remove the old thermostat. For this specific thermostat, you first pull the outer bezel straight off. Then, unscrew the few screws holding it to the backing plate.
With the thermostat removed, unscrew the backing plate from the wall. Carefully pull the wires out a bit so you have room to work. Then, unscrew the wires from the backing plate. Be very careful not to let the wires fall back into the wall. If this happens, you have a lot more work on your hands.
Now, refer to the instructions on how to wire the new thermostat backing plate. Of course, the boiler I was working on is so old, the wiring for it isn’t included in the manual. However, a little bit of googling fixed that problem fairly quickly. With the new backing plate wired, you can mount it to the wall. Also, it is a good idea to pack the hole in the wall that the wires come through with something that will block air. Cold air could possibly come through the hole and throw off the thermostat’s temperature readings.
Thats really all there is too the physical installation. This installation would have taken less than 30 minutes had I not had to figure out the ancient wiring. You’d think two wires would be easy to figure out…
You of course have to program the thermostat now. I would just like to take a second to dispel the ever popular myth that ‘it takes more energy to reheat a cold house than to leave it warm’ is completely false and ridiculous. Physics laws specifically tell us that the greater the difference in temperature between the inside and outside, the greater the heat loss (or gain in summer). You keep the house warmer and it is going to loose more heat, period.
Once the thermostat is programmed, you can push it against the backing plate and it will snap into place and begin its scheduled programming.
Update: See the results of the thermostat install here.