Replacing a Thermostat

The Martha Stewart Show, January 2011

Heating and cooling account for the largest energy expense for most homes. To lower your energy costs, try replacing an old thermostat with an Energy Star programmable thermostat.

Appliances receive an Energy Star listing when they meet government standards for energy efficiency. Energy Star thermostats preserve energy through their programming; it's not that the thermostat device itself uses less electricity, but rather that it offers precise programming options that allow you to optimize your air conditioning and heater use.

When shopping for a new thermostat, check the packaging to ensure the thermostat is compatible with the heating or cooling system you have in your home. Most programmable models will work with gas, oil, or electric furnaces, and all will specifically state if they cannot be used on a certain system.

Tools and Materials

  • Energy Star programmable thermostat
  • Screwdriver
  • Wall anchor
  • Batteries

Replacing a Thermostat How-To
1. Turn power off at the heating/cooling system.

2. Remove face from old thermostat. Use terminal screw designations to identify and label each wire.

3. Disconnect wires and remove old wall plate.

4. Mount new wall plate using a light wall anchor. Connect wires to coordinating terminals with the same letter.
Note: If a labeled wire does not match any terminal designation, refer to the specific instructions in your thermostat's installation guide. If you are ever in doubt, hire a licensed electrician.

5. Install batteries on the back of thermostat. Attach thermostat to wall plate.

6. Turn power back on at the heating/cooling system. Program, as desired, to personalized settings.

Honeywell 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat from The Home Depot.


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