How to Change a Thermostat Step by Step

Though most HVAC system related repairs require professional attention, there are some things you can do on your own. Of these things, changing a thermostat is one of the simplest and easiest. Here, you’ll learn how to change a thermostat step by step, and you’ll learn when you should call a professional for help.

When to Do It Yourself

Most of the time, learning how to change a thermostat is relatively easy, especially if your thermostat is accessible and you’re upgrading to a relatively simple model. However, you are the only one who can decide whether you have the skills and knowledge to carry out this task. If you are unsure of how to change a thermostat after reading the guide found here, or if it seems like an inconvenience, you can feel free to call a professional to install your new thermostat for you.

Step #1 – Ensuring Your Safety

Before you start taking your current thermostat off the wall, it is vital that you take a few very simple safety precautions. Shut off the power to your HVAC system completely, then turn the breaker for the system to the “off” position or remove the fuse. This will prevent electrical shocks or damage to your system as you remove the old thermostat and install the new one.

Step #2 – Remove the Old Thermostat

The next step involves taking the old thermostat off the wall, and this can vary a bit depending on the type of thermostat you have. In most cases, you can simply remove the front panel of the thermostat and locate two or more screws behind that panel. These screws hold your thermostat to the wall. Before removing it, take note of the various connections by writing down the names of the terminals and the colors of the wires attached to them. This will make the replacement process much simpler. Then, remove the wires from the terminals and unscrew the thermostat from the wall. You may need to use a utility knife to carefully cut through paint layers before the unit will come loose.

Step #3 – Attach the New Thermostat to the Wall

The mounting screw placement for thermostats are usually universal, which means you likely won’t need to drill new holes to suit the new model. All you need to do is line up the housing of the new thermostat with the existing screw holes, then secure it to the wall with the provided screws. Once the housing is attached, place the wires on the corresponding terminals using the guide you wrote for yourself while removing the other thermostat. Finally, with all the wires attached to their proper terminals, place the front cover on the thermostat.

Step #4 – Set Your Switches and/or Program Your New Thermostat

You may need to set the switches on your thermostat to suit your HVAC system. For example, if it is cooling season, set the function switch to “Cool” and the fan switch to “Auto”. Next, turn the power to the system back on by flipping the breaker to the “On” position or reinstalling the fuse and pressing the unit’s power button, if one is present. After ensuring your thermostat is functioning properly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for programming if your thermostat has this option and you so desire.

Learning how to change a thermostat isn’t difficult, but for those who have little to no experience, it can be time-consuming and quite daunting. You can always contact a professional if you have doubts or if you want the peace of mind that comes from knowing your thermostat was installed by someone knowledgeable and experienced.

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