How do I Install Digital Thermostats in Place of Manual Thermostats?


Gain the benefit of higher accuracy by replacing your manual thermostats with digital thermostats. Most digital thermostats are a direct replacement for many manual thermostats. Make sure the digital thermostat you select works with your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. Not all digital thermostats work with heat pumps, for example. Once you have determined system compatibility, replacing your manual thermostat with a digital thermostat is a straightforward process requiring only a few tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Small Level
  • Pencil
  • Wire strippers
  • Turn off the power to your furnace or boiler at the main electrical panel.

  • Pull the cover off your old manual thermostat, if necessary.

  • Remove the manual thermostat from the wall plate by removing the necessary screws. Most thermostats are secured with two to four screws attached to the wall plate.

  • Note each wire's location. Do not rely on the color of the wire. Write down or label with masking tape each wire's corresponding screw terminal.

  • Remove the wall plate from the wall by removing the appropriate screws.

  • Remove each wire from the wall plate. Double check and make sure your labeling is correct. Do not let the wires slide back into the hole in the wall.

  • Slip the thermostat wire through the hole in the digital thermostat's wall plate.

  • Connect each thermostat wire to the corresponding terminal on the new wall plate.

  • Align the wall plate on the wall at the desired location. Level the wall plate if desired. Leveling is not necessary on digital thermostats for safe operation.

  • Mark two holes on the wall, one for each mounting location. Two screws and two plastic wall anchors are often supplied with digital thermostats.

  • Push the wall plate and wire aside. Drill a hole in the wall at each mounting location.

  • Push the plastic wall anchors into the holes. Tap them lightly with the screwdriver handle to ensure a tight fit.

  • Line up the wall plate over the anchor locations. Attach the plate with the two screws. Do not pinch the wire between the wall plate and the wall.

  • Level as desired and tighten the screws.

  • Connect the thermostat to the wall plate according to thermostat manufacturer's provided instructions.

  • Turn the electricity to your HVAC system back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the electricity is off to your HVAC equipment when replacing the thermostate. Live, low-volt wires can easily touch each other and damage the components of your heating and cooling system.
  • Most manual thermostats contain mercury, so check with your local city or county about proper disposal procedures.

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