How to Wire a White-Rodgers Thermostat to a Heat Pump System

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The Emerson Electric Co. manufactures the White-Rodgers brand of thermostats. A White-Rodgers heat pump thermostat allows a user to switch between a refrigerant-based heat source and the emergency electric-heat source. Residential heat pump systems cost between 30 and 40 percent less to run than a standard electric heat-strip system. A heat pump thermostat's low-voltage wires supply power to both the inside and outside air-conditioning units while using refrigerant as the heat source. When set to the emergency heat setting, a heat pump thermostat's wires only supply power to the inside unit.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire strippers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Slotted screwdriver
  • Turn off the circuit breaker or disconnect the fuse that controls the inside unit of the heat pump system. The correct circuit breaker or fuse uses a "Furnace" or "Air Handler" label. The circuit breaker or fuse labeled "Heat Pump" or "Air Conditioner" controls the outside unit.

  • Separate the thermostat wires that exit the wall. Strip 1/4 inch from each wire with wire strippers. Keep the ends of the wire straight.

  • Push the red-colored wire into the "R" terminal with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the terminal screw with a slotted screwdriver. This wire delivers electricity to the thermostat from the transformer.

  • Push the orange-colored wire into the "B" with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal connects to the primary heating stage and turns the outside unit's reversing valve on. A reversing valve determines the direction of the refrigerant's flow.

  • Push the white-colored wire into the "W" or "Aux" terminal with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal connects to the emergency heating stage, which uses an electric heat strip for heating. Some models use "Aux" instead of "W" for emergency heat.

  • Push the yellow-colored wire into the "Y" terminal with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal controls the cooling stage.

  • Push the green-colored wire into the "G" terminal with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal controls the inside unit's fan motor.

  • Push the black- or grey-colored wire into the "C" terminal with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal provides the common leg, sometimes called neutral, to the thermostat. The thermostat needs this wire to complete the digital readout's circuit. Mercury thermostats do not use this wire.

  • Push the light-blue-colored wire into the "L" terminal, if equipped, with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. The optional "L" terminal controls the thermostat malfunction light.

  • Push the pink-colored wire into the "O" terminal, if equipped, with needle-nose pliers. Tighten the screw with a slotted screwdriver. This terminal sends power to the reversing valve during the cooling cycle and most heat pump manufacturers do not use it. The air handler's wiring diagram states whether the reversing valve energizes during the heating or cooling cycle.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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