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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY - Replace Thermostat

While lunching with a good friend of mine I mentioned my non-functioning thermostat.  I was describing how the furnace worked, but it would no longer regulate itself.  It was either on (read non-stop, burn-in-hell-hot on) or off (as in freeze-your-buns-off-and-die off).   I know I won't get any sympathy from those of you whose temps actually go below 50 degrees F, but, when it drops below 73 in the house here, I freeze and I want heat.  {can you hear the spoiled whine?}

So, I was explaining how I was constantly running back and forth to the thermostat.  On, off, on, off, which seemed like every five minutes, but was probably closer to every hour or so.  I was mentioning this while sitting outside enjoying the nice day at Miguel's Mexican Restaurant (yes, it doesn't make any sense to be talking about heat problems while being able to sit outside in comfort, but it does get a bit nippy in the evenings).  I was enjoying a refreshing margarita while pounding down the entire Del Jardin Burrito I ordered.  (I couldn't help it, . . . even though it was BIG, well, . . . it really wasn't my fault, . . . it was just sooooooo flavorful, I. could. not. stop.)  But, because I didn't want to embarrass my friend, I did somehow manage to refrain from licking the plate . . . but, . . . just. barely.  If you have never been to this place before, I must say, I can HIGHLY recommend it!  My friend ordered the Fresh Spinach Quesadilla and it was divine!  They really do use the best, the freshest, and most flavorful ingredients.  I look forward to my next visit there!

Now, I know I should be grateful the furnace still worked.  I should be especially grateful I had some motivation to burn off a few calories with the constant getting up and down and going the entire 12 steps over and the entire 12 steps back every time the temp got too far one way or the other.  And, if I am going to be eating the entire extra size portions they put on my plate, I definitely need something to motivate me to move a whole lot more than I do currently!

Yep, there's mercury in those little tubes!
This will be going to the household hazardous waste center!

But, while regaling my friend with the minutia of my household woes, she casually mentioned that I should just replace it myself.  She said her daughter does that kind of thing all the time.

Whoa!  What?  I didn't even think about it before.  I just kinda assumed, you would need a PhD in heatology-furnacology or something like that to tackle that kind of job.  So, when I got home, I googled it.  Yes, I googled.  (Any Confessions of a Shopaholic fans out there?)  And I found this link.

The gentleman in the video made it look sooooooo easy . . . I figured that even I could do it.  So, the next day, off to the big box store I go.  Wow!  I discovered a whole new world of temperature control.  Do you know they even have thermostats you can program for every day of the week?  To turn off and on for waking and sleeping hours, for at home and away hours?  Thermostats you can control through your phone or computer?  Of course you did.  I just never thought I could get one of them.  I opted to skip the extra bucks for the ones I can control through my phone or computer, but I did get one I could program for every day of the week!  Yay!  A warm home when I get home!  No waiting!

Yikes!  This looks scary, but all I had to worry about was those wires right in the center.
So, then, home I go, thermostat firmly in hand.  

First step, I went out to check to see what size filter I needed for my furnace that I should have done BEFORE I went to the big box store.  Put, the cover back on and went back in the house.

Decided I did not want to tackle the switch so close to the evening, just in case I messed it up and didn't have heat the whole evening/morning (night is ok - I don't like to sleep with the heat on), so I baked flatbread instead.  It's a good thing, too, because it helped to heat the house.  For some reason, the heat would NOT kick on even though I hadn't messed with anything yet!

The next morning, I thought I'd go back out and check to see if I had accidentally put out the pilot light while checking on the filter.  I hadn't wanted to try to check on it in the dark the night before.  Seems some silly blond must not have put the cover back on correctly, because as soon as I replaced it, the heat kicked on.

Emboldened, I decided I would try to move ahead with the installation of the new fully programmable thermostat.

Second step, I flipped the power switch on the fuse box for the furnace to off.  This apparently is a VERY important step if you don't want a new hairstyle and skin color or heart rate.

Third step, take the old cover off, identify and mark the wires that are already hooked up.  Then take the thermostat off the wall.

Fourth step, wrap the ends of the wires around a pencil to keep them from falling back into the wall.  Mine already had a do-hickey on them to prevent that (you can see it if you look closely at the base of the wires - a blue bit of wire or something wrapped around them right where they come out of the wall), but I dutifully wrapped them around a pencil anyway!

Fifth step, paint the wall that will now be exposed because the new unit is much more compact than the previous one!  Do a better job than I did at it though.  (Don't look too closely at the wall . . . I did try to crop the bad bits out of the photos!)  I hate it when I get impatient!

Sixth step, put the wallplate up, make sure it is level and mark the holes with a pencil.

Seventh step, drill a hole in the wall for the screws.  Or, if you are lazy like me and don't want to have to make a trip out to the shed to get the screwdriver, hammer a nail into the spot and then pull it out.  Then, put the wallplate back up and screw it in place.

Eighth, hook the wires back up to the posts as marked and continue on with the instructions that came with the unit you purchased.

Ninth, turn the power back on and hope like hell you did it all correctly.  If not, grab a glass of wine and call the handyman.  However, . . . . if you did do it correctly, you get to go eat some more flatbread, put your feet up and brag it about it on your blog!  So, . . . here I am! ! ! !  Bragging!  Thanks, Ms. M! ! ! ! ! {giggling and waving at Ms. M}

{Insert pic of me doing happy dance!  I probably saved 
myself a fairly good chunk of change for this little project.}

Ok, well, I know this wasn't the most fascinating post ever, but, I guess, I'd better get back to taking care of other business around this place . . . I mean, it's not like I don't have a ton of things to do!  And, I don't want to permanently stretch my arm out too much with all that back patting and all.  Especially over a project that really wasn't a bit difficult.  In fact, it's one of the easiest DIY projects to be found around a house.  So, see you around!


  1. Good for you girl, you rock and you are so funny! Cheers SpecialK XoXo

  2. LOL, thanks, SpecialK! I appreciate you stopping by and giving me props! :)

  3. Haha... I really like this post... and you.:-) Hugs Stina

  4. Thanks, Stina! I'm glad you enjoyed it (and me)! :)

  5. Hilarious, I tell you, me and anything electrical would not get along! :)
    Hugs Rosemary...xx
    P.S. A lazy afternoon sharing tea and girl talk
    would be more my speed.

  6. Hello, Rosemary! Yep, I'd prefer a lazy afternoon chatting and sipping a little something, too! But, it was kinda nice to be able to be successful at this! Electrical stuff usually has me running very fast the opposite direction! I did have to watch the video a couple of times and then when I took the cover off and saw all that *stuff* in there, I put the cover right back on and had to think about it a whole lot more before I got up enough nerve to try it . . . :)