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How Is a Thermostat Installed?

Thermostats available today utilize the latest electronics and communication technologies for intuitive programming and Wifi-enabled monitoring of indoor environmental conditions, providing multiple ways for maximizing home comfort and HVAC system efficiency. If you're upgrading the thermostat in your greater Chicago area home and you're thinking "how is a thermostat installed?," learn from the pros with this thermostat installation and selection guide. You'll soon have control of energy bills and home comfort at your fingertips.

Choose Your Thermostat

Thermostats are available in many different models with simple to sophisticated features. Some have simple displays and straightforward operation, while others are high-tech home environment units which integrate compatible home comfort systems for the ultimate experience of comfort, convenience and energy efficiency all in one device. For the best user experience, you'll need to decide which programming options fit your lifestyle.

  • The 7-day programmable thermostat is best for busy households with differing schedules. The 7-day thermostat  offers a different program with six or more event changes for each day of the week.
  • The 5+1+1-day thermostat offers homeowners a standard work week program and a separate daily program for each weekend day, all with the same number of event changes (temperature changes) to allow for maximum control over temperature preferences and energy savings.
  • A 5+2-day thermostat provides two programming schedules—one workweek program and a program for the weekend. If you have the same weekly schedule with few variations, this thermostat should suit your needs.

Whether you select a simple digital thermostat, a programmable thermostat or a Wifi-enabled smart thermostat, these are some of the popular features which you may choose:


  • Easy-to-read display, so there's no temperature guessing or estimating as with manual devices
  • Basic system monitoring, such as change filter and perhaps "emergency heat" indicator for heat pumps
  • Temperature and mode setting
  • Push-button setting change
  • Keypad lockout to control access

Programmable Thermostat

  • All the features of basic digital and more
  • Large touchscreen displays are available
  • Six or more daily event changes
  • Adaptive intelligent startup available for heat pump systems
  • Hand-held radio-frequency remotes are available, which don't interfere with other electronic devices
  • On-screen prompts and alerts, such as "change filter," "schedule maintenance," "system malfunction" and more

Smart Thermostats

  • Wifi-enabled devices which may be programmed and monitored via an Internet device, such as a computer, smartphone or tablet
  • Five-day weather forecast is displayed on the screen
  • Integrates compatible home comfort systems, such as whole-house (de)humidifier, energy recovery ventilator, air purification systems and heating and cooling systems for maximum comfort and efficiency
  • Outside temperature and humidity are monitored, and programs are adjusted accordingly for maximum efficiency
  • Link with utility companies to monitor peak-watt hours and adjust energy consumption according to real-time energy prices for extra savings
  • Link with home security
  • Monitor lights room-to-room by movement of occupants
  • Some smart models monitor occupant habits and program automatically

Location: How Is a Thermostat Installed?

Once you've selected a thermostat, the question of "how is a thermostat installed" becomes "where is a thermostat installed?" If your HVAC professional is installing the new thermostat, he or she will scout out the best location based on the following criteria:

  • Install on inner walls approximately five feet off the floor
  • Install away from airflow and drafts caused by air supply outlets, return grilles, entry doors, garage access door and ceiling fans
  • Don't install near windows or in direct sunlight
  • Don't install the thermostat near heat-generating appliances, including fireplaces and wood stoves

Removing the Old Thermostat

If your old thermostat is installed in a good location, the easiest way to install your new thermostat is to install it in the same spot as the old one. This may not be feasible with smart thermostat wiring, or if the old location is no good.

You or your HVAC pro should turn off the electricity to the thermostat at the circuit box. Once the power is safely off, you may remove the old thermostat. You'll notice the color-coded wires. Pay no attention to the colors, as they're not uniform across manufacturers. Tape a piece of paper to each wire, labeling its function and connection. Wrap the wires around a pencil so they do not fall back inside the wall.

Installing the New Thermostat

Use a level to make sure the new thermostat (wall plate) is on even keel. Install the new wall plate. Clean the old wires with a utility knife if needed. Connect the wires to the new thermostat as you've labeled them. When the wires are secure, carefully attach the thermostat to the wall plate. Test the thermostat in all modes: cooling, heating, fan and so forth. That's it.

How is a thermostat installed? For more expert information on the topic, and for all HVAC questions you may have, contact today.

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