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Thermostats and Programmable Thermostats Information
Your thermostat or programmable thermostat is an integral part of your comfort system. These thermostats, whichever type you have, require little maintenance. Sometimes the only thing people know about their AC and Heating systems is how to turn the thermostat on and off and change the temperature setting.
A very common occurrence with service calls is the complaint that the thermostat isn't working properly. Sometimes this is true but most often it is something entirely different. Because some people believe the only problem with the system rests with the thermostat, they'll go down to the local hardware store and purchase a brand new thermostat. They get home and dust off the tool box, never read any directions, and proceed to change the thermostat. Some are successful and some are not. Those that are most likely read some directions or had someone read the directions for them. The ones that are not successful end up calling a professional in to finish the job.
The bottom line advice to most people is to call a professional if something is wrong with your system. The problem may not be with the thermostat and you may exasperate the problem which will cost more in the long run. Additionally, If you have a multi-zone system, a high-efficiency heat pump or even just a heat pump, a regular split-system AC and a boiler for heat (and you have one thermostat), or an apollo based system (hot water heated in a water heater) with a split AC system, call a professional. These systems can be very complex and may require special sub-bases so the control circuit will work properly. Additionally, for heat pumps, there are different controls, and wires for these controls run into the thermostat, they are multi-colored wires. These controls can be very complex and each wire must go to the correct terminal on the thermostat or the unit will not run correctly.
Additionally, be aware that thermostats are equipped with heating and cooling anticipators. Cooling anticipators are not adjustable where heat anticipators are adjustable in mechanical thermostats. Setting the heat anticipator is important for your heating system to function properly. It is set according to the amp draw on the control heating circuit. Make sure the heat anticipator is set properly so you will get the best out of your heating system.
Installing a New Thermostat
The first thing you should do before changing the thermostat is to select the proper thermostat for your system. If you are retired or if someone is at home most of the time during the day you most likely do not need a programmable thermostat. If this is the case the only benefit you will get from a programmable is at night. Once you have made the selection you can proceed to the next step.
Thermostat Installation Advisory: If you decide to install your own thermostat you do so at your own risk. There are many incidences where the homeowner installed their own thermostat and were successful. There are also many incidences were the homeowner was unsuccessful. The ones that were unsuccessful wasted part of their day, ruined a thermostat or two, and caused the malfunction of an integral part of their system. That is not mentioning the fact that they ended up calling a professional HVAC Technician to fix the problems caused by improperly installing a thermostat. The ones that are unsuccessful end up paying three to four times what they would have paid had they called a professional in the first place. Factor this in to your decision and if there is any doubt call a professional to install the new thermostat.
* Get the tools together that you will need to do the job right. You will need:
o A small straight-slot (or flathead) screw driver
o A small phillips screw driver
o A pair of needle nose pliers
o A utility knife or wire strippers (for smal