non-IT related (Honeywell Thermostat)

June 17, 2007 at 5:51 pm Leave a comment

I’ll admit it. I may code applications to read details out of bridge tables, build massive databases of technical info, and I may build my own computers, but I’ve never thought of myself as mechanically inclined. Especially around the house.

Anyhow, I was checking some stuff out at the EnergyStar website (stupid electic bills!) and one of the recommendations they have is to use a programmable thermostat. This might be a very good one for us, since we live in Florida, the land of near-constant AC usage. Our old thermostat is programmable, but we have power outages like every two weeks or so, and our thermostat doesn’t keep settings across power outages. The result? We pretty much left it on a single setting, all the time.
This isn’t the kind of project that I usually try to take on, but I read up on them a bit. One of the products I was considering said that it was a “Universal” Thermostat. It worked with conventional systems, heat pumps, whatever you got, so I decided to try it. This particular unit is a Honeywell RTH7500. If you can make it through the entire installation manual, you can probably handle swapping out your thermostat too.

After opening it, I looked through the manual and was extremely surprised at how easy it looked. Basically, disconnect the old wires, use the paper labels that came with the new thermostat to label them with the appropriate letters (based on the lettering in the old thermostat I removed them), then attach them to the new thermostat in the appropriate spot. If you have a heat pump, you use one set of labels, if you have the conventional system you use a different set of labels. Sounds pretty easy. There were several gotchas along the way that you could experience, and if you did the manual said to stop and call a professional, which is exactly what I did not want to do. Overall, I was pretty pumped.

Anyhow, I wired it up, mounting the new thermostat where my old one was, popped the batteries in (power outages will not stop me!), and my unit was up and running. I set it to run and turned it on, only to be suddenly aware of why I don’t usually do things like this. Even though the temperature was 80 and the thermostat was set for 76, the HEAT was on (though it said that it was cooling).

I shut off the breaker, pulled the thermostat out again to check my connections and went back to the wiring diagram in the book. I found one line that stated if I had a W1 wire but not a W2 wire that I should make a small jumper and hook two of the terminals together. So I did. Powered the unit back up. Got hot air.

Back to the manual I went. I turned the page beyond the wiring and saw “Setup”. Yea, I had already set the date, time, etc. Next page? More Setup… Waitaminute! I didn’t do this part.

So, the lesson here is read the entire installation manual. Once I finished the setup procedure, telling it that this was a heat-pump system, it worked fine. Hopefully, I’ll end up saving enough money to pay for the thermostat within a few months or so.

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Entry filed under: General.

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