This article will tell you everything you’ve always wanted to know about moving a thermostat.
Can you move a thermostat around the house?
Sometimes the problems you encounter with your HVAC system to reach and maintain the required temperature in your home are due to the thermostat being placed in the wrong place. If you put the thermostat somewhere else in your home, you can most probably solve the problem. However, you might wonder whether it is possible to move a thermostat around the house after it has been installed in a specific spot.
A thermostat can definitely be moved around the house and often when you’ve moved it to a more suitable place temperature controlling problems will not occur anymore. In most cases, you will be able to move and relocate your thermostat yourself if you follow a few easy and logical steps.
How to move a thermostat
You can move your thermostat by following a few easy steps.
Step 1 – Turn the thermostat power off
After you’ve located the spot where you want to move your thermostat to, the first step is to turn off the thermostat power.
It is always good practice to turn off the power supply when you work with electronics. Don’t touch or mess with any wires before the power has been cut. Electrical shock can cause serious harm to yourself and/or the thermostat.
Generally, you turn the thermostat power off at the house’s circuit breaker box. Flip off the breaker that you expect is associated with your thermostat. To ensure you’ve picked the right breaker, try to turn the thermostat back on. If there is no power to your thermostat, you can start working on it.
Step 2 – Remove the thermostat and unravel the wires
After you’ve turned off the power remove the thermostat. Usually, you have to remove a few screws and then you can easily remove the device. The thermostat’s wires will still be connected to the thermostat on the wall.
To help you to connect the wires correctly again when you are installing the thermostat in its new location, take detailed pictures of how the thermostat is currently wired.
Use your fingers or pliers and unravel the wires. Each wire will normally be a different color, and this will make the rewiring easy. However, if there is more than one wire of the same color, or you cannot distinguish between some of the colors, use tape and label each wire end – indicating to which thermostat terminal it is connected.
Ensure that you remove both the thermostat bracket housing and the thermostat face. The idea is to leave nothing on the wall.
Step 3 – Run wires to the new location
Running the wires to the new location might be the most difficult part of the whole moving operation. How difficult it will be will depend on how far you want to move the thermostat. It is relatively easy if you only want to move the thermostat to the other side of the wall. If you want to move the thermostat to another room in the house, it becomes more difficult.
If you are not technically trained or have wiring experience it is recommended that you hire an electrician for this part of the job. However, you can do it yourself if you follow the steps.
Moving the thermostat only to the other side of the wall
You don’t need to extend the wires if you just want to move the thermostat to the other side of the wall.
You just drill a hole in the wall where you want the new thermostat to be. Then you use a wire fishing tool and grab the wires and pull them through the new hole.
Moving the thermostat a great distance
If you want to move your thermostat a greater distance, you’ll need to be resourceful with your wiring. With a DIY job, the easiest is to run the wires on the outside of your wall in the upper corners of your house and then run them back down to the new thermostat location.
Another option is to run the wires through the attic or the basement or crawlspace. These options, however, need more technical and electrical skills. You will also have to pinpoint where to drill holes in your ceiling or floor.
We recommend that unless you are very comfortable doing electrical work yourself you rather call a professional.
Step 4 – Install the thermostat in the new location
When you’ve gotten all the wires to the new location all you need to do is to reconnect the wires according to their original configuration. Then you attach the thermostat to the wall by using the screws you’ve taken out at the previous location.
Step 5 – Repower the thermostat
After you’ve installed the thermostat with all the wires correctly connected turn on the circuit breaker to get power again to the thermostat. Remember to put a circuit breaker on, you first have to push the switch further down until it clicks, and then move the switch to the “On” position.
If the thermostat works as before, the moving and reinstallation of your thermostat have been successful.
Step 6 – Repair the old thermostat hole
All that is now still to be done is to repair the old thermostat hole. Often, the hole is so small that you can close it with a drywall filling compound and a little bit of paint. However, sometimes you might need to patch the drywall and paint it again.
How difficult is it to locate a thermostat?
When you want to move your HVAC thermostat you first have to find the place where it is currently placed. Can that be difficult?
Generally, a thermostat is placed on an interior wall, ideally toward the center of your home in a frequently used room or space. Thus, you’ll most probably find the current position of your thermostat by checking all the walls.
But as you are encountering problems with your HVAC system to reach and maintain the set temperature, the chances are good that the thermostat is malfunctioning because it is behind furniture or in an obscure place. If you can’t find the thermostat, you’ll have to follow the wires from one of the appliances back to the thermostat, and that could be difficult.
Do you need an electrician to move a thermostat?
When you want to move your thermostat your first question is usually whether you can do it by yourself or have to call in an electrician.
In most cases, moving a thermostat is a DIY job that can be done with a few basic tools. However, depending on how far from the current position you want to move the thermostat, you might sometimes need an electrician.
If you’re just moving the thermostat to an adjacent wall or the other side of the wall the whole project will most probably take you less than an hour. And as you don’t have to lengthen the cables you can easily do the rewiring yourself.
However, if you want to move the thermostat far away from the existing cables, it might be difficult for you to handle the wire extensions yourself. If you don’t have experience with electrical work it is better to get an electrician to do this.
Sometimes it will even be necessary to open some of the walls to accommodate the cables to the new location of the thermostat. Then it is better to get professional assistance.
And remember, even if you are moving a wireless thermostat, the sensor on the HVAC unit has to be checked.
Does the location of a thermostat matter?
Have you ever wondered whether the location of the HVAC thermostat matters? When you encounter temperature problems with your HVAC system you most probably troubleshoot about everything without thinking of the location of the thermostat.
It definitely matters where your thermostat is located. Putting your thermostat in a good location makes all the difference. When your thermostat can’t “feel” the room’s exact temperature it can’t function efficiently. Thus, the thermostat must be located where it can sense the environment’s temperature correctly.
When the thermostat is obstructed by bookshelves or other big pieces of furniture, it cannot be effective. You must install the thermostat where it is unobstructed and it is better to have it in a room where the family normally gathers.
Where is the best place to put a thermostat?
When you’ve realized that your thermostat is not effectively working because it is installed in the wrong place, you might wonder what will be the best place to move it to.
Generally, the best place for the thermostat is on a central interior wall, away from direct sunlight, air vents, the kitchen, hallways, windows, and doors, and placed 52 to 60 inches above the floor.
The 52 to 60 inches above the floor is important as heat rises and if the thermostat is below 52 inches it might read a too low temperature. When it is located higher than 60 inches it might read a too high temperature.
This height also prevents accidental bumps to the thermostat.
Ideally, your thermostat should be
- far away from doors, windows, and air vents
- out of direct sunlight,
- far away from the bathroom and kitchen,
- on an interior wall in the center of the home in the most used room in the house, and
- far away from a radiator or the flow of an air conditioning unit.
Why you might want to consider moving your thermostat
When you hear other homeowners talking about moving their thermostats you might wonder what causes a person to consider moving the thermostat
There are two main reasons why homeowners want to move their thermostats. The first reason is an aesthetic issue. The thermostat can be placed so poorly that it sticks out like a sore thumb and to “save” the room, you have to move the thermostat. The second reason is to obtain better balance in the air and temperature in your home.
A poorly placed thermostat often causes uneven heating or cooling throughout the house. For example, if the thermostat is in a room with large sunny windows it might trigger the furnace off before the rest of the house is heated enough.
When you move your thermostat to a place “representing” the situation in the whole house better, you can get lower energy bills because your heating and cooling systems should cycle on and off less and save you money.
Can heat from TV affect the thermostat?
When looking for a new location to move your thermostat to, you might wonder whether something like TV sets and lamps can influence a thermostat.
A TV set can definitely influence your thermostat’s readings. Although the heat from a TV is not a lot of heat, it still influences the reading on your sensitive thermostat.
All apparatus radiating heat, like TV sets, entertainment centers, and lamps influence your thermostat if it is placed so near to these items that it senses the heat. The heat from these items makes the thermostat think the room is warmer than it really is, and your air conditioner will run longer than it needs to. Even the U.S. Department of Energy cautions against placing these items near a thermostat.
Where should you not put your thermostat?
To find the best location where to re-install your thermostat, it is sometimes easier to look at where you should not put it. Are there types of places that are unsuitable for a thermostat?
As a general rule, thermostats should not be placed where extreme weather conditions like direct sunlight or cold wind or rain can influence the readings. It should also not be placed in rooms that are not frequently used as such rooms are often kept closed and the temperature in the rooms is different from the temperature in the rest of the house.
You can use the following list as a guideline of where not to install your thermostat:
Don’t place your thermostat;
- on the inside of an exterior wall,
- in or near the kitchen,
- near windows and doors,
- in an isolated location such as a hallway or scarcely used rooms,
- in direct sunlight,
- above air vents or cooling or heating systems.
There is nothing more frustrating than a thermostat that keeps cycling on and off. Are temperatures skyrocketing, and zigzagging in your home? Then you may need to move your thermostat. I’m sure this article has shown you how to determine the best location for your thermostat and how to move it.