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My Adventure in Renewable Energy: Part 3, Programmable Thermostat!

So now I really started to get online and read. I knew there had to me more I could do and I started at AltE because I knew their University section would be jam packed with idea on things I could do to make my home more efficient. AltE sells alternative energy products but they don’t want to sell you a solar power system or wind power system until your home has hit optimal energy efficiency. Makes perfect sense to me since you can’t size a system until you really understand your power needs! Anyway, among their list of big home efficiency improvements are, of course, to replace windows and improve insulation but the other great tip I picked up was to install a programmable thermostat! Now, I’m quite sure the thermostat had not been touched since the house was built and I know that several times last winter I had to haul my tired self out of bed to turn the thermostat down when I realized the heat was still pumping at 10PM. The programmable thermostat is pretty simple to install and very inexpensive for the benefits. According to our programmable thermostat you can save $100 in your first year by using this type of system properly which means it will pay for itself almost immediately. These are also very easy to install if you have a handy human in your home. It can not only make sure you know exactly what your interior temperature is at any time, but you can schedule what it should be throughout the day. The one we chose even allows us to program temperature fluctuations for all seven days of the week!
This was my fabulous thermostat control – circa 1964 most likely. Sure, it worked fine, but I admit I never knew exactly what my interior temperature was, and we would shift it at will and many times we’d forget to turn it down before sleeping! Note: This thermostat also uses mercury – so if you have one like this that you are replacing then make sure you dispose of it properly – which means do NOT throw it away in the trash!
After we pulled the thermostat off, we discovered we had only a two wire configuration.Good news for us because it made for a simple installation. The manufacturer did a great job with the installation guide showing multiple wire configurations. You may have anything from a two wire configuration up through 6 wires. Once you identify how many wires you have, you go to the next step.
Here are all the tools we used to complete the installation.
  • Basic power drill
  • Quarter inch drill bit (for the screw anchors)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hemostat or hemostatic clamps
  • Needle nose pliers
Here you see the hemostats holding the two wires.
Here is an image of the installation instruction book for the two wire configuration.
Here you see the wires connected to the proper place in the programmable thermostat.
Connected and calibrating – I assure you our house is never 79.5 degrees in the fall, winter or spring!
Complete installation – ready for programming which was super easy!

My Adventure in Renewable Energy: Part 2, Home Energy Efficiency

In this second article in the series My Adventures in Renewable Energy, Making our Home More Efficient I explore the importance of thick insulation and energy efficient windows. Read More..

My Adventure in Renewable Energy: Part 1, Where We Started

The first article in the series, Part 1 of My Adventures in Renewable Energy chronicles where we started in assessing and understanding our RE options on a personal level. Read More..