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How to Install a Thermostat From A to Z

Install Thermostat

Need to know how to install a thermostat? Installing a thermostat is a breeze unless you have the wrong wire setup, such as missing the dreaded c-wire or 5-wire setup that new smart thermostats require.

I’m going to show you how to:

  • Install a basic thermostat
  • How to install a Nest, Honeywell and the Emerson Sensi

Let’s first start with the basics of a thermostat install.

The Basics

These are the very basics that need to be done no matter what thermostat needs to be installed. First, the following tools will be required:

  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Tape

Once all of the tools are ready, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Turn off electricity to the thermostat. Ideally, use the circuit breaker box for this step.
  2. Remove the old thermostat. This normally only requires a few screws to be undone.
  3. Label all of the wires. Use a letter designation that corresponds to where the wire was plugged into the unit.
  4. Install the wall plate. This may need new holes to be drilled and may require drywall anchors to be done properly.

Compatible thermostats can then be installed by attaching the wires back into their corresponding places (found through proper labelling) and attaching the face back on the unit. From here, it’s important to consult with the instruction manual to see if any extra requirements are needed. If not, the only thing left to do is to restore power to the unit and test it to make sure it works properly.

If the wire setup is different or a thermostat requires a c-wire that is missing, please refer to our article on c-wire installation.

Installing the Nest Learning Thermostat, 2nd Generation T200577

Nest can be installed quickly and easily. In fact, we already discussed how to remove the old thermostat, so half the process is done.

Installing Nest is done by:

  • Removing the back plate (after labeling the wires)
  • Place the Nest back plate on the wall and pull the wires through the center
  • Screw in both screws to secure the base
  • Match the wires to the connector on the base
  • Push the wires back, so they’re flush to the wall
  • Push Nest in place until it clicks

Nest does provide an installation video:

Installing the Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat

Honeywell thermostat installation requires a compatible system to run, so make sure that the preferred system is compatible with the Wi-Fi Smart. Just like Nest, most of the work has been done already, so you’ll start mid-way through the installation.

  • Remove the old back plate (already labeled)
  • Install new wall plate (drill anchor holes if necessary)
  • Screw the plate into the wall
  • Connect wires to the designated terminals as labeled

Once wires have been connected, it’s as simple as pushing the wall face in place and going through the thermostat settings.

View complete Honeywell thermostat instructions for installation:

Installing the White-Rodgers 1F86U-42WF Emerson Sensi WiFi Thermostat


The Emerson Sensi WiFi is so simple to install because the manufacturer provides an app that guides users through the process and shows them how to install a thermostat properly. There’s no need for instructions, but it’s as simple as all of the other installs listed:

  • Start with the power off
  • Follow the app to properly label the wires
  • Remove the old back plate
  • Pull the wires through the base of the Sensi
  • Attach the Sensi to the wall using a screwdriver
  • Connect the wires
  • Insert the batteries
  • Attach the cover with a push of a finger

The rest of the installation process is done through the accompanying app. That’s it! All of these models do require a c-wire, so make sure that your unit is compatible.

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