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How to move a thermostat

Updated February 21, 2017

When rearranging furniture or renovating a house, an old thermostat, though in perfectly good working order, may end up being in the wrong place. Some homeowners may prefer to take this chance to upgrade their thermostat, but for a still-functional system that doesn't need an upgrade, simply moving the old thermostat to a new location is often all that is needed. The task requires simple tools, and because home thermostats use only a small amount of electricity, there's little danger, even for those inexperienced with electrical systems.

Turn off the circuit breaker for your furnace or heating system.

Snap the thermostat off the back plate, and pull it away from the wall far enough that you can disconnect the wires from their corresponding screwplate electrical contacts. Note which colours connect to which labelled contacts.

Unscrew the backplate, using the screwdriver, and remove it from the wall.

Drill a hole in the thermostat's new location. The bigger the hole, the easier it will be to fish the wires through to the new location. If the new location is on the opposite side of a wall stud from the old location, you'll either need to drill a hole through the stud or find a hole already used for electrical wires to pass through. In either case, create a bigger hole in the wall than you otherwise would so that you can fish the wires further through the wall or drill the hole through the stud.

Fish the wires through the new hole, using the wire fishing tool or a piece of wire with a hook.

Screw the backplate onto the wall around the wires.

Reconnect the wires to the proper contacts on your thermostat, tuck the wires back into the wall, snap the thermostat onto its backplate, and turn the circuit breaker back on.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Wire fishing tool, or stiff bent wire
  • Flashlight (optional)
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About the Author

After working as an editorial assistant for the University of Chicago Press, Dario Saandvik began writing in 2009. He specializes in gardening, home maintenance and computer software. Saandvik has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Chicago and is in the graduate program for English literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.