Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Some like it hot

That October chill is in the air and that means it’s time to light the furnace. When I went through the house with the home inspector, he made sure to light the furnace and check for carbon monoxide. However, when we took the thermostat off to remove the paneling around it, we disconnected the wires and haphazardly reconnected them wrong. It was August and it was hot and we didn’t think about bothering to test it. The old Honeywell thermostat looks like it’s from the 60s or 70s anyway, so today Brandon bought a new one. It’s also a Honeywell brand.

When we read the instructions and took the old thermostat off the wall, however, we ran into a problem. The instructions are written for thermostats with wires that are already labeled with letters, or are at least connected to the plate that’s labeled. Our thermostat plate and wires were not labeled. In fact, when I stripped back some of the insulation cloth to give us some more slack to work with, I discovered a third wire that had been purposely left unattached. Anyway, rather than try to hook these things up and test them the Tim the Tool Man way (flip the switch and see if it sparks) I looked around at some other people’s blogs to see what they’d encountered.

I found Kevin Freitas’ blog in which he explained that he’d had the exact same problem with the exact same old thermostat as ours! Unfortunately, our wires didn’t really look like his wires, but with the information he provided, we made an educated guess and nobody got zapped!

Here’s our old thermostat.

Here are the wires we weren’t sure how to match up. We have a red, a white, and a black.

Here’s the plate they were originally connected to. Only the red and black wires were connected. The white wire was buried inside the outer insulation.

Brandon hooked up the red one to the screw labeled “R” and the black one to “W.”

Zoot looked on, secretly hoping Brandon would get zapped.

We kept Kevin’s blog close at hand to refer to (it’s up on the screen of Brandon’s laptop.)

Getting the screws nice and tight:

When it was all hooked up, we set the temperature, flipped the circuit back on, and turned the thermostat on to “heat” and guess what? It did!!! The lovely blue glow you see in this picture is the furnace flame!

Now we can be toasty warm.

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