I have never installed a thermostat before, but thanks to the help of several incredible community members, I managed to pull it off without electrocuting myself. Andrew, a long-time member of the LockerGnome community, turned me on to a Wi-Fi enabled thermostat that enables me to control my home air conditioner and furnace by way of a smartphone over the Internet.
Once I got the thermostat, I quickly realized that there is a little more to it than just popping out the old one and plugging the new one in. Thankfully, a plumber from AA Plumbing here in Seattle was kind enough to offer some basic advice on how to hook it up. This got me most of the way there.
He told me that I needed to line up the wires to match the way they were configured on my old thermostat once the new one was installed. At that point, I removed the old thermostat, painted, and installed the new one. At this point, I discovered a rogue blue wire that wasn’t connected to the old thermostat. It turns out, this wire is needed to power the thermostat. Old “dumb” thermostats didn’t really need to be powered, so the wire has been sitting there idly waiting for the day when a member of the LockerGnome community would suggest a better thermostat.
Unfortunately, I still needed some support to discover exactly where this blue wire needed to go and whether or not I needed to rearrange any of the others to make room. This is where another amazing member of the community, teesix (http://twitter.com/teesix), stepped in. He responded to my distress call and let me know he’s HVAC certified. After some back-and-forth over Twitter, he got everything sorted and the installation was complete.
Now, I have this incredibly advanced thermostat that not only features a touch screen interface, but is also Wi-Fi and Internet enabled. This allows the Filtrete Wi-Fi Thermostat to be controlled remotely by way of an iPhone app, and a web application accessible by the vast majority of browsers out there. As an added bonus, this thermostat even updates its firmware over the air. Yes, you read that correctly, the firmware updated once an Internet connection was established.
If anyone else has any suggestions on hardware, software, services, or anything else that might help me live a geekier existence at home, please pass them along.