Most programmable thermostats are a low voltage wiring installation (except "line voltage thermostats") and involve anywhere from 2 - 10 wires, depending on your type of heating and cooling system. You will use the wires connected to your old thermostat to connect your new programmable model. Read all instructions and proceed carefully. Always shut off your electricity during the replacement. If the job requires more than just a replacement, a certified HVAC professional can ensure proper installation, as well as operation of your heating and cooling system. It's a good idea to upgrade an old manual thermostat to a programmable unit, if you're replacing a central air conditioner or heating system given that programmable units are more accurate and will improve the efficiency of your new system. For heat pumps, you may need a special thermostat to improve energy savings year-round. Talk to your retailer or HVAC contractor before selecting the unit. Also, if you're replacing a conventional thermostat that has a mercury switch, be careful not to break the tube that holds this toxic substance. Contact your local recycling/hazardous materials center, or the manufacturer of your new thermostat, for advice on proper disposal. Finally, most homes use just one thermostat to control the whole house. If your home has multiple heating or cooling zones, a programmed setback thermostat for each zone can help you improve comfort, convenience and energy savings throughout the house.
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