Which wire goes where?

This morning we were removing cover plates, thermostats, door bell chimes, and everything else that we didn’t want to get painted in place by the painting crew. One of the tricks of the trades is to do something that will remind you of the order that the wires are hooked up when they have to be reinstalled.

Here is what I did this morning with the thermostats that I pulled off knowing that if these ever need to be replaced the newer models always have a smaller footprint on the wall and will expose the paint lines from the older, larger stats.  I unplugged the FAU* (forced air unit) to make sure the unit the low voltage power to the thermostat would be off – not because of any danger to me, but to make sure that there wouldn’t be any danger of damaging the thermostat.  I removed outer cover, the inner guts and the  the screws holding the base plate to the wall and then pulled the wire feeding the thermostat out to insure there’d be enough wire to reinstall it if I did my trick, there was so here is what I did.

  • I leave the wires attached to the screws on the device, using my side cutters (dikes) I cut the wires just behind the point where the insulation starts, leaving a small piece of colored insulation on the wire that’s still attached to the screw on the device.
  • I could use my phone and take a picture of the device and it’s wiring at the same point that I’d cut the wires too, as long as I can see the detail of color, location and such.

Now when I reinstall the device on the wall I’ll simply attach one wire at a time and replace the bobtail wire with the wire from the wall and presto-chango when the unit is plugged back in it’ll work.

* This work was done at the beach and this home has no A/C unit that might power up the thermostat. If you are working on a home that has an A/C system you may need to turn off the breaker for the A/C or pull out the disconnect at the A/C unit and to cut power to the FAU to be sure your thermostat is de-energized.



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