Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
AIR HANDLER / BLOWER UNITS
AIRBOUND HEAT SYSTEM REPAIR by WATER FEED VALVE
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
BACKUP HEAT for HEAT PUMPS
BLOWER FAN OPERATION & TESTING
BOOKSTORE - InspectAPedia
CIRCULATOR PUMPS & RELAYS
CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS
COOL OFF HEAT, Thermostat Switch
DEFINITION of HEATING & COOLING TERMS
DIAGNOSTIC GUIDES A/C / HEAT PUMP
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-BOILER
DIAGNOSE & FIX HEATING PROBLEMS-FURNACE
DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS
ELECTRIC MOTOR OVERLOAD RESET SWITCH
ELECTRICAL POWER SWITCH FOR HEAT
FAN, AIR HANDLER BLOWER UNIT
FAN AUTO ON Thermostat Switch
FAN, COMPRESSOR/CONDENSER UNIT
FAN CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS
FAN LIMIT SWITCH
FLOODED HEATING EQUIPMENT REPAIR
HEATING LOSS DIAGNOSIS-BOILERS
HEATING LOSS DIAGNOSIS-FURNACES
HEATING SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
LOW VOLTAGE BUILDING WIRING
LOW VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER TEST
MANUALS & PARTS GUIDES - HVAC
NO HEAT - BOILER
NO HEAT - FURNACE
ODORS FROM HEATING SYSTEMS
OIL FILTERS on HEATING EQUIPMENT
PULSE COMBUSTION HEATERS
Reset Switch - Heater Primary Control
Reset Switch Broken - Quick Repair
RESET SWITCH - ELECTRIC MOTOR
Reset Switch - Stack Relays
STEAM HEATING SYSTEMS
THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING
THERMOSTATS, WATER HEATER
THERMOSTATIC EXPANSION VALVES
ZONE VALVES, HEATING
Thermostat wiring details & connections for the _. This article gives a table showing the proper wire connections for the _ room thermostat used to control heating or air conditioning equipment. Other thermostat wiring schematics are provided by this article series and are listed at THERMOSTAT WIRING CONNECTION TABLES.
Room thermostat installation & wiring guide: this article series explains the basics of wiring connections at the thermostat for heating, heat pump, or air conditioning systems. Our page top sketch, courtesy of Honeywell Controls, illustrates the wiring diagram for a traditional Honeywell T87F thermostat used for 2-wire single pole single throw control of heating only in a typical gas-fired heating system.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
Table of Common Heating and Cooling Thermostat Wiring Connections for Major HVAC & Thermostat Brands
The following thermostat wiring suggestions were derived from a thermostat wiring connection code list provided courtesy of J. Scott Meenan.
Watch out: do not short any wires together. Turn off power & confirm it is off. As we have warned before, don't forget to turn off all electrical power involved with your heating system before working on thermostat wiring, and confirm that power is off where you are working by using an appropriate test instrument such as a VOM. Failure to respect this advice risks equipment damage, and in some cases electrical shock or even a building fire.
How to Wire a Generic 2-Wire Thermostat
Basic 2-wire Room Thermostat Wiring Instructions
Wiring connections for a room thermostat such as the Honeywell 24-volt T87F, the Honeywell series 10 (out of production), or Penn "Rimset" low-voltage wall thermostat models are pretty simple as are the wiring instructions for White Rogers, Mercoid, General Controls, and similar thermostats.
Two wire thermostat wiring instructions: In a two-wire installation, the thermostat backing plate is mounted level on an interior wall in the room which we want to be the master temperature control for the area served by the heating or cooling system.
The red wire from the heater or air conditioner control is mounted to the "R" terminal on the backing plate. Typically the red wire is originating at the heating or air conditioning low voltage transformer and brings power to the thermostat. (See LOW VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER TEST)
The white wire from the heater or air conditioner control is mounted to the "W" terminal on the thermostat mounting plate. Typically the white wire is taking power from the thermostat to the operating control circuit board in the heater or air conditioner.
Our photo (above left) shows the backing plate that is mounted first when installing a round Honeywell Series 20 type room thermostat. Notice that the plate shows a "level" line.
We left off the actual wires so that you could see the "R" and "W" by the two screw terminals at the lower left 7 and 8 o'clock positions on the thermostat backing plate.
Watch out: do not short any wires together. Turn off power & confirm it is off. Don't forget to turn off all electrical power involved with your heating system before working on thermostat wiring, and confirm that power is off where you are working by using an appropriate test instrument such as a VOM. Failure to respect this advice risks equipment damage, and in some cases electrical shock or even a building fire.
Three-wire thermostat wiring instructions, also called "series 20 installations" we have three wires rather than two to connect.
The Red wire coming to the thermostat from the heater or air conditioner is connected to "R".
The white wire is connected to the "Y" terminal, and
The blue wire is connected to the "W" terminal on the backing plate.
Then the thermostat body is screwed in place. The screws that secure a round Honeywell traditional wall thermostat to its backing plate will also connect it properly to the wiring.
A plug connector may be used:
On other, in fact most contemporary room or wall thermostats it may be necessary to plug in a connector between the thermostat and its mounting plate.
At left you can see the 11 possible thermostat wire connectors on the 3M-22 FIltrete thermostat. In this installation only two wires, R and W, have been connected.
Typical Thermostat Wire Connections for Heat Pumps
Typical connections when wiring a heat pump are as follows:
Again, you will have to check to see how the installer has ran the wires from the thermostat. Also see Table of Common Heating and Cooling Thermostat Wiring Connections for added details.
How to Wire a thermostat to control only a heating system or only an air conditioning system
If your thermostat is controlling only a heating system or only an air conditioning system, you will only have a red wire, and a white wire coming form the inside unit, to the outside unit.
On an air conditioner these two wires will go on the contactor to send 24 volts to the coil to pull the contactor in to start the air conditioner.
On a heating system these two wires will go to two thermostat connections on the primary controller such as an aquastat or air handler control that turns on the heating unit. Depending on the type of heating system, the thermostat, acting simply as an "on-off" switch will
- Hot water heat In the U.S. the TT wires will turn on a hot water circulator (or open a zone valve) on a hydronic or hot water heating system; falling boiler temperature will cause the aquastat to turn on the oil or gas burner (this is the U.S. typical installation).
- Hot water heat In Canada the TT wires will activate an aquastat control that will turn on and off the boiler based on its temperature; circulators are already running.
- Hot air heat: the TT wires will turn on the furnace heating equipment (oil or gas or electric, say); when the air temperature in the furnace heating plenum is hot enough the fan limit switch will turn on the blower fan.
These are the traditional wiring schematics, again, check the thermostat to see if this is the case with yours.
We moved this topic to LINE VOLTAGE 120V Wall Thermostat Wiring - separate article in order to keep our text on line voltage thermostats together.
We provide thermostat wiring connections for just about every type of residential heating or cooling room thermostat as well as a description of thermostat wiring color codes & conventions. At THERMOSTAT INSTALLATION STEPS we provide a step by step photo guide to installing a room thermostat. We also provide THERMOSTAT WIRING DIAGRAMS and a separate explanation of THERMOSTAT WIRE FUNCTIONS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Green link shows where you are in this article series.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Replacing a round Honeywell T87 with a Digital Honeywell Thermostat
Hello - I am replacing a round Honeywell thermostat with a non-programmable digital Honeywell unit. I have a hot water system with multiple zones and with no air conditioning. There are three wires at the thermostat. On the old round unit the red wire went to the R terminal, the white wire went to the w terminal and a green wire went to B terminal. I hooked up the new stat the same way but it would not work. If I selected "fan on" instead of "fan auto" the zone would heat up but would not shut off (hot water kept flowing even if I selected a temp below room temp). Appreciate your help. - Patrick - 1/20/12
Patrick, typically the three wire thermostat hookups would be exactly the same for the old and new thermostats.
For details of wiring a typical and simple digital Honeywell thermostat, see Honeywell 5-2 Day Programmable Thermostat - RTH2300B1012.
For help in understanding the wiring of your old thermostat, see Three-Wire Honeywell Wall T87-F type Thermostat wiring and also see Generic HVAC Thermostat Control Wiring Points
Question: Replacing a mercury thermostat with a digital unit
I am replacing an old mercury thermostat with a digital. my system is a heat pump. my neighbor gave me the digital, no instructions, no box. i'm trying to decide if this is even a heat pump compatible thermostat. on the therm it has c, g, rc, rh (which are linked by a black wire.) w, y, b, and o. coming out of my wall is, white connected on old therm w2, yellow connected to y, green conn g, black conn e, red to r, blue to b and bro to x. any help would be great. - Kurt 6/4/12
Kurt, as you see in the examples at For help in understanding the wiring of your old thermostat, see Three-Wire Honeywell Wall T87-F type Thermostat wiring and also see Generic HVAC Thermostat Control Wiring Points. Many thermostat wiring setups are straightforward or "cookbook" but why not find the brand name on your thermostat and then you can obtain the installation instructions right from the manufacturer?
Also, Honeywell's thermostat replacement advice (and most likely that of all thermostat manufacturers) warns:
Watch out: MERCURY NOTICE: Do not put your old thermostat in the trash if it contains mercury in a sealed tube. Contact your local waste management authority for instructions regarding recycling and proper disposal.
Questions & answers or comments about heating, air conditioning, and heat pump thermostat installation and wiring
Check the FAQs just above, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.