How to Install a Smart Thermostat in 8 Easy Steps

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Adding smart technology into your home is not only a great way to add convenience and value, but it’s also a great way to stay energy-efficient. Take the awesome smart thermostat for example… this gadget can be a high expense up front, but it will end up saving you big money in the long run. Some energy companies are even offering their customers $100+ in refunds if they show proof that they installed a smart thermostat!

Because this technology is a win-win-win in our playbook, we decided to show you how easy it is to make your home smarter with the smart thermostat. And when we say easy, we really mean it!  This entire project can be broken down into eight steps that shouldn’t take you longer than 30 minutes.

We installed the Nest for this tutorial, but there are a lot of awesome smart thermostats on the market. Do your research and find one that works best for you and your home.

What You Need

  • The Nest (or most any smart thermostat device – the product itself provides almost everything you need, including a screwdriver, screws, and a level)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Anchors (optional)
  • Touch-up paint, brush, painter’s tape (optional)

1. Turn off the Power

No matter how experienced you are with DIY projects, we highly recommend turning off the power to this system before moving on to the next steps. This is the safest way to install the smart technology and the only way we advise you to complete this installation. You will also want to make sure you have enough daylight left so you can see the project without the lights on.

2. Open up the Old Thermostat

After the electricity is off, we are ready to get to the fun part! Pop off the face of your current unit, which may require unscrewing a screw, depending on your unit. Ours popped right off, no screwdriver necessary. Above is what most thermostats look like without the cover, though yours may vary slightly. What matters most are the wires.

3. Label the Wires

Before you start removing the labels from your old thermostat, we need to label them so that we are fully prepared for the last few steps of this project. The Nest comes with these convenient stickers (right in the manual!) so you can keep your labels organized. If you don’t have stickers, just use whatever you can to label all of the wires. We only had four wires, but you may have more, so make sure you label everything! You’ll thank yourself later… we promise!

4. Take the Old Thermostat off the Wall

After the wires are clearly labeled, it’s time to unscrew the old thermostat and carefully pluck it off the wall. Use your screwdriver and it should come off fairly easily. Make sure that you’re not taking the wires (or stickers!) with you because you’ll need both of them soon.

5. Hang the New Thermostat

The Nest provides a level within the product (genius!), which makes this process extremely easy.  The level makes it simple to identify when the device is evenly placed on the wall, and that’s when you can make a mark so you later know where to drill. If your smart device has no internal level, don’t worry! It’s a pretty simple process to use an external level to make sure you’re screwing it on the wall correctly.

After you mark the wall, add your trim plate (if necessary – it’s the plastic encasing that goes around a lot of these smart devices) and hang the Nest using the markings you made to guide you. You may need to use an anchor for extra reinforcement into your wall during this step, which does not always come with the kit.

6. Attach the Wires to the New Thermostat

This is when those stickers come in handy. Not only is the technology itself smart, the team that created this kit may be even smarter because these stickers are genius! Simply match each wire’s label to the label on the Nest (or the labels you made yourself), then pop them firmly into place. Make sure the little box the wire goes into pushes down snugly, because that is how you will know it is tight, secure and connected.

7. Turn Electricity Back on 

If the Nest lights up a few moments after you turn the power back on, you have successfully completed the installation. If not, turn the electricity off and recheck the colored wires to make sure they’re both in the right spots and pushed down correctly.

Your little gadget will immediately start prompting you through a series of steps that will guide you to align this new technology with your home.

8. Control Your Heat and A/C from Your Cell Phone

This part is where the “smart” technology really comes in! Once you connect the Nest with your home’s wifi, you can monitor it from anywhere you have a wifi connection. That means you can click on the heat from work, turn on the air before you get back from vacation, or even change the temperature in the house while still laying in bed (that last one is probably our favorite!). If that’s not smart technology, we just don’t know what is.

So do you think you can tackle this project and make your home a little smarter, all while saving money and energy along the way? We’re confident that installing a smart thermostat is so simple that you now have all the steps you need to check this project off of your to-do list… maybe as soon as this weekend.

Save Green/Go Green: 5 Moving Hacks That Do Both

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Category: Green Moving, Moving Boxes & Supplies

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Ah, St. Patrick’s Day! A time for silly green sweaters and spilling green beer on ourselves!

What’s that? You’re too busy moving to a new apartment to get your Irish on? Well take heart, lads and lassies, you can still celebrate St. Paddy’s! With these five tips for saving some green on your move while being greener along the way, you’ll be drinking in the An t-áadh na n Gael more than any of your fellow muckers heading out on the lash for a craic.

Anyway, you get the idea.

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Stricter Truck Emissions Good For Environment, Bad for Business?

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Category: Green Moving, Regulations

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[Synopsis: The Sustainable Freight Action Plan is long on ambition. But is the goal within reach?]

Once again, California is leading the charge in the move toward green, sustainable forms of energy.

This summer, in a move that goes about as far as anyone can reasonably imagine, Governor Jerry Brown put forth a comprehensive plan to bring the state’s commercial trucks, trains and ships closer toward a pollution-free future.

Brown’s Sustainable Freight Action Plan comes out of a multi-agency effort, and contains some lofty goals:

  • Replace 100,000 of today’s fossil-fuel-burning engines with cleaner machines by 2030
  • Increase transportation efficiency to reduce time and fuel spent
  • Create a think tank to develop cleaner, greener technology
  • Require all household goods movers to use horse-driven carriages

Okay, most of those things are true.

There are plenty of groups lending support to the governor’s plans, from the state’s Transportation Agency to the American Lung Association. Predictably, many others have reservations.

The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce says overly strict limits on emissions could harm business. “To spur innovation in zero and near-zero emission technologies, California must make a business case for new investment from the trucking industry, which is already spending $1 billion a year to bring about a more sustainable freight system,” says Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association.

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Even those who are supportive offer a dose of realism (or pessimism) to the discussion.

“The plan is good, but the question is will this make us competitive against other states in getting federal grants,” says Hasan Ikhrata, CEO of Southern California Association of Governments.

Even the president and CEO of the Coalition for Clean Air and a member of the South Coast Air Quality Management District seems to be raising an eyebrow at the deal. “Plans are nice,” he says, “but they mean nothing without implementation.”

As always, it’s the implementation part that will prove the toughest step.

A zero-emission transportation industry sounds bright and sunny. To some, it also seems like a fantasy. But is the ultimate goal of the SFAP out of reach? Opinions differ. But with Governor Brown’s plan, there are dozens of small steps that, when laid out end to end, could very well create a path toward a much cleaner California.

Go Green: 5 Eco-Friendly Moving Tips

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Going Green….It isn’t just the “cool” thing to do, it’s the RIGHT thing to do. Here are 5 tips to make your move a little less harmful on the environment.

 

1. Donate Items

IMG_1934When you’re packing up your belongings, you’re probably going to be ditching quite a bit of stuff. Instead of tossing everything into the garbage (& your local landfill), think about donating your clothing, furniture, and gently-used items. Do your part in the “reduce, re-use, recycle” motto and find a new home for your old items. Not sure where to take a specific item? Check out this comprehensive donation guide. (more…)

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