What was I thinking? Yesterday, the General texted me to let me know it was bitterly cold on the sun porch. When she went to adjust the thermostat, she discovered it appeared inoperable. Regardless of the buttons she pressed, the screen was a blank slate. Nothing was illuminated and the screen was totally darkened. In addition to the sun porch, the thermostat also controls the heat in both bedrooms on the east side of the house

It was the highest of compliments that the General opted to let me know. Obviously she must think I’m really smart. Otherwise, why would she bother to share that kind of information with me? She obviously wanted answers to resolve the difficulty. I was the first person she turned to find the solution she needed. Actually, truth-be-told, she wanted to sit on the porch while working on her needlepoint. She is not a fan of the cold. Neither am I. Consequently she was looking for a quick fix or an easy answer to resolve the difficulty.

Unfortunately, I was out of quick fixes. Actually, I’m not sure such an animal exists. I’ve been suckered into believing that do-it-yourself home repairs are simple to facilitate. Almost without fail, every time I think I can do something to resolve a household problem, I discover my imagination defies reality.

The most obvious answer I could come up with was for the General to check the breaker box in the garage. If one of the breakers had been tripped, she needed to reset it and enjoy the heat. If that wasn’t the source of the problem, dial-a-prayer was her next best option. Sadly, I had no other potential solutions in mind.

In an effort to come up with another possible course of action, I checked with the head of our maintenance department at work. He suggested the problem could be as simple as Triple AAA batteries. You could have fooled me. I had no idea that the thermostat required batteries. Sure, I could handle that. Who couldn’t?

My cousin had mentioned on Facebook that they paid a repairman to work on their thermostat. The effort was futile, so my cousin’s husband opted to purchase a new thermostat and install it himself. Reportedly, it was easily done. I guess, if worse came to worse, I could do that.

The two-plus-hour commute home from work yesterday was enough to cause me to question my sanity. Did I really want to fool with the thermostat? Why not? If it was the batteries, I could quickly change those out. What I discovered in the process is that our thermostat didn’t have batteries.

I was an easy mark. Sure, I could purchase a new thermostat and have it replaced in no time. Fortunately, I took a picture of the unit I took off the wall before I headed to Home Depot. The salesperson asked questions for which I had no answers. Then I remembered I had taken pictures of the other unit. Kudos for me! He said, he wished all of their customers came into the store equally prepared.

Looking at the box of thermostat the salesman at Home Depot handed me put a smile on my face. In big bold letters it stated: “Can Be Installed In Fifteen Minutes”!

What I’m going to tell you next will defy explanation. Three and a half hours later, (Yes-you heard me correctly). Three and a half hours later, I put the last of my tools away, shook my head and wondered if the problem was solved or if it was simply perpetuated for another day.

Replacing a thermostat may be an easy process, but it didn’t prove so for me. I followed the directions to the letter or at least I thought I did. Did I mention the color of wiring and their codes from the old thermostat didn’t match up with the new unit? What was I supposed to do with that? In addition, as if to add insult to injury, the new thermostat is smaller than the original thermostat. Consequently, once I resolve the issues related to functionality, I’ve then got to handle the need for touch-up paint.

I hate it when I leave you hanging. The General wanted to know if the problem was solved? I told her that I hoped so. Do I really believe the unit is operable? “Not on you life” is my best answer. To start with, this is real life. In real life, people that don’t have a natural acumen for a do-it-yourself project should leave well enough alone.

On the good news side, I did at least take pictures of the old unit, including the color of the wiring and the related codes. The next person that will have a hand in this process will at least have the advantage of knowing everything that I did. That makes me laugh. I didn’t know much. Of course, it probably would have worked well for me if I had known whether we had a heat pump. If we do, there are a few more steps to follow to program the thermostat. Actually, according to the instructions, about half an instructional booklet of additional things I need to program. None of it made sense to me.

This morning I guess you could say I’m shivering in Henly. I just check the other side of the house and it is 64 degrees. Did I mention the thermostat is set for 76?

All My Best!




  1. Told John about this. He said changing the batteries is the first thing I did, no luck, then he called the service guy. Wishing you good luck.


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