Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

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Yarlonkol12
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Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Yarlonkol12 »

In our home I've self installed Nest Thermostats, it was a simple process and 8 years later they are still working and our house has not burned down, so I'm assuming I did it right.

My parents recently moved into a new house and they would like Nest Thermostats, but their quote from an HVAC installer was $500 each + the cost of the thermostat, and they have 3 thermostats, so about $2,250 in total. They asked about the quote and I said that seems a bit high, they shouldn't require any re-wiring because their existing thermostats are powered and so a C-wire is there

I'm not claiming to be an HVAC expert or anything, I'm just a regular person. I don't mind trying to install the thermostats for my parents but what I'm not sure about is homeowners insurance. Do small repairs or fixture changes like installing a new thermostat yourself potentially void your homeowners insurance should a the house burn down and the problem is traced back to that installation?
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Auream
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Auream »

$500 each for installation is highway robbery! Thermostats are low voltage. Don’t even need a permit like you typically do for, say installing a new 120V outlet. There’s no real risk from an insurance perspective. Plus a smart thermostat is almost impossible to miswire as they do a self checking step to verify everything is connected correctly.
Last edited by Auream on Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
evancox10
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by evancox10 »

If you have all the wiring needed, it is a really simple install. As you know. Just go for it
Mike Scott
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Mike Scott »

Thermostats are very easy to change. Just follow the directions.
whomever
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by whomever »

"Thermostats are low voltage. "

Most are, but there are exceptions, notably the ones for a lot of baseboard electric heat. One example:


https://www.lowes.com/pd/KING-Electroni ... 5002106749
inverter
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by inverter »

You are overthinking this.
Auream
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Auream »

whomever wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:53 pm "Thermostats are low voltage. "

Most are, but there are exceptions, notably the ones for a lot of baseboard electric heat. One example:


https://www.lowes.com/pd/KING-Electroni ... 5002106749
Nest only works with systems with low voltage controls, so it’s a moot point.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

Yarlonkol12 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:34 pm
... but their quote from an HVAC installer ...

I'm not claiming to be an HVAC expert or anything, I'm just a regular person. I don't mind trying to install the thermostats for my parents but what I'm not sure about is homeowners insurance. Do small repairs or fixture changes like installing a new thermostat yourself potentially void your homeowners insurance should a the house burn down and the problem is traced back to that installation?


Maybe speak to a local electrician about the install? An HVAC installer might possibly be overkill and that's why so expensive?

As to voiding the HO insurance, could your parents call and ask their insurance agent about that?

(If you're "not sure" about DIY on things involving electricity or plumbing, it can be worth the peace of mind to have a licensed professional do the work.)
Last edited by PeninsulaPerson on Sun Feb 11, 2024 1:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
TT
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by TT »

delete
Last edited by TT on Sat Feb 17, 2024 4:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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abner kravitz
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by abner kravitz »

That is a bizarre quote, I would never call them again. It is not real complicated, but for peace of mind you can probably get an electrician for way less. I think mine charges $125 an hour.
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Kenkat
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Kenkat »

The HVAC installer quoted $500 per thermostat because they don’t really want the job. This is an easy DIY, especially in a brand new home.
pshonore
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by pshonore »

Should be easy if there's the same number of wire on both thermostats with the same colors but that's not always the case. DAMHIKT
mjg
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by mjg »

Just do it for them. Turn the breaker off. Pictures before taking wires off old thermostat / document wire color to what labeled screw on old. Double check before breaker back on.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by bob60014 »

Kenkat wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 1:58 pm The HVAC installer quoted $500 per thermostat because they don’t really want the job. This is an easy DIY, especially in a brand new home.
+1, this.
Vinny_in_NJ
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Vinny_in_NJ »

Thermostats tend to be an easy thing to install. Be aware that WIFI thermostats need at least 5 wires and I believe multistage needs 6 wires. There may be settings in the thermostat for hydronic vs hot air and that needs to be set. Turn the power to the furnace/boiler/AC unit off (there's usually am emergency switch for this) and follow the instructions or the wiring configuration from the old thermostat. Take a photo of the old wiring setup just in case you get distracted and forget the colors and where they went.

Be aware that some thermostats may take a few minutes to become active so don't panic if it doesn't come on immediately. Also, don't forget to turn the power back on to the device.
ccieemeritus
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by ccieemeritus »

Nest or Ecobee thermostats are easy to install. I have no problems doing it myself even though I avoid most 110V electrical tasks.

I was very happy with Nest 2nd generation, but I am unhappy with Nest 3rd generation. The 3rd generation requires Google home rather than the Nest app. Ugh. I literally ripped out a Nest 3rd generation I installed (assuming it would be as good as 2nd gen) and replaced it with an Ecobee (bought from Costco).

So if you buy a Nest now for your parents, it probably won't be as good as the ones you installed 8 years ago.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by bradinsky »

The contractor’s price is totally outrageous. Do it yourself. You’ll save your parents a ton of money & you get the satisfaction of a job well done.
bendix
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by bendix »

Yarlonkol12 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:34 pm ...
I hate to sound so negative, but...

a) HVAC contractors are largely a scam. Every little thing is immediately several thousands. It´s wild!

b) Home Insurance is a complete scam. The "call out" fee is more than what any low end contractor will charge to come out and say they cant help you and the folks working for the home insurances are the utter bottom of the barrel. Chances are they have even less of an idea what to do than you and me.

I dont know if you can do this yourself, but I sure would try. Also, in some cases you can just have a look at the manufacturer of your thermostat and get a smart one from the same brand, usually without a wiring adventure.
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StevieG72
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by StevieG72 »

inverter wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:56 pm You are overthinking this.
My thoughts as well, easy decision. Do it for them it is really easy, especially since you have done it before.

Check with their utility to see if they have any discounts on thermostats.
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spacemanspif
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by spacemanspif »

Just do it. Read the instructions. It is as easy as red wire to "R", green to "G" and so on.

If you find some surprise when you remove the old one a simple google search or YouTube video will get you out of trouble. Pretty much the worse case event will be that you find 4 wires and not 5. If so, still lots of options to make it work, the easiest being just to get a wifi thermostat that is made for 4 wires that uses batteries. More complicated situations will be rare.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by GMCZ71 »

Below is from our local electric co. Check with yours there may be $ rebate for the nest.

The qualified products list is available at: https://www.bpa.gov Energy Efficiency Sectors/Residential/Heating &
Cooling Systems/Thermostats/Program Tools & Resources/Smart Thermostat QPL.
$105.00 rebate for one smart thermostat per qualifying heating system with a limit of two per household.
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zlandar
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by zlandar »

Thermostat wire connections are low voltage. The worst outcomes is the thermostat won't work or you accidentally trip the 3 or 5 amp low voltage fuse in the furnace.

Take 2-3 pictures of how the old thermostat is wired so you can reinstall it if you cannot get the new one working.

If you trip the low voltage fuse in the furnace it will seem like nothing is working. You can buy replacements at an auto store or HD/Lowe's. Google "low voltage fuse furnace". Plenty of Youtube videos showing you how to locate the fuse. It's a simple swap no tools needed.

If it's a heat pump make sure the new thermostat is set to heat pump mode.

$500 to install a thermostat is highway robbery. For that price I want to see them run new wiring to the furnace.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by snackdog »

HVAC installers almost universally hate NEST thermostats so will quote outrageous prices to install them. They are designed for consumers and tend to be glitchy way more than other thermostats. They can have C-wire issues, battery issues and other glitchiness that then causes the customer to call the HVAC guy a lot. HVAC guys usually recommend a Honeywell unit or the smart thermostat specific to your system.

In any case, you can easily install these units.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by zlandar »

snackdog wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 9:15 am HVAC installers almost universally hate NEST thermostats so will quote outrageous prices to install them. They are designed for consumers and tend to be glitchy way more than other thermostats. They can have C-wire issues, battery issues and other glitchiness that then causes the customer to call the HVAC guy a lot. HVAC guys usually recommend a Honeywell unit or the smart thermostat specific to your system.

In any case, you can easily install these units.
I have three Sensi thermostats which is made by White-Rodgers a company that has made thermostats for decades. It's been solid.

I do see a lot of hate on Nest in HVAC forums. Ecobee seems to be ok.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by andypanda »

"HVAC installers almost universally hate NEST thermostats"

So true. And as a business person, they don't want to charge the customer $100 or so for the thermostat install and then have to deal with free call backs, questions that are answered in the manual, and total system failures if the customer's choice of Home Depot thermostat isn't compatible with the installed system for whatever reason..

They would rather be installing a new system and making real money.

We don't have to worry, our fully variable Lennox heat pump system works properly with Lennox wifi thermostats. I knew that when I bought it.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by nisiprius »

A slight demurrer. We bought a new-to-us house and the old thermostat wasn't working properly--not responding to key pushes and so forth. I took the cover off to see what I could see and a little plastic tab snapped and I couldn't get it to stay on again. I noticed it had some AA batteries so I replaced them, and it forgot a bunch of settings and starting reading in Celsius and I couldn't change either the temperature scale or the setting. We figured, eh, 22°C is OK until we can fix it.

So I looked at the wires, downloaded an instruction book for a new thermostat, and saw that the new thermostat had installation instructions for five or six different kinds of system, and they had different numbers of wires and none of them had the same set of colors as mine. Someone with experience could have taken a glance at the furnace in the basement and guess what kind of control system a 20-year old gas-fired Trane would probably use, but not me.

So I called an HVAC company and said "replace our thermostat." He put in the popular one they carry in the truck. Charged something like $250 to put in what I imagine was a $50 thermostat.* It works great. And I thus avoided the problem cascade when you try to do something yourself, and everything you try creates a new problem requiring new parts and new tools which aren't in the truck because you don't have a truck...

I think the risk of electrocuting yourself is nil, look at how dinky those wires are. The instruction book for the new one has various warnings about danger of electrocution, but I don't believe them. Not when the wires are that thin and it has backup power from two AA batteries.

I think the risk of the thing not working when you're done and not knowing what to do about it is, I dunno, 20%.

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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by BradleyB »

Probably very simple, but one Caveat:

I was going to replace my old, large rectangular thermostat with a new, small, circular Nest. Problem is, the Nest didn't completely cover the spot on the wall leaving exposed wall and missing wallpaper. I didn't want a very small project to turn into a whole home remodel so I put the old one back.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by ETK517 »

I recently had a C-wire installed so my Nest would work properly and that cost $220 in a VHCOL area, so the $500 quote to install a Nest in the same spot as existing thermostats with appropriate wiring is definitely outrageous. I've done that myself and as a total amateur, it took about 10 minutes. As others have pointed out, there is no fire risk specifically associated with a Nest thermostat that they wouldn't already face with the existing thermostats they have installed there. Also homeowner's insurance isn't like a new car warranty - you aren't forbidden from doing simple DIY projects at the risk of voiding coverage.

Second that HVAC and electricians hate Nest thermostats and want nothing to do with them. I think they don't want to be on the hook for the inevitable glitchiness.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by hoofaman »

BradleyB wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:46 am Probably very simple, but one Caveat:

I was going to replace my old, large rectangular thermostat with a new, small, circular Nest. Problem is, the Nest didn't completely cover the spot on the wall leaving exposed wall and missing wallpaper. I didn't want a very small project to turn into a whole home remodel so I put the old one back.
The last Nests I installed came with an optional rectangular backing plate for situations like that, on one of our walls it was not large enough but I found a larger custom backing plate on Amazon for $10 to cover the spot, just FYI
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by CaptainT »

Super easy do it yourself
Take pictures along the way and carefully lay out things as you uninstall and then follow the manual as you install. Takes 10 minutes each
You can easy do this
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by Luke Duke »

BradleyB wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:46 am Probably very simple, but one Caveat:

I was going to replace my old, large rectangular thermostat with a new, small, circular Nest. Problem is, the Nest didn't completely cover the spot on the wall leaving exposed wall and missing wallpaper. I didn't want a very small project to turn into a whole home remodel so I put the old one back.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=nest+wall+plate
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 10:04 am
And I thus avoided the problem cascade when you try to do something yourself, and everything you try creates a new problem requiring new parts and new tools which aren't in the truck because you don't have a truck...


This - very much this.

Plus it would be at the OP's parents house. The OP has not said how doing DIY projects for their parents has gone in the past. And that matters!
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SmileyFace
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by SmileyFace »

$500 to connect a few wires - HOLY SMOKES! I would have thought more like $50 per.
I can understand a minimum of $200 for a service call/visit but wouldn't expect to pay much more than $200.
Are you sure they realized the wiring was already in place? Maybe they quoted it as if they would have to run all the wiring.

Why don't you just have your parents call a few more HVAC installers and see if there is a more reasonable price if you are hesitant to do it?
I did all of my own - but don't like doing stuff like this on other people's houses (including and especially my parents, because next thing I know they will say something like "ever since you replaced that thermostat the water pressure in our shower is lower - what did you do??")
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by cartophile »

BradleyB wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:46 am Probably very simple, but one Caveat:

I was going to replace my old, large rectangular thermostat with a new, small, circular Nest. Problem is, the Nest didn't completely cover the spot on the wall leaving exposed wall and missing wallpaper. I didn't want a very small project to turn into a whole home remodel so I put the old one back.
I had a similar experience, but fortunately it was a painted wall and I still had some paint.
For the next three days, as the paint dried, my new Ecobee complained about poor air quality.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by TheHiker »

Go ahead and install. This is not something that one needs a permit for. With a C wire it should just work.
I diy replaced an old mercury thermostat with a Nest five years ago and works perfectly even without the C wire.
The wallplate that came with it was barely large enough to cover the spot where the large old thermostat was. I wish it were half an inch wider, but it works.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by ItzaHoot »

Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance
Post by TheHiker » Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:07 pm

Go ahead and install. This is not something that one needs a permit for. With a C wire it should just work.
I diy replaced an old mercury thermostat with a Nest five years ago and works perfectly even without the C wire.
The wallplate that came with it was barely large enough to cover the spot where the large old thermostat was. I wish it were half an inch wider, but it works.

Alternatively, at your local big box store or an Ace Hardware, you can find a blank wall plate in various colors for multi-gang switch boxes that will cover the opening and, with a little work can be used as a backing plate to cover the hole and you can attach the new thermostat to it. These multi gang plates are usually used to cover wall outlets where several plugs are switches have been removed.

Other than that, turn power off at the breaker box, use you phone to photograph the wiring before you disconnect anything, make sure the C wire exists, and note any jumpers that are installed.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by tetractys »

Yarlonkol12 wrote: Sat Feb 10, 2024 12:34 pmDo small repairs or fixture changes like installing a new thermostat yourself potentially void your homeowners insurance should a the house burn down and the problem is traced back to that installation?
No. Just follow the safety protocols like making sure the power to the heater and thermostat are off at the fuse box, and follow the thermostat instructions.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by the_wiki »

I would trust an average middle schooler to install mine. I think it’s harder to set up an Xbox.
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Re: Is it worth the risk to install thermostats myself, or should I pay to have them installed? Homeowners insurance

Post by PeninsulaPerson »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Feb 12, 2024 4:00 pm
... don't like doing stuff like this on other people's houses (including and especially my parents, because next thing I know they will say something like "ever since you replaced that thermostat the water pressure in our shower is lower - what did you do??")

People who will never question the licensed electrician's work could make a hell of a relative's life.

"What did you do?" -- exactly!
(I know a wife who gets a mild version of that from her beloved husband sometimes ... :wink:!)
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