A Smart Thermostat for the Living Room

A Smart Thermostat for the Living Room

Last month, when we finally turned our heat on for the year, we realized our Honeywell digital living room thermostat had broken.  The buttons did nothing.  Jim suggested that instead of replacing it, we try a smart thermostat, so we could control and check our heat from our Android phones and the internet.  Cool!  I was game.  We ordered a Lux Kono [#affiliate] at first, but soon realized we didn’t have a c-wire.  If you don’t know what that is, neither did we.  Apparently they are included with newer thermostat installs.  We had no c-wire, and didn’t want to try running a new wire from our furnace switch board up through the floor to our new thermostat.  So he did some more research and discovered that Lux Geo [#affiliate] smart thermostats don’t require a c-wire.  They can run straight from a USB cable plugged into them [or batteries, but the USB cable works better].

Here’s our old Honeywell digital thermostat when I was taking it off the wall to check for a c-wire:

our old honeywell digital thermostat in the living room       

Nope, just red and white.  I used a drywall saw to cut a bigger hole figuring maybe there were more wires behind the drywall, but nope.  So I wired the new Lux thermostat.  Funny thing about thermostat wires – I couldn’t find the circuit breaker to turn them off, but you can touch them and they’re not “hot” – no zap:


Then drilled holes in the wall so I could run the USB cable through the wall and to the nearest outlet, which is behind the TV [the living room walls are green, but the living room TV niche is brick red]:


Then I used the magnet trick to get the wire through the wall.  I tied some nuts to a string, then dropped it through the big hole behind the thermostat on the green side of the wall.  I used a magnetic tool my Dad gave me a few years ago [thanks, Dad!] to catch the nuts and pull the string out through the TV niche wall:


Then removed the nuts and tied the string to the USB cable and pulled the string and the wire back up through the wall to the green side.  It came out the big hole, but I fed it through the small drilled hole before detaching the string:



I [badly, now that I see the photos] patched the TV niche wall and painted it:

i patched the wall and painted where i drilled the hole in the tv niche        i patched the wall and painted where i drilled the hole in the tv niche

We love our smart thermostat!  Based on how well it works and how easy it is to program with our phones, we have since ordered 2 more for our other 2 heating zones and I have installed them.  More on that in later posts!

Yesterday I put up our [fake] Christmas tree.  I haven’t put it up in a few years.  It’s a lot of work to lug it and the ornaments down from the space above our master closet, but I was in the mood this year.  I also hung my Pottery Barn glass garlands:


AND I finally got my much anticipated vanity plates!  HAPPY SQUEAK!!!  I REALLY wanted 9DK MNS but the state of MA won’t allow a number for the first position, or a space in the middle grumpy face.  But still, at least my bumper sticker will help people translate my plate:

Nine Dark Moons for the win!

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    1. Nine Dark Moons

      My husband is the one who really is into checking it from his phone all the time. He installed the app on my phone but I haven’t used it yet. The cool thing is you can set up a “radius” around your house, so when you leave, it will turn the heat down, and when it senses you returning, it will turn it back up. If you want. Cool option.

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      Nice! I totally forgot about the magnet tool (and the accompanying mirror tool) until I googled “pushing wires through walls” and they had one in the video. Genius!

  1. AnneV

    So glad you have a tree this year – you have too many wonderful ornaments to not have one, cats or no cats!
    LOVE the Pottery Barn glass garlands, and the Vanity Plate is fun!
    And your wiring is amazing – you definitely inherited Dad’s genes! Great job! Scary, but great!

  2. That’s a clever way to thread wiring! We’re getting a new furnace installed. Wonder what we’ll have for a thermostat? I don’t really care how smart our thermostat is, but I would like a smart doorbell system. Trouble is, old wiring. In many ways, our house is like living in the 1950s! 🙂

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      i wonder if it will be smart! the smart ones recommend different settings to optimize your output and minimize your bill 🙂 very clever. some even provide monthly reports, but not ours. it’s ok, though, we love them! i haven’t thought about installing a smart doorbell… maybe i’ll give it some thought! your house is beautiful!

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