Rewiring or Moving a Thermostat
Rewiring or moving a thermostat is not as intrusive to a room as rewiring for an electrical outlet or switch. This homeowner has an older home with plastered walls and needs to move his thermostat.
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Q: I read your article about the proper placement of thermostats. I have an older home with plastered walls. My handyman said the outside walls are masonry, and it would be impossible to place a new wire inside the walls. Is there a way to move the thermostat without having to rewire the house? — M.J.
Answer: Rewiring for a thermostat is not as intrusive to a room as rewiring for an electrical outlet or switch. Thermostats operate at a very low voltage, so the wiring for the unit is much smaller and more lightweight than conventional electrical wiring. Low-voltage wiring can safely be hidden under woodwork or along the edge of floor covering.
It's unlikely the thermostat would be located on an outside wall, so the masonry construction likely does not have to be considered. I often see low-voltage wiring hidden inside a closet or low-voltage wiring run along the casing of an interior door. You need to find a handyman with some imagination, or hire an HVAC (heating/venting/air-conditioning) contractor.
If you need mobility for a thermostat, Carrier Corp. makes a wireless, programmable thermostat that you can put in any room of the home. The system requires a transmitter, which is the thermostat and a receiver that is installed on or near the furnace. The wireless thermostat can then be taken from room to room. If you want the living room at a certain temperature, you place the thermostat in the room near the cold air return vent. The heating/cooling unit will condition the whole house until the living room thermostat is satisfied.
Moving the thermostat to different rooms will vary the temperature throughout the whole house. A single receiver can service up to four separate wireless thermostats but will operate the system only according to the most recent setting on the thermostat used last. The Carrier wireless thermostat lists for $187 for each transmitter plus $172 for the receiver. Installation fees will vary.
(Dwight Barnett is a master inspector certified by the American Society of Home Inspectors.)