Heat Pump Thermostat

I have told you before that the heat pump thermostat is completely different from the regular thermostat or an air conditioner thermostat. In this article I will explain to you the difference and I will show you how to replace it and how to hook up all the wiring.

Most thermostats in general  are very easy to install and yet most contractors charge between $150 to $250 and it only costs $25-$50 and takes less than 10 min to install, so next time when you have someone telling you this is the holy grail of the thermostats, talks or it does this or does that, take my word for it, he wants to rip you off, all digital thermostats work the same way , and most of them are programmable so don’t fall for that ..

Now before we go any further let’s first understand what the thermostat actually does. The thermostat is nothing but a switch- yup you heard that right, it is exactly like your light switch. As a matter of fact, you can replace a thermostat with a light switch and the heat pump or the air conditioner won’t know the difference.

Heat Pump Thermostat Explanation

The only difference is that you turn the light switch manually but the thermostat will turn on or off based on a set temperature you can adjust. So the next time you are too hot and you want to turn your thermostat on don’t lower the temperature setting thinking you are making your air conditioner work harder.

Guess what! It won’t work any harder, it will just make the air conditioner work longer to meet your low setting temperature, it is not a gas throttle

So now what is the different between an air conditioner thermostat and a heat pump thermostat?

Let’s start with the air conditioner:

If you have a regular air conditioner you must also have a source of heating (most likely a furnace). So when you need cooling your thermostat has to turn on the air conditioner (the compressor, the indoor blower and the outdoor fan), and when you need heating the thermostat has to turn on the furnace and the indoor blower.

Air Conditioner Thermostat uses 4 wires and one optional

· Red – Hot wire

· Yellow- Compressor wire and outdoor fan. If you jump (connect) the R-red and Y-yellow the compressor will turn on.

· Green – Indoor blower wire. If you jump (connect) the R –red and G-green the indoor blower will turn on.

· White- Furnace wire. If you jump (connect) the R –red and W-white the furnace will turn on.

· Blue wire is common. This is optional since most thermostats have batteries and don’t need that wire.

Air Conditioner thermostat wiring
Air Conditioner Thermostat

This thermostat is very easy to install and replace, and yet most contactors charge between $150 to $200 to do this. The thermostat only costs $25-$35 and takes less than five minutes to install.

Remember, if you want to do this yourself.

· Turn the air conditioner breaker off when you attempt to replace the thermostat.

· Not everyone follows the same color code so always look at the old thermostat wiring. If the blue wire is connected to the Y terminal then connect the Blue wire to the Y terminal in the new thermostat.

So what about the heat pump thermostat?

If you have a heat pump you don’t have a furnace since the heat pump provides cooling and heating. So when cooling is required your thermostat has to turn on the air conditioner (the compressor, the indoor blower, the outdoor fan and put the reversing valve in the cooling mode). When heating is required the thermostat has to turn on the compressor, the indoor blower, the outdoor fan and put the reversing valve in the heating mode. It also has to turn on the Auxiliary Heater if needed and Emergency Heat if needed.

The reversing valve is either turned on or off. 99% of time the reversing valve is on when the system is in the cooling mode and it is off when the system is in heating mode.

Some old heat pumps are reversed, meaning that when the reversing valve is active it is heating and when it is off it is cooling. Most thermostats have both options:

Heat Pump Thermostat


Notice that heat pump thermostat uses 5 wires (not 4 like a normal AC)and one optional:

· Red – Hot wire

· Yellow- Compressor and outdoor fan wire. If you jump (connect) the R –red and Y-yellow the compressor will turn on.

· Green – Indoor blower wire. If you jump (connect) the R –red and G-green the indoor blower will turn on.

· White- the Auxiliary heat wire. If you jump (connect) the R –red and W-white the Auxiliary Heat and/or Emergency Heat will turn on.

· Brown-O/B the reversing valve terminal which most likely is a brown color. Connect the O terminal if the reversing is active in cooling mode (99% of the time), connect the B terminal if the reversing is active in heating mode (very rare) But remember it is either O or B- don’t connect both terminals.

· Blue wire is common wire. This wire is optional since most thermostats have batteries and don’t need it

Heat pump thermostat wiring

Remember if you want to do this yourself,

· Turn the heat pump breaker off when you attempt to replace the thermostat

· Not everyone follows the same color code so always look at the old heat pump thermostat wiring. If blue wire is connected to the Y terminal then connect the Blue wire to the Y terminal in the new thermostat.




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