By Gene and Katie Hamilton
It may take more than one phone call to find an electrician who's willing to install a programmable thermostat - it's just too small a job for most, but with a little persistence, you should be able to find a qualified person. You might consider adding a few other small electrical upgrades to the job, such as installing a new floodlight, replacing a light with a ceiling fan or adding a couple of wall outlets. A professional is more likely to take a job if there's at least a half day's work in it. Plus, you save time and money by having him or her come out just once to complete three or four simple upgrades.
To find an electrician, ask friends and neighbors for a referral or use the Yellow Pages or an online contractor referral service. Another option is to buy the thermostat at a home center where an installation service is offered. Usually there's a tag on the thermostat with the "installed price." Most offer the traditional cash-and-carry price as well as an installed price that covers installation. The retailer arranges for an electrician to do the installation and is responsible for both the scheduling of the job, and of course, your satisfaction.
Here are the basic points that should be included in a written contract with an electrician to install a programmable thermostat:
- Description of the work to be completed with a detailed description of the thermostat to be used (brand name, style, color or other specifications)
- Cost of material and all warranties from the manufacturer
- Cost of labor and amount of deposit, if required
- Job installation date