How and Where To Install A Remote Thermostat

remote thermostat
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-300
What You'll Need
Thermostat and remote sensor
A heater with access to power feed
Wire strippers
Thermostat manual
Conduit for fitting wire to the wall

You can use a remote thermostat to interrupt the power supply to a main heating element. While it is possible to install a remote thermostat yourself, be very sure that you know what you are doing.

How Does a Remote Thermostat Work?

The basic functions of a thermostat are to interrupt power when a set temperature has been achieved and to restart the power when the temperature falls to a preset level.

Remote thermostats measure the ambient temperature from a location away from the heat source. The sensor is connected to the heat source by wire and is fixed in a position that gives the best results. When the temperature is at the right level, the thermostat trips a circuit-breaking device and cuts the power supply to the heater. When the temperature falls below a set level, the circuit-breaker is re-set restoring power to the heater.

Best Position for the Sensor

Ideally the sensor will be placed in a location that does not receive direct radiated heat and is not subject to cold drafts to ensure that the ambient temperature is measured accurately. Because there will be a wire from the thermostat to the heater, the positioning and appearance of the wire conduit need to be taken into consideration.

Step 1 - Bypass the Heater Switch

The thermostat will replace the normal on/off switch of the heater by by-passing it. This can only be done at the heater, and you must have access to the back of the switch.

Although the method is fairly standard and not difficult, there are minor variations, so you must refer to your thermostat instructions to make sure you are doing it correctly. Be sure to turn off the power at the mains before you start working on the heater.

Step 2 - Locate the Remote Sensor

Once the heater switch has been bypassed, you have finished working on the heater and can put it back into position. Now you must position the remote sensor and attach it to the wall.

Step 3 - Route the Wire

Using the conduit, take the wire from the heater and attach it to the wall. Some thermostats use a junction box near the heater—this will be fitted according to the instructions.

Always have the conduit travelling vertically or horizontally for the best appearance and shorten the wire if necessary before connecting it to the sensor.

Step 4 - Double Check

Before turning on the mains power, check all the work that you have done and ensure that everything is according to the instructions. Pay particular attention to the colors of wires where these are specified.

When you are satisfied and all the protective plates are back on the heater and the remote thermostat, you can restore power to the mains.

Step 5 - Test the Sensor

The sensor is now the on/off switch for your heater. Select a high temperature setting and ensure that the heater starts to work, and then select a low temperature to ensure that it turns off.

Note: Never use a remote thermostat on a heater that can be moved.