Recess mount a thermostat
March 3, 2009 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Installing a thermostat other than surface mount

So my BF is remodelling his living room. That means the drywall where the thermostat used to live is now helping to clog a local landfill and the thermostat is hanging forlornly from some masking tape attached to a stud. This, he assures me, is not the permanent aesthetic.
He would like to mount the thermostat in a recessed box of some kind - not unlike the recessed wall boxes that water supply sillcocks for washers are mounted in when hoity toity uppity McMansions are built.

He's searched teh intertubes and found naught. Is there a pre-fab box which is code approved to receive live lines (thermostat signal is not, he assures me within what UL calls low voltage) and is sized to hold a standard surface mount thermostat?

He's willing to just build a box into the framing but remodel fatigue has set in and I'm tired of mending his rended clothing from his anguish so any help is appreciated.
posted by bloggerwench to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry, I'm having trouble parsing your sentence -- does the thermostat require a high-voltage line? Most thermostats aren't actually connected to the mains, so you probably don't need a "code approved" box.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:22 PM on March 3, 2009

Anyway, most of the things out there seem to be ugly utility boxes that are, at best, designed to be covered up by flat panel TVs. This is probably closer to what you're looking for, but it looks like it may still need a bit of drywall work to install. Easier and cheaper to DIY, if you ask me.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:39 PM on March 3, 2009

Best answer: He would like to mount the thermostat in a recessed box of some kind

What? No. Thermostats bought new have instructions against doing exactly such things. You will most likely notice vents in the thermostat body that permit air to circulate and temperature to be discerned. Chapter and verse from the booklet of the one I just installed yesterday:

On replacement installations, mount the new thermostat in place of the old one unless the conditions listed below suggest otherwise. On new installations, follow the guidelines listed below.
1. Locate the thermostat on an inside wall, about 5 ft. (1.5m) above the floor, and in a room that is used often.
2. Do not locate where air circulation is poor, such as in a corner or an alcove, or behind an open door.
3. Do not install it where there are unusual heating conditions, such as: in direct sunlight; near a lamp, television, radiator, or fireplace; near hot water pipes in a wall; near a stove on the other wise of a wall.
4. Do not locate in unusual cooling conditions such as: on a wall separating an unheated room; or in a draft from a stairwell, door, or window.
5. Do not locate in a damp area. This can lead to corrosion that may shorten thermostat life.
6. If painting or construction work has yet to be completed, cover the unit completely or do not install it.

A thermostat inside a recessed box would probably take longer to detect a change in room temperature and there would be uncomfortable variation as well as more (wasted) energy usage.
posted by dhartung at 10:43 PM on March 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm also not totally clear on the type of thermostat in use here. Is this a thermostat for a furnace or other HVAC systems (i.e. low voltage) or a thermostat for baseboard heaters in that room that uses line voltage?
posted by ssg at 10:46 PM on March 3, 2009

Came in here to basically say what dhartung said. Recess mounting of the thermostat would basically make it non functional. If he want to recess mount it or remote mount it, he would need to use a remote sensor in the room or air ducts if there are any. But that is a much different process, so my basic answer would be to wall mount it like everyone else.
posted by wile e at 12:14 AM on March 4, 2009

If he just doesn't like the idea of a box stuck on the wall, he could look into a wireless thermostat.

Basically instead of having a temperature sensor stuck to your wall, you have a free-standing unit you can put on a bookshelf or table or something.

Key upsides: Looks kind of nice IMHO; less wiring to do; thermostat is easy to get at to adjust the settings; you can move the thermostat between rooms. Key downsides: More expensive than a wired thermostat; needs new batteries every few years; higher complexity may mean lower reliability; digital interface might suck.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:24 AM on March 4, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks, all. Dhartung, especially. I think it's safe to say there will be no recess-mounted thermostats around here anytime soon.
posted by bloggerwench at 8:09 PM on March 4, 2009

If, however, you have a low voltage thermostat, you can just go out and buy a new one that is intended to fit flush to the wall, which is called a flush mount thermostat. I've never seen a flush mount line voltage thermostat, but that doesn't mean such a thing might not exist somewhere.
posted by ssg at 9:03 PM on March 4, 2009

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