Don't Drop The Wires

July 09, 2007

Yesterday we installed a new digital thermostat, replacing an ancient, mercury filled model. Usually I'm not one for reading directions, trusting instinct and dumb-luck to see me through whatever it is I've undertaken. Since I've never played around with thermostats before, and on the assumption that there might be electricity involved, I actually read through the instructions before starting.

Turns out there is some electricity involved, but that wasn't the highlight of the directions. No, the highlight was the line that suggested wrapping the wires disconnected from the old thermostat around a pencil to prevent them from falling back into the wall until they were attached to the new thermostat. A seemingly simple step but one that defined the whole experience for me.

We employed a small screwdriver in lieu of a pencil, and between the two of us held on to the wires while reattaching them to the new unit. Thanks to the directions we avoided a wire fishing expedition, and moreover, we were successful in making the thing work.

There are lots of situations in life where dropping the wires into the wall could happen. Wouldn't it be nice if more of them came with directions to warn you ahead of time?

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.