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Thermostats 101

Thermostats 101A thermostat is an external component of your HVAC unit that controls the temperature of the inside of your home. It senses the current temperature and signals the heater or air conditioner to activate if a change is required. As with most things in our modern world, when technology improves, many of our products change, improve and become more efficient and reliable. Thermostats are no different as there are several different types that have made an appearance over the years (some more accurate and reliable than others).

Thermostat Evolution

Older, mercury-filled, thermostats were completely manual and only offered one temperature setting. They were typically controlled with a dial or sliding bar and prone to drastic temperature fluctuations which needed to be manually adjusted every time temperature settings needed to be changed.

Programmable Thermostats

Programmable thermostats were a much-welcomed reincarnation of the previous mercury models. Programmable thermostats offer a variety of temperature settings throughout a day and week to allow users the flexibility to make pre-determined temperature adjustments depending on whether they are home or not and whether they’re sleeping or awake. Digital control also provides more accurate settings, adjustments and feedback than the previous models. Once they’ve been set, no further adjustments are required. Properly-adjusted digital thermostats can save between 8% and 10% annually on energy costs.

The Future of Thermostats

The next evolution of the thermostat includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth linked and controlled programmable thermostats. The Nest, one of the more popular versions, is considered a learning thermostat that stores your temperature preferences and programs itself. It’s controllable via the user’s smartphone or tablet devices and also lets users know how efficient a temperature choice is. Notable heating and cooling heavyweights like Honeywell, Lennox, and Trane also have available versions similar to the Nest that have advanced controls and information.

Location. Location. Location.

Having the proper location for your thermostat is important as a variety of factors can affect its performance. It should not be affixed to an exterior wall as the change in temperature outside the house affects the temperature of the wall, which in turn affects the thermostat. The thermostat reacts to the wall’s temperature instead of the house’s air temperature. Thermostats should also be placed out of direct sunlight and away from heating and cooling vents. The most appropriate location for a thermostat is generally in a main floor hallway or large, open room, but proper location can be recommended by a heating and cooling expert like those at Point Bay.

Prioritize Conservation

Whether you have an ancient thermostat or a new one that knows your heating and cooling preferences better than you do, it’s important to ensure you’ve set it to optimize your energy usage. If you’re still adjusting the temperature with an old mercury thermostat it might be time to consider upgrade. The less energy you use, the more money you save. Our expert technicians have provided more conservation tips to help make sure your heating and cooling systems are running at peak efficiency.