Lessons Learned from Years with Equipment

Types of Home Thermostats and Matching Equipment

A home thermostat decides when the furnace and/or cooling system should turn on and off as temperature in an enclosed space fluctuates. As it impacts both comfort and energy use, this is one important job.

Types of Thermostats

Thermostats may differ in two ways – the way they work and the equipment they are designed to work with. Two core technologies are responsible – electromechanical and electronic. Both electronic and electromechanical thermostats work are suitable for air conditioners, as well as for all gas, electric, oil, and hydronic heating systems. However, electronic thermostats provide significantly more control, with an electronic sensing element that is more sensitive to temperature fluctuations (compared to bi-metal sensors).

A programmable electronic thermostat lets you set room temperature such that in the cold months, your home’s temperature can drop to a fairly low level – for instance, 60 degrees – as you go to bed, and then increase to a comfy 70 degrees as you wake up the next morning. Or, if the house is empty during the day, the thermostat can be set to cool it while you’re away at work, and raise the temperature to a nice warmth by the time you come home. And so on and so forth.

A programmable thermostat can help you eliminate wasted energy. Experts estimate for every degree a thermostat is set down with a period of 24 hours, you save 3 percent of energy costs. Thus, if you lower the temperature from 70 degrees to 61 degrees within eight hours nightly, your energy savings can reach at least 9 percent. By doing the same during daytime, your savings double.
Thermostat versus Equipment

When buying a thermostat, consider the equipment it’s made to control. There are types that are only meant for furnaces, while others can work with furnaces as well as air conditioners, heat pumps, or other equipment with multi-stage operations where the requirement for heating and cooling rises.

A lot of thermostats also come with adjustments – a small switch at the back, for example, or wires connected in configurations that go with the equipment – that allow them to adapt to the systems they have to work with.

An advanced heat-pump thermostat makes automatic calculations as to the timing of the heat so that the room’s temperature is increased up to the point you have set. It makes the heat pump go from 60 to 61 degrees, then from 61 to 62, and so forth. This fools the electric auxiliary heat into believing it must remain off.

Lastly, zoned heating systems that cool or warm several rooms in a home, depending on the user’s needs, rely on sophisticated programmable electronic thermostats that enable them to manage more than one zone. These systems can actually fine-tune your settings based on your comfort requirements.