August 25th, 2017

Fall is here and you’ve turned on your furnace. There’s only one problem: your house keeps swinging from nippy to sweltering. And every time it goes too far in one direction, you have to patter down to the basement to adjust valves, dampers or the furnace itself. What a drag! Fortunately, this changed with the invention of the thermostat!

How Thermostats Control Temperature

The basic way that thermostats control temperature is by sensing the space temperature and sending a signal to equipment to make changes until the temperature matches the set point. How the thermostat does this depends on what it’s connected to. For furnaces, the thermostat might turn the fan and burner on to increase the temperature and turn it off when the temperature is just right. Air conditioning control works by turning on the fan and unit when the temperature gets too high. Some thermostats are connected to valves that open and close to allow hot water into a radiator when the temperature drops.

Types of Thermostats

Thermostats come in three basic flavors: programmable, non-programmable and smart. Programmable thermostats allow you to save multiple set points for daytime, nighttime and weekends (depending on the thermostat itself). This allows you to save on energy when you don’t need as much heating or cooling while you’re at work, for example. A thermostat set to a lower temperature at night (known as night setback) is a common way to save on energy as well, without having to remember to manually turn down the temperature before bed.

Non-programmable thermostats are your basic manual thermostats that you set and change as needed. They can be dial type where you turn a dial to set the temperature, or digital. If you want to lower the setting on a winter’s day while you’re out of the house, you’ll have to make sure you do it manually before you rush out the door.

Smart thermostats give you the benefits of programmable thermostats with added features. Many of them learn your habits and change settings according to your inputs and whether you’re home or not. You can control the temperature in your home from an app so you save on energy when you’re away but come home to a comfortable temperature.

Making the Right Choice

If you need help choosing the right thermostat, and installing it, give us a call and we’ll help keep your home at that just-right temperature day and night, season after season.