A thermostat is a temperature–sensitive device that turns HVAC systems on and off when the temperature of an environment reaches a preset level. Essentially, it turns on the air conditioning when it gets too warm, or the heating when it gets too chilly. Thermostats control the workings of comfort systems by directing energy to the appropriate system when needed. When selecting a thermostat, property owners can either go for simple manual thermostats or sophisticated electronic thermostats that provide improved functionality and highly efficient operations. Thanks to the easy to understand packaging and universal compatibility, choosing a thermostat is easy.
Systems that Use a Thermostat
Single–stage heating systems have one electrical or gas heating device, which may consist of a heater or an AC device as well. Most units that use natural gas provide single–stage heating. Usually, a single–stage thermostat should have room for three wires if the system handles heating only. However, if the system handles heating and cooling, the thermostat will have to accommodate five wires or less.
Multi–stage systems have a standard electrical or gas heating device as well as an emergency and/or auxiliary heating device. The emergency or auxiliary heating kicks in when temperatures drop faster than the standard heater can handle, or if the standard heater fails. Line voltage systems, on the other hand, use direct current. Homeowners should choose line voltage thermostats that can handle additional conducted power.
Difference between Manual and Programmable Thermostats
Electromechanical or anual thermostats are the traditional mercury units that have internal coils to contract and expand in response to changes in temperature. They are becoming obsolete because of two main reasons:
• Products containing mercury are banned or restricted in most states
• Programmable thermostats are more accurate and sensitive to temperature changes
However, manual thermostats are still popular due to their ease of use, low cost, and the familiarity of their controls.
Digital manual thermostats use an electronic sensor to register temperature changes in an environment and then compare those changes to the preset settings. If there is a difference, the thermostat sends a warning to the cooling or heating system that immediate action is required. However, users still have to physically adjust the settings to their preferred level.
Programmable thermostats are an upgrade from the manual thermostats. In addition to saving energy costs, they allow homeowners to program their preferred temperature settings into the unit’s memory, along with the time of day they would like the changes to occur.
For most homes, a pre–programmed thermostat does not need any adjustment. Homeowners simply need to install it and they are ready. When determining the right thermostat, homeowners should consider the flexibility and functionality they need from day to day. Call us to learn more about home thermostats or to install a new programmable thermostat today.