A thermostat is a device that detects temperature changes in order to keep the temperature in an indoor environment consistent. It exerts control by switching heating and cooling systems on or off, making it an essential item for any climate-controlled home or small establishment. While thermostats have been the cornerstone of energy-efficient properties for decades, there are still a number of misconceptions about them. Here, a reputable air condition service provider discusses important things you need to know about the popular climate control device and debunks common myths surrounding it.
How Do Thermostats Work?
In terms of operation, thermostats can be categorized into two types: line-voltage and low-voltage.
- Line-voltage thermostats are used in single heating systems, such as baseboards and radiator systems. This connection travels through the thermostat and into the heater. However, the dilemma with this kind of thermostat is that it may shut off before the entire room has reached the desired or set temperature.
- Low-voltage thermostats are more efficient when it comes to controlling airflow. Because of this, these devices are often used in central heating and air conditioning systems that are powered by electricity, gas or oil. Low-voltage systems allow residents to accurately control the air current as well as make it easier to utilize programmable controls. Unlike line-voltage thermostats that operate on 240 volt (V), low-voltage systems operate on 24V to 50V.
What Are the Types of Thermostats?
It is crucial to understand the various types of thermostats available on the market so you can choose the best wall-control device for your home or business. Here are three basic types:
- Programmable thermostats allow you to fine-tune the temperature based on preset times. This particular feature makes it possible to limit energy consumption since your home or business will not need to be at the preferred temperature when you are out. Basic models of programmable thermostats let you set daytime and nighttime temperatures while more complex devices can be programmed for certain days of the week.
- Mechanical thermostats are the easiest to install and generally more affordable than other thermostats. However, these devices also come with drawbacks. Since models either use either vapor-filled bellows or bi-metallic strips to respond to alterations in temperature, some can be considered unreliable due to their slow response to the rise and fall of temperature. This means it is probable to have a notable difference between the temperature the thermostat is set at and the actual predominant temperature inside the property.
- Electronic thermostats employ electronics to recognize temperatures. This makes them more responsive than mechanical models. They also come in either low-voltage or line-voltage. You can also come across thermostats with programmable and automatic setback features.
What Are the Common Myths About Thermostats?
Myth 1: Using a programmable thermostat automatically will reduce your energy bills. Installing a programmable thermostat does not automatically translate into energy savings. However, operating it in an optimal manner can prevent the need for an emergency air conditioner repair, minimize your energy consumption and, therefore, cut back your energy costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simply turning your thermostat back 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours a day from its normal setting can save you as much as 10% annually on heating and cooling. The percentage is greater for buildings in milder climates than those in severe climates. In the winter, setting the thermostat to 68 degrees while you are awake and setting it lower while you are asleep or away from the property can also help save energy.
Myth 2: Cranking the thermostat lower or higher will cool or heat your home a lot faster. Coming home to a hot or chilly home may tempt you to set the thermostat lower or higher than necessary to reach a comfortable temperature. However, this is not how the HVAC system operates. Modern air conditioning units are designed to cool the entire house evenly. Moreover, the process of cooling or heating your indoor environment happens at a set rate. Generally, your air conditioner, furnace or heat pump will function at the same speed and produce the same amount of cool or heat no matter what the setting on the thermostat is. If you set it way down, it will end up using a lot more energy without positive results. The best thing to do is set the temperature to your desired level and wait until it cools or heats the house or establishment.
Myth 3: Installing the thermostat anywhere in the house or building will not affect its ability to function properly. The location of your thermostat is critical. The device’s direct environment can significantly influence its facility to accurately read the indoor temperature, which in turn, affects the performance of your heating and air conditioning system. It also has an impact on your overall comfort and the HVAC costs associated with it. Ideally, thermostats should be installed in a convenient location and close to zones requiring optimal climate control like bedrooms. You should also avoid placing your thermostats near doorways, direct sunlight, drapery, appliances, vents, registers, drafty areas and the kitchen.
Myth 4: Switching off the air conditioning when you are away will save you money. While there is some truth to this assumption, turning your air conditioning off completely will force the system to work harder to convert an intensely hot house into a more comfortable environment. To create a comfortable heating and cooling schedule for your home during the summer months, set your HVAC system so that it will switch off the air conditioning at least 20 to 30 minutes before you leave and then turn it back on 20 to 30 minutes before you arrive. You can also program the thermostat to reduce the cooling 30 minutes before you go to bed and increase it 30 minutes before you wake up and get ready for the day. Another tip is to manually shut off the air conditioner for days you do not need cooling.
Keep in mind, however, that these techniques only work for traditional air conditioners, boilers and furnaces. If you have a heat pump, steam heat or radiant floor heating, lowering or raising the temperature when you are away will likely cost you more. These systems operate more efficiently when they run at a consistent temperature.
Myth 5: No home really needs more than one thermostat. This is false because even smaller homes can benefit from having more than one thermostat. Homes with multiple heating and cooling zones – upstairs bedrooms and downstairs living areas, for example – will particularly need several thermostats to improve energy efficiency and comfort, and maximize their savings on energy costs. If you have a traditional thermostat that does not support the use of temperature sensors, it may be necessary to install a thermostat in each room.
Contact Us for All Your Heating and Air Conditioning Needs
Keep your home or smaller-scale business comfortable and efficient with premier HVAC contractor, EZ Air Conditioning and Heating. Our certified technicians offer a wide range of industry-leading solutions, including smart thermostat installation, air condition service, heater tune-up and maintenance, heat pump replacement and more. Call our team today at (210) 529-8668, or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment or request a free, no-obligation quote. We serve in San Antonio, TX, and other surrounding areas.