Types of Home Thermostats and Matching Equipment
A home thermostat dictates the furnace and/or cooling system when to start and stop as temperature in an indoor space fluctuates. This is a very important task, affecting both comfort and energy consumption.
Types of Thermostats
Thermostats may differ in two ways – the way they work and the equipment they are designed to work with. The two key technologies involved are electronic and electromechanical. Both electromechanical and electronic thermostats are compatible with most kinds of electric, oil, gas, and even hydronic heating systems, and also with air conditioners. Electronic thermostats though are more powerful, thanks to an electronic sensing element that is more receptive to temperature ups and downs (as opposed to bi-metal sensors).
A programmable electronic model lets you control room temperature so that, during cold weather, your home can have a fairly low temperature of about 60 degrees as you sleep through the night, and in the morning when you wake up, the temperature would have risen to a comfortable 70 degrees. Or, if nobody’s home during daytime, you can also set the thermostat to cool the house down when you leave, and warm up to a comfortable temperature in the evening when you get home. And so on.
With a programmable thermostat, you can avoid 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. If you do the same at daytime, you can enjoy double the savings.
The Right Thermostat for the Right Equipment
When buying a thermostat, consider the equipment it’s made to control. Some types are exclusively meant for furnaces, while others are compatible with furnaces and heat pumps, air conditioners, and other equipment where operations have several stages, and the requirement for heating and cooling increases.
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.
A complex electronic heat-pump thermostat makes automatic calculations as to when the heat must come on so that a room’s temperature is raised up to the programmed point. It makes the heat pump go from 60 to 61 degrees, then from 61 to 62, and so forth. This makes the electric auxiliary heat think it should stay off.
Finally, zoned heating systems that warm or cool different rooms of a home, depending on the occupants’ needs, require advanced programmable electronic thermostats for managing several zones. These systems can actually fine-tune your settings based on your comfort requirements.