What's a Thermostat?
Basically, a thermostat is a device that regulates temperature. This is accomplished by the device turning heating and cooling devices on and off, or regulating the flow of a heat-transfer fluid to maintain a set temperature.
Do you know what kind of thermostat you have? When a customer calls in with a thermostat issue, it's helpful when they know what thermostat they have. Sometimes, we can even troubleshoot it over the phone!
In this post, we will go over some common thermostat types.
Mechanical/ Non-Programmable/ Manual Thermostat
This type of thermostat is the most basic one you can get. Once you set it to a certain temperature, it will stay at that temperature until it is manually shut off. Much like a traditional light switch, it will stay off until it is manually turned on, and must be manually switched from heating to cooling/ cooling to heating.
Once the most common thermostat available, these are being phased out because they contain mercury.
Digital Non-Programmable Thermostat
This is a mechanical thermostat with a digital readout (like a hand-held calculator). Perfect for people that would rather have a manually controlled device with an easy-to-read display.
The main appeal of programmable thermostats it that the temperature is changed without manual adjustment. Once you set the digital program, the thermostat will regulate temperature on it's own. There are many types of programs available, and we've listed a few common settings below.
- 7 day programming: These thermostats allow you to configure a different setting for each day, which gives the user the most flexibility. You can set up several periods per day, for each day of the week. People with very busy schedules can benefit from the option.
- 5-1-1 programming: This type of programmable thermostat allows you to set one program for the weekdays and different programs for Saturday and Sunday, with the option of programming several periods for each session.
- 5-2 programming: This option allows up to four programmable periods with separate program settings for the weekdays and weekends.
- 1 week programming: Simplest of the programmable thermostat category, letting you set one program for the entire week.
Some wireless thermostats aren't actually wire-less. The "wireless" term is mainly in reference to the way the thermostat communicates with your heating and cooling equipment. There are several options for wireless thermostats including remote indoor sensors, and actual thermostats with no wires.
One of the newest kids on the block, a learning thermostat offers the benefit of being programmable, but doesn’t require you to program it. The more you use it, it will set up programs based on your preferences. These thermostats connect to Wi-Fi and can be monitored, set and managed remotely over Wi-Fi from a computer, smartphone or tablet.
These are best suited for homeowners with a consistent schedule. If there is no consistency, the thermostat will not be able to come up with a "program".
Today, most high-end equipment comes as a communicating system. The furnace/air handler "talk" to the air conditioner & thermostat. These systems are not wired like traditional systems, but, once complete, offer advanced features ranging from troubleshooting assistance and maintenance warnings to better suited system performance.
Like with everything in life, each category has it's own set of pros and cons, and it's best to consider your lifestyle and needs before making a decision.
Now that we've gone over the main types of thermostat, do you know which one you have? Do you like it, or would you upgrade given the chance? Let us know in the comments.