When it comes to thermostats, you might think there is not much to think about. But, there are actually many different kinds, with the optimal choice for your home being dependent on a number of factors. So, if you are in the market for a new one, here are some helpful tips for guiding your purchase.
Type of Heating and Cooling System
The first consideration is the type of heating and cooling system you have. Once you know, you can easily pick the proper thermostat, as the compatible systems are typically listed on the packaging.
The most common type of system is the single stage, which means the furnace has one level of heating output, and you have a separate AC unit. If you take a look at the wires behind your current thermostat, you will usually have six or fewer wires coming out from the wall.
The second type of system is multi-stage heating, which means you have two levels of heating in the home—such as a furnace and a solar panel for example. The second level is typically called an ‘emergency’ heat setting.
The third type is a heat pump, which both cools and heats the home. There is no separate air conditioning unit.
The fourth type of system is a multi-stage heat pump. There is more than one system, and the heat pump is the ‘emergency’ source that was mentioned earlier. It is a preferred back up because it can work really face to heat and cool the home.
The fifth type of system is a line voltage system, which works though sending a direct current, and is common in older homes—if you have gas heating, you do not have this type of system.
Types of Thermostats
Now that you know what type of system you have, you need to evaluate the different types of thermostats.
Learning thermostats are not programmable, but it ‘learns’ your habits as you use them, automatically adjusting themselves based on your habits. They work by connecting to the wi-fi, and you can manage them through any device at your home or remotely.
Remote energy management thermostats allow you to manage them online from anywhere.
Programmable thermostats are the best choice if energy efficiency is a primary concern, as you can set them to adjust the temperature throughout the day. Set your preferred temps for various times of day, and you are done. There are different types of programmable thermostats. Some allow you to set each day of the week separately, while others allow you to set a schedule for during the week, and another schedule for the weekend. Then there are programs that allow for a five-day setting, and separate settings for Saturday and Sunday. And last but not least, thermostats that allow for one setting for all seven days.
Digital non-programmable thermostats allow for the easy to read display common of programmable thermostats, but allow you to manually control the temp at all times. Then there are manual thermostats with the good old lever and mercury thermometer. These latter options are good for people who are very particular about their temperature settings and spend a lot of time at home.
There are various features that enhance the functionality of the thermostat, and here are just a few that may be of interest. Touch screen controls make it easy to alter settings. If you need to adjust the thermostat in little to no light, look for one that has a backlit display panel. Some have indicator lights that alert you to a low battery or that the furnace is in need of a new filter. Keyboard locks can keep children from tampering, or others in the house from messing with your established settings. Vacation mode allows you to adjust the temperature from your normal settings, and kick back up to normal upon your return.