How Does a Thermostat Work?
Your thermostat may seem like a minor part of the HVAC system but in reality, it performs a very important task. Read our guide to thermostats and learn more about how to choose the right one for your needs.
How Does a Thermostat Work?
Your thermostat is essentially the “control center” for your home’s temperature. It commands your HVAC system, which in turn regulates the heating and cooling within each room. A thermostat typically operates in one of two ways.
1. Analog Thermostats
In simple terms, an analog thermostat uses a bi-metal strip that connects to a thermometer. The metal expands and constricts with the temperature change, causing contacts to touch one another. The contacts in turn connect to a mercury bulb, which signals the temperature connections to act.
2. Digital Thermostats
Again, put simply, digital thermostats are computer-operated. The thermometer reads the temperature and then signals the computer-chip, which signals the HVAC system that it’s time to turn on or off.
What Are the Different Types of Thermostat?
Non-programmable thermostats are basic, manual thermostats that you adjust on your own time, at your own will. This type of thermostat is great for homeowners who work from home or are hardly ever gone. But for the majority, a digital thermometer offers the ability to program and control your HVAC system remotely. Whether you set a programmable controller or adjust the temperature yourself, you can save money by only heating or cooling your home when it’s wanted or needed.
1. Programmable Thermostats
This type of thermostat allows you to pre-program temperatures on a daily or weekly basis. Programmable thermostats are handy when you travel a lot, as you can set the temperature to shut off while you are gone and kick back on before you get home.
2. Wi-Fi Thermostats
A step up from regular programmable thermostats, wi-fi thermostats allow you to adjust the temperature in your home from your electronic devices.
3. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats automatically adjust themselves to your living pattern and control the temperature based on your preferences. You can still override this type of thermostat and change the preferences, but very little work is needed on your part.
Which Thermostat is Right for Your Home?
Every homeowner possesses a unique set of needs. To determine which thermostat fits your needs, ask yourself the following questions.
How often are you home?
If you aren’t home often, a non-programmable thermostat will likely cost you more money.
How big is your home?
Sometimes, zoning systems work well for large homes. A zoning system allows you to control the temperature in individual rooms using a digital thermostat.
How many occupants share your home?
Multi-occupant households make great candidates for zoning systems. Often, everyone prefers a different temperature. Smart thermostats can make everyone happy.
Do you travel for business?
Digital thermostats are great options for travelers. Even though the upfront cost of a programmable, wi-fi, or smart thermostat is more than that of a non-programmable thermostat, it will likely save you money on your utility bill.