6 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Thermostat

You may not pay your thermostat much attention, but it’s an important part of your HVAC system. Without it, your system wouldn’t know when to turn on or how long to run for. It’s time this important device gets the credit it deserves, so here are six things you didn’t know about your thermostat.

1.      How your thermostat works

Your thermostat acts as the command center for your HVAC system, taking temperature readings in order to send on/off signals to your air conditioner or heater. Its temperature sensor activates a switch that either sends electricity to the HVAC system to power it on or cuts off the electrical circuit to power it off.

Wifi-enabled smart thermostats take this basic mechanism to the next level. Smart thermostats learn your schedule, behaviors, and temperature preferences. They then use this information to automatically adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day. You can manage your smart thermostat from your phone or computer for added control. In our 3-Step Guide to Choosing the Right Thermostat, we weigh the pros and cons of smart and traditional thermostats to help you make the best buying decision.

2.      Where you should, and shouldn’t, install your thermostat

The location of your thermostat can greatly impact the amount of energy your home uses. An area of a room that’s very hot, or very cold, can fool your thermostat into thinking that the temperature of the room is higher, or lower, than it actually is. The ideal thermostat location is:

  • Centrally located, on an interior wall of a room that your family uses often
  • Mounted at a height of 52–60 inches above the floor
  • Away from windows, doors, and skylights
  • Away from lamps, entertainment centers, and televisions
  • Not in, nor near, the kitchen
  • Comfortably distanced from air vents

You should also ensure that your thermostat is located away from spots in your home that are prone to temperature fluctuations. These include exterior walls, rarely used rooms, and walls that are near windows or doors. Temperature fluctuations can lead to incorrect readings and could lead to your HVAC system running more often than it should.

If your thermostat location doesn’t fit the criteria above, the next step is to move it to a location that checks all the boxes. In some cases, this project could involve calling a professional. Depending on how far you’re moving the thermostat, you may need to cut open the wall and reroute wires. However, if you’re simply moving the thermostat a short distance, such as up or down the same wall, or to a nearby adjacent wall, you may be able to move it on your own by following a simple tutorial. When in doubt, call in the pros before proceeding.

3.      How your thermostat can save you money

With the help of a programmable thermostat, you can use less energy and spend less on your monthly energy bills. These thermostats allow you to set the temperature in your home based on your schedule. After some quick programming, the thermostat will automatically increase or decrease the temperature without further input from you. Most programmable thermostats offer the following settings:

  • 7-day model: If your schedule changes daily, this model allows you to set a different temperature schedule for every day of the week.
  • 5+2-day model: This model allows you to set a temperature schedule for weekdays and for weekends.
  • 5+1+1 model: With this model, you can customize even further by setting a specific temperature schedule for both Saturday and Sunday.

While programmable thermostats are more expensive to purchase and install than manual ones, they can save you money in the long run. According to the EPA, homeowners can save around $180 a year by using a programmable thermostat.

4.      How to reset your thermostat

After a power outage, your thermostat might not turn back on right away. While many thermostats have backup battery power, others rely on power from the home’s main circuit breaker. You’ll need to locate and reset the breaker in order to get your thermostat back up and running.

You should be able to find your circuit breaker box tucked away in the garage, a closet, or on the exterior of your home. Once you do, look inside the breaker box and circuit labeled “air conditioner” or “HVAC.” Check and see if it’s been tripped from “on” to a neutral position. If it has, reset the circuit by turning it off and then back on. Wait 30 minutes before turning your thermostat back on to ensure that the system has time to rest its internal circuit breaker.

5.      The pros of a zoned HVAC system with multiple thermostats

Instead of having temperature swings throughout the entire home, a zoned HVAC system allows you to create multiple zones to address unique cooling or heating needs relevant to your comfort settings. Each zone is controlled independently with its own thermostat, breaking up areas with similar exposure into manageable pieces to ensure best overall comfort. The pros of a zoned HVAC system with multiple thermostats include:

  • Balanced temperature distribution
  • Lower monthly energy consumption
  • Lower energy bills
  • And more

Many contractors and companies don’t have the experience and knowledge necessary to work with zoned systems, but Chas Roberts does. We install and repair the following zoned HVAC systems:

6.      The best temperature to set your thermostat to

There’s no one right temperature for every home because every home is different. But, when it comes to energy efficiency during the cooling season, you can save as 10% a year on your utility bills by turning your thermostat anywhere from 7-10 degrees higher than you usually set it. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends the following as the ideal thermostat settings to maximize cooling and energy efficiency:

  • 78 degrees when you’re home during the day
  • 85 degrees when you’re away from home
  • 82 degrees when you’re sleeping

In the winter, setting the thermostat to 68 degrees can have similar energy saving effects. But, thanks to Arizona’s mild winter temperatures, you may not find you need to adjust your thermostat all that much in the cooler months.

Take control of your HVAC system with Chas Roberts

The thermostat may be the control center of your HVAC system, but you can control the longevity and efficiency of your system with maintenance, repair, and installation services from Chas Roberts. Contact us to get started.