Is it Time for a New Thermostat?

Your thermostat acts as the command center that sends important signals to your A/C and heating system. Like any piece of technology, eventually your thermostat starts to show its age. When that day comes, you may wonder if it’s time for an upgrade, or if a repair would suffice instead. Here’s how you can tell if it’s time to get a new thermostat.

The thermostat isn’t responding

If your thermostat isn’t responding, a larger issue may be at play. Or, the solution could be as simple as switching out the batteries. You can use the troubleshooting steps below to see if the problem can be fixed.

Check the settings

It may seem obvious, but double check that your thermostat is on the correct setting for the season. For example, if it’s set to COOL or OFF in the winter, it stands to reason that you won’t be getting any warm air.

Replace the batteries

If your thermostat isn’t responding, it may be time to replace the batteries. Some thermostats are wired to a home’s electrical system, but many use batteries. Battery-powered thermostats typically display a low battery warning before the battery goes dead completely, but this can be easily overlooked.

To locate the batteries in your thermostat, take off its cover. The back panel of the cover should tell you where the batteries are located, and give you instructions for replacing them. If not, consult your thermostat’s manual.

Clean the thermostat

If your home is older, you might have a mechanical thermostat as opposed to a newer digital one. Mechanical thermostats use a lever to adjust the temperature setting by hand, rather than by setting the input on a digital screen. They’re also prone to malfunctioning when they get too dusty. To fix this, clean the thermostat by removing the cover and carefully dusting inside with a small brush.

The thermostat is un-calibrated

A well-calibrated thermostat can be the difference between a cozy home that feels just right and a home that can’t seem to ever reach a comfortable temperature. If your thermostat isn’t calibrated properly, there will be a disconnect between the temperature it displays and the actual temperature of the room. In addition, your system may run more often than it needs to, leading to wasted energy and higher utility bills.

The standard deviation between actual indoor temperature and what your thermostat displays is two degrees. If the difference is higher, it’s best to either have the thermostat re-calibrated or replaced altogether if re-calibration doesn’t solve the problem.  Manual thermostats always have to be replaced if they become uncalibrated. However, programmable thermostats can be re-calibrated by a professional.

Your energy bills are increasing

If your thermostat isn’t sending the correct temperature readings to your air conditioner, your system may end up working harder and using more energy in the process. Plus, if you have an older thermostat without programmable features, you may be using more energy than you need to by keeping your home at the same temperature all day.

Depending on the model you choose, you can save energy and money with the modern efficiency settings. According to the EPA, homeowners can save around $180 a year by using a programmable thermostat and setting it to raise/lower temperature depending on the time of day. For ultimate control, consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostat. Smart thermostats like Nest are able to “learn” from your usage patterns over time and will eventually adjust the temperature to your daily habits and the changing seasons.

Starting off on the right foot with a new thermostat

If you decide to upgrade to a new thermostat, use the tips below to make sure you get the most out of your new purchase.

Weigh the pros and cons of different models

Before you buy a new thermostat, start weighing the pros and cons of each thermostat you have in mind. That way, you can decide if there are any deal breakers or if the pros outweigh any potential cons.

Manual

Manual thermostats are cost-effective and ideal for homeowners who want a no-frills thermostat experience and aren’t necessarily interested in the latest gadgets.

Pros:

  • Easy to control
  • Low cost
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • No flexibility in temperature settings
  • Not the most energy efficient

Programmable

Programmable thermostats are available in several different models. Each one offers different levels of temperature customization depending on the days of the week or weekends.

Pros:

  • Interactive display
  • Ability to set multiple temperatures
  • Considerable savings on energy bills

Cons:

  • Higher initial cost than manual thermostats

Smart/Wi-fi enabled

Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled devices that can be controlled from your smartphone, computer, or tablet, allowing you to set the temperature in your home from practically anywhere.

Pros:

  • Remote access
  • Energy savings
  • Sleek and modern design

Cons:

  • Not compatible with all systems
  • Dependent on Wi-Fi connection
  • Higher initial costs

Install it in the right location

Once you’ve picked out your new thermostat, you need to ensure that you install it in the correct location. Ideally, your thermostat’s location should check all these boxes:

  • 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

While that may seem like a lot of requirements, the good news is that a Chas Roberts profressional would be more than happy to install your thermostat in an ideal location for you.

Set your temperature efficiently

There’s no “one size fits all” perfect temperature for your home. But, if efficiency if your goal, you can use your new thermostat to your advantage. 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.

How Chas Roberts can help

Your thermostat is just one element of your overall A/C and heating system. For all of your home comfort questions, turn to the experts at Chas Roberts. Contact us today for repairsreplacements, installations and more.

 

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