Choosing a thermostat for your home is more difficult than ever. With manual, digital and smart options available, choosing the thermostat that is best for your home may take more research and planning than in years past. Improvements made to thermostat technology can help your home run more efficiently, which saves you energy and money. If you are looking to upgrade your thermostat, read these tips to ensure you find the right one for your home and HVAC system.
When choosing a thermostat, you want to take into consideration two main factors, compatibility and functionality. This is to say, which thermostats are compatible with your heating and cooling system, and how do they function, manually or automatically.
Choosing a Thermostat Compatible with Your HVAC System
To ensure the thermostat you purchase works with your HVAC system, it is important to do a little homework before you go shopping. You will want to:
- Check your system’s voltage
- Determine your system’s heating/cooling stages
- Make sure the thermostat fits
When you are purchasing a new thermostat, it is important that you find out if your HVAC system is low voltage, millivolt, or high voltage. Your new thermostat will have to be compatible with your HVAC’s voltage requirements.
Next, you will want to ask a professional for some help to determine how many heating and cooling stages your system has. There are several possibilities:
- 1 Stage
- 2 Stage or multi-stage heat or cool
- Direct Line Voltage
- Zoned HVAC
The thermostat you decide to purchase will be clearly marked with one of the possible heating and cooling stages so you can easily identify if it will work or not.
Once you know what voltage thermostat you need and how many heating/cooling stages your system has, you should measure your current thermostat. This way you know what size thermostat you need, so you won’t have to rewire your home to fit a new one.
Choosing the Right Thermostat Functionality
Today, there are many different types of thermostats for you to chose from. Once you have determined the different aspects of your current HVAC system and what your thermostat needs to include in order to support it, you can now select from either a manual, programmable, or smart/WiFi thermostat.
Manual thermostats are the most economical option. With a manual thermostat, you are in control of when your heating or cooling system runs. However, this means running an energy efficient heating/cooling system with a manual thermostat is tough. You will need to physically and constantly change what temperature your thermostat is set to each time you enter and leave your home, as well as before you go to sleep and when you wake up.
If you’re looking to save energy and money on a more automated basis, you can purchase a programmable thermostat. This type of thermostat will allow you to set heating and cooling schedules. With some programmable thermostats you can even create a work week and weekend schedule, or a work week, Saturday, and Sunday schedule. This type of thermostat can help you save energy in a more hands-off manor than the mechanical thermostat.
Finally, there is the smart/WiFi thermostat. These thermostats are the most efficient, and therefore can help you save the most energy. Although there are many smart thermostat options, they all function similarly. Instead of presetting a schedule for your heating/cooling system, smart/WiFi thermostats learn your habits and routines. They also keep track of where you are, either via motion sensor, or geolocating through a mobile app. Once you leave your home, smart thermostats will increase or decrease your heating/cooling system depending on the temperature. These thermostats also pair well with different home assistants, such as Alexa.
To learn more about saving energy in your home, take a look at: 6 Steps to a More Energy-Efficient Home.