THE PATHFINDER TO YOUR THERMOSTAT
The most important things to know
to choose meaningfully.
Thermostats are devices that monitor the temperature of physical space and that switch on and off the heating and the cooling systems to meet a predefined temperature.
While traditional thermostats have been mostly limited to the previously presented scope, newer versions of thermostats offer some additional functionalities. Internet-connected thermostats allow you to manage the device from remote, increasing the control over your home conditions even when you are away. Weekly and daily schedules and many other rules can be set, not just from the thermostat itself, but also from a smartphone, a tablet or any other compatible device. Some thermostats support a geofencing feature for which they automatically turn off and on when you leave home or when they detect that you are in your way back home. Most of them provide you energy consumption reports, inform you when a specific limit of consumption is overpassed or even notify you in case some potential issues that could lead to significant problems are detected. Some other thermostats additionally adjust the temperature based, not just on the temperature detected by the thermostat itself, but on the occupancy and temperature readings that they do from other thermal sensors distributed in different rooms of the house.
When thermostats are correctly used, they can have a significant impact on your bills, by increasing energy efficiency, and on your health, by decreasing the risk of developing respiratory illnesses and improving your overall comfort.
Time saved thanks to autonomous regulation of the thermostat.
Quality of life improved thanks to self-regulated ambience temperature.
Peace of mind increased thanks to direct access to temperature and energy consumption reports.
Savings increased by optimizing consumption based on home occupancy.
Thermostats can be classified considering the voltage and heating systems used at home. The two types are:
These are usually used with heaters powered by electricity like convection, radiant or resistance heaters. A line voltage thermostat converts the electricity (operates on the line voltage of 120 volts or, as in most cases, 240 volts) to heat and they can be 2-wire single pole or 4-wire double pole. You can quickly check that by removing the cover of your thermostat.
These are usually used with central systems that use gas, electricity and oil as a central furnace, boiler or heat pump. These are more efficient when compared to Line Voltage Thermostats as the heat is produced directly from the primary system, and there is no use of electricity to create heat. They typically operate between 24 volts and 50 volts and they can be used to turn on and off different devices to regulate temperatures such as pumps, air conditioners or fans.
Before buying a thermostat, the are some variables that you may want to consider:
Make sure that the thermostat is compatible with your heating and cooling system. Line Voltage Thermostats present two wires or four wires behind the cover of the thermostat. Low Voltage Thermostats, which are the most common types present six or more wires behind the cover of the thermostat.
Most thermostats require a C-wire (common wire) to provide continuous power for some features like Wi-Fi connectivity. In case your existing thermostat does not present the C-wire you might want to choose a thermostat with a power adapter or extender (this allows you to add a C-wire) or to buy it apart to a third party. As well some thermostats specify that you do not need a C-wire, but some HVAC specialist does not advise this option as it could report problems to the system.
Some thermostats can be paired to additional remote sensors that are placed in different rooms of the house. This feature might be of your interest in case you want to avoid hot and cold spots in your homes and eventually increase the comfort of just that rooms that are occupied.
Some thermostats support the geofencing feature, turning off or changing into "away" mode when you leave home and turning on again once you reach a predefined distance from home.
Some thermostats can learn from your habits and schedules and to automatically adapt to new patterns. It is not perfect, but this feature might be of your interest in case you follow a quite standard routine.