A thermostat is the last thing many homeowners think about. A rather underrated gadget, the thermostat is quintessential for ensuring that the HVAC system installed in your home works as intended and keeps you and your family from freezing or sweating in the peak of summer. This gadget can be easily set to turn your air conditioning, or heating on or off, and also allows you to dictate what the temperature in your home must be set to. When installed and used responsibly, a thermostat can be your greatest buddy in bringing down your power bills. Therefore, when hunting for the right thermostat for your home, it is advisable you choose one with an Energy Star symbol so as to further optimize your cooling and heating use. In this article, we will go over some common types of thermostats and their pros and cons so as to make your shopping experience less frustrating.
Before we go into the various types of thermostats that you can put your money into, let us first explain what a thermostat really is. Basically, a thermostat is a device or gadget that is used to regulate the cooling and heating system in households and commercial setups. By controlling the HVAC system, a thermostat eventually regulates humidity level and temperature in such setups.
There are different types of thermostat devices for domestic usage, available on the market. They can be manual, partly or fully automated. However, broadly speaking, most thermostats can be segregated into two categories – electronic and electromechanical. There are subcategories under these two types. Both types of thermostats work with varying types of oil, gas, electric energy and different air conditioning systems.
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Different Types of Thermostat
Not everyone needs the same type of thermostats for home usage. Factors like budget, usage needs, and climate conditions have to be analyzed when selecting a thermostat model and type for residential usage.
1. Non-programmable Thermostats
If you are someone who swears by technology, you may be surprised they make such units still! This is the most basic and affordable kind of thermostat available on the market. Non-programmable thermostats are popularly known as manual thermostats. This is because the settings can be tweaked manually by the user himself. You have to turn on the cooling and the heating system manually, set the temperature and operate the system fan using switches. Most models feature an LED panel that displays the temperature and a temperature up and down button. Some thermostats of this kind come with attractive features like backlighting, digital display, and even a touchscreen. This is the perfect unit if you are someone who doesn’t like any fuss and are okay with pressing on a button and waiting for your home to heat or cool. Let us not forget these thermostats are reasonably priced and despite not having many bells and whistles do their job quite well!
2. Programmable Thermostats
These thermostats are a step above the age-old non-programmable thermostats. These thermostats can make your life a lot easier, especially if you are beginning to lose your patience with a non-programmable one. They come in a number of designs. While some are basic and allow you to choose a different temperature for the morning and a different one for the evening, there are others that allow you to program the temperature for different times for different days. There are certain models that make room for as many as four separate temperatures in a 24-hour period.
The programmable thermostats are ideal for people who do not want to tweak the temperature manually and yet do not want to deal with high-end tech. These types of thermostats are meant to run as per pre-programmed settings. They can be set to run at specific heating and cooling schedules-on weekdays and weekends. You may also set the settings to alter temperature a few times a day at suitable intervals.
3. Mechanical Thermostats
Mechanical thermostats are a kind of line voltage thermostats, which are extremely easy to install. The thermostats start operating when they are triggered by metal bars, which heat up and cool down quickly. There are either bi-metallic strips or vapor-filled bellows, which respond to the differences in the temperatures. These are the easiest and the cheapest thermostats available in the market. In many older houses and establishments, such thermostats are readily available.
4. Wireless Thermostats
Contrary to the perception, the Wireless Thermostats are not entirely free of wires! These devices are connected to the home heating and cooling system much like other types of thermostat. However, these devices can be controlled remotely using either a remote control or your smartphone. These devices have inbuilt Wi-Fi and can be paired to your home’s Wi-Fi network rather easily.
5. Touch Screen Thermostats
Touchscreen technology is taking the world by storm. It is found everywhere these days, and thermostats haven’t been able to escape the trend. This type of unit completely eliminates fiddling with buttons. These thermostats come in two variants – non-programmable and smart. These units look sleek and are easier to operate than the older units that feature push-button or knob-based controls. These are ideal for technology savvy users. With these devices, altering temperature or humidity by a very small degree can be easily achieved by a few quick steps. Since everything is controlled via the touch screen, the interface is rather cluttered free and intuitive. However, some users may find it annoying and difficult to fix if a program gets messed up.
6. Smart Thermostats
Smart thermostats are aimed at millennials who go gaga over tech! These devices can be synced with new era home automation setups in a few quick steps. They can be controlled via smartphone apps, thereby eliminating manual operation. Some of the latest models also come with voice-based control. They are compatible with Google Assistant or Alexa, and makes it rather easy to operate. Not only are these devices easy to use, but they also feature digital display and touch controls. These units boast of a simple user interface, and can be programmed and controlled even by kids!
Features to look out for while choosing a Thermostat for Your Home
Before you actually buy a thermostat for home use, a few practical aspects should be assessed and analyzed.
The budget can be a decisive factor for a section of buyers. Look into not just the cost to buy the device, but also how well it can regulate your HVAC system. Its impact on the overall energy bill needs to be assessed. This can be done by sifting through reviews on the thermostat you have zeroed in on, on various consumer forums. User reviews will give you a good insight on how easy the thermostat can be operated, how efficient it is, and whether it is value for money indeed.
It is also necessary to check the types of thermostat wiring required. In some cases, the existing HVAC wiring may need to be changed or enhanced. Compatibility of the thermostat with your HVAC system must also be ascertained. Call in an expert to check your existing heating and cooling system, if necessary.
Though you may be inclined to buy a thermostat manufactured by a specific brand, carefully weigh its pros and cons before you pay the bill. Also, be sure to check the warranty offered and the after-sales service provided by the company when buying a thermostat for your home.