The best way to think of your thermostat is to consider it as the brain of your entire heating and cooling system. This is a very important component, and it has a direct effect on efficacy and energy efficiency. If your thermostat is malfunctioning or it has seen better days, you’re likely to benefit from an upgrade. The HVAC industry is a fast moving field, with innovations made on a regular basis. When you upgrade to a new programmable or smart thermostat, you may be surprised at how it can change your life for the better. Let’s take a closer look at thermostat upgrades, how they are replaced, and how they can improve your home comfort.
3 Thermostat Upgrades Explained
There are three main benefits when you upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat in your home.
- Smart Programming Options
Most modern thermostats now have smart programming options to make your life easier and more comfortable without breaking the bank. The smart thermostat will analyze your cooling and heating habits and make tiny adjustments to boost efficiency. These changes are so accurate and minor that it isn’t likely that you will notice any difference at all. But, over time, your energy use will be far more efficient, and that is great for your bank balance and the environment.
- Taking Environmental Readings
A smart thermostat can analyze the conditions outside your home too. So, it can make adjustments to account for the current humidity levels in your area, high winds, and other weather phenomena. These external factors can have a major effect on the cooling or heating needs to maintain your indoor comfort levels. The smart thermometer will automatically make any necessary changes, and you will not notice a difference at all. But, behind the scenes, your energy use will be lowered, and the strain on your heating and cooling equipment will be lowered. Over time this will reduce the need for repairs and extend the useful lifespan of your HVAC system.
- Exploring Remote Programming
The smart thermostat can be linked to your favorite mobile device via WiFi. With a handy app, you can control your HVAC system in real time, on the go, with your phone or tablet or computer. So, you can turn it on and off, change the temperature, analyze the energy use, and other aspects of your HVAC system from anywhere with a stable connection. This is often a revolutionary change for many new users, and it can be tricky to understand the ramifications. The homeowner is no longer tied to the timer. It can be changed in real time; if you’re going to be 15 minutes late, you can change when the HVAC system turns on.
How Do You Know if Your Thermostat has Malfunctioned?
The usual reason to change a thermostat is that it’s broken. But, this can be tricky to diagnose because you may think that the problems lie with your HVAC system instead. Remember, the thermostat is the brain of your entire system, and if something is wrong, it’s always a good idea to check the thermostat first. If you don’t have experience working with HVAC equipment, it’s a good idea to contact a local HVAC specialist to check your thermostat for you. There are five common thermostat problems to look out for, they are:
- The thermostat will not respond to input.
- The HVAC system is not responding to thermostat changes.
- The indoor temperature is wrong if measured with a separate thermometer.
- The HVAC system will not turn off when the desired temperature is reached.
- A battery powered thermostat drains batteries too quickly.
In some cases, these types of problems are caused by a buildup of dust on the internal thermostat sensor. If you remove the thermostat case and clean the unit surfaces with a vacuum cleaner attachment or a blast of clean air, you may be able to restore normal functionality. But, if this doesn’t work, it’s time to call an HVAC professional to take a look at the thermostat. The thermostat may be repairable, some people like to stick with the same thermostat for decades, and that may be possible. But, if the thermostat is uneconomical to fix or beyond repair, it’s time to consider a replacement.
Programmable vs. Smart Thermostat
If you decide to switch to a new thermostat, the next choice is between a programmable or smart unit. Both options will be better than an old manual thermostat, but it’s important to understand that they work in different ways. Let’s take a look at the advantages of programmable and smart thermostats in more detail.
The Programmable Thermostat
A digital programmable thermostat can be purchased for a little more than a standard manual unit. But, they offer far more in the way of money saving features, and they should be considered the base model in terms of a thermostat replacement. There is no advantage in choosing a manual thermostat as a replacement. The exact feature set on a programmable thermostat can vary depending on the make and model. But, they all share the same primary feature; the user can set a different temperature for different times and days in advance. So, when the home is empty and everyone is at work and school, the temperature can be lowered or raised a few degrees depending on the season. These little changes may seem trivial, but over an average year, they can add up to significant energy savings.
The Smart Thermostat
The smart thermostat is the gold standard in HVAC system control at this time. The user can control any aspect of their system in real time from anywhere via an app. We have already highlighted the key features earlier in this article, but this may seem complex to those thinking of making a change. Not to worry, the associated app will typically have a very clean and user friendly interface. Making changes is very simple, and your thermostat will gradually learn your habits and make many of your desired changes automatically.
If you’re concerned about your thermostat and you want to upgrade, contact your local HVAC specialist for expert help and advice.