One of the best ways to save money on your energy bills is to invest in a smart or programmable thermostat. These devices will help you to control the heating or cooling more accurately and an upgrade is a smart decision. But, when it’s time to install your new thermostat, does it matter where you place it in your home? The answer may surprise you and we will explore this topic in more detail to help you make an informed decision.
Easy Access is Not the Only Consideration
Many people install their thermostats in an easy to reach, central location. This may be the case even if they have a thermostat to control the heating and cooling on each floor or in a larger home. Unfortunately, this can lead to “thermostat wars” when people are consistently altering the temperature. For this reason, some people prefer to install the unit in a hard to reach location where it’s not easy to access. But, this creates a new problem, the thermostat contains a sensor to measure the indoor temperature. This sensor unit cannot track the temperature at a distance and it must be placed carefully.
2 Placement Areas to Avoid
The best way to think of the thermostat is as the brain for your entire HVAC system. If the temperature sensor cannot take an accurate reading, it will convey inaccurate data to the furnace or air conditioner. Let’s take a look at two placement areas that should be avoided, they are:
1. Brightly Lit or Hot Areas
The thermostat should not be placed in kitchens near stoves or in utility closets or in the laundry room. These units should be kept away from any type of lamp, entertainment centers, computers, gaming consoles, or any other electronics that may generate heat. Avoiding placement near doors, windows, radiators, vents, registers and other similar locations will yield more accurate sensor readings. A prime example would be a thermostat located near a window that receives strong sunlight. The extra heat in this one area may cause the system to turn on when it’s not needed.
2. Cold Areas
It’s also important to avoid placement in locations that are exposed to cold air from outdoors. Some examples include doors, windows, vents, and others. Even a quick blast of cold air can cause the heating system to turn on for no real heating benefit. Even a placement near a refrigerator or freezer can affect the accuracy of the thermostat sensor.
What are the Best Thermostat Locations?
It’s hard to provide a definitive location for your new programmable or smart thermostat because every home is different. But, there are some general guidelines to follow that will make the installation process easier and the thermostat more accurate.
The first thing to consider is the location of your existing thermostat because it may be in the ideal location already. If you lived in the home when this unit was initially installed, it’s likely that you will understand why the thermostat was placed in that location. If you inherited that thermostat when you purchased your home, the decision to locate it there may be a mystery. If you’re not sure about the location, contact your local HVAC specialist and they can install your new thermostat in the ideal location.
General Thermostat Placement Considerations
If you’re installing a new thermostat, it’s a good idea to mount the unit on an interior wall. This area should be easy to access, with decent foot traffic space and good airflow. Many people choose their hallway or a living/family room at the center of the home. The thermostat should be located at eye level for easy programming and 52” up to 60” is optimal. At this height, the hot air rising during heating will not affect the proper functioning of your new thermostat. If you’ve decided to install a smart thermostat it’s important to remember that you need a good WiFi signal. Controlling the unit remotely in real time is one of the standout features of a smart thermostat.
3 Specific Thermostat Placement Considerations
Aside from the general guidelines, there are three specific considerations that you may want to bear in mind for your home, they are:
1. Remote Sensors
Certain thermostat models have remote sensors that can be adjusted to compensate for units that are located in a less than ideal spot. This may sound like the answer to all installation problems, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. The process can be complicated and it’s certainly not a job for a DIY enthusiast. If you’re considering one or more remote sensors for your HVAC system contact an HVAC specialist. They have the experience and knowledge to place the remote sensors in the best locations.
2. Multi-Level Homes
Cool air sinks and hot air rises which can have a dramatic effect on a multi-level home. The upper floor will always feel warmer than the lower floor which can make thermostat placement tricky. The ideal location for the unit is somewhere on a first floor interior wall. The usual placement guidelines apply to avoid damage and get those crucial accurate temperature readings.
3. Your HVAC Contractor
Choosing the best local HVAC contractor is easier if you follow a few simple rules. Don’t go with the least or most expensive estimate, a fairer option is likely to be in the middle ground. But, if you choose a contractor that doesn’t consider the thermostat location carefully it’s time to contact another heating and cooling company.
Hopefully, we’ve demonstrated that the placement of the thermostat is crucial if you want to run your HVAC system efficiently. Poor placement can lead to a number of problems that lower the energy efficiency and place extra strain on their equipment. This can lead to an unexpected repair bill and higher than anticipated energy bills. Investing in a new thermostat is a smart decision, but that investment can be wasted if the placement is incorrect.
If you want to learn more about a professional thermostat installation, contact your local HVAC specialist today.