5 Types of Thermostats- Which is the best fit for your home?
July 12, 2018
The most common discussion we have with homeowners regarding their HVAC equipment typically revolves around their thermostat. All homeowners maintain a minimal expectation that their A/C and furnace will operate as it should, but how exactly do you make sure you are optimizing the use of your system? What temperature should the thermostat be set at? Should it be altered for the times when you are not home? What features are the most beneficial to your lifestyle? In this quick list, we aim to help homeowners to better understand the ideal thermostat for their home.
1. Mechanical: $
The mechanical thermostat has been around since the invention of central heating and air conditioning. The beauty of its design is the simplicity. Though mercury thermostats have long since been discontinued, replacement mechanical thermostats are still available. Most will have a dial or a lever which is used to slide to a desired temperature. But as you may imagine they are not accurate nor are they quick to respond to requested temperature changes. Mechanical thermostats are only accurate to within about 3* of your setpoint. So that 72* you have it set for may be as cool as 69* or as warm as 75* before it responds to turn your system on/off. Though flawed in regards to efficiency, they are the easiest to operate and are ideal for the homeowner who prefers to keep things simple.
2. Non-Programmable: $
The non-programmable thermostat has slowly taken over the mechanical style as digital is a far more accurate tool. This thermostats sole purpose is to maintain a temperature until you instruct it to do otherwise. Set it and forget it. Digital thermostats are accurate to within 1* of your desired temperature. So keep in mind, if you upgrade from a mechanical style there will likely be a temperature discrepancy from your former unit. The 72* you once knew may no longer be cozy when you upgrade to digital. It’s just a matter of finding the temperature which is comfortable to you. The non-programmable thermostat is a great option for home-bodies or retirees. If you don’t have a set routine from day to day, or don’t anticipate being away from home for long periods of time you may find all you need in this simple, yet efficient design.
3. Programmable: $$ (Qualifies for $25 Spire Rebate)
The programmable thermostat allows you to set a temperature program that fits your daily schedule. Save money by setting the temperature back when no one is home. Improve comfort by automatically returning to your ideal temperature when everyone returns from school or work. Sleep better when the thermostat adjusts accordingly overnight. Within this type are three variations: the 7 day, the 5-1-1 and the 5-2. The 7 day lets you set an individual program for each day of the week. The 5-1-1 allows an independent program for Monday-Friday and then a varied schedule for both Saturday and Sunday. Lastly, the 5-2 simplifies your schedule to weekdays and weekends. The programmable thermostat is a popular option to tackle the 9-5 work week as well as the kid’s school schedule. No sense in wasting money to heat and cool a home when no one’s there.
4. WiFi/Learning: $$$ (Qualifies for Ameren $50 rebate and Spire $25 rebate)
The latest trend in whole-home automation is the WiFi thermostat, like the Carrier Cor. This product allows you to control the comfort of your home from anywhere in the world. Yes, the world. Some learning thermostat models will even program themselves based on the temperature changes you make. When you make adjustments as you leave for work, or go to school, or go to bed, this smart model learns your preferences and starts setting itself for you. This significantly increases the efficiency of your system as well as saving you time and money. Most models can even track the energy usage of your equipment based on runtime and will make recommendations to improve your efficiency. Though the price point is higher than a standard programmable model, these units will help pay for themself quicker than most any other option. This thermostat is ideal for families with constantly changing schedules or homeowners who travel. If you ever forget to turn your thermostat back when you’re away from home for days on end, this will quickly enable you to do so. In the same manner, when you are on your way home you can reset the system to your desired temp so a comfortable home is awaiting your arrival.
5. Communicating: $$$$ (Qualifies for Ameren $50 rebate and Spire $25 rebate)
The communicating thermostat is a specialized unit which can only work with the best residential HVAC equipment such as Carrier’s INFINITY line. It’s job is to optimize the efficiency and comfort of your home at all times. These systems can control humidity in both the summer and winter months for perfect climate control. They can control staging of your A/C or furnace so the system is never working harder than it needs. They can look at forecasting to get ahead of extreme hot or cold weather. These thermostats are also WiFi enabled for maximum control over your home’s comfort from anywhere. These systems are for the individual who wants the most out of their equipment and prefers the payback of a long term investment vs short term gains.