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Are Thermostats Universal? [Are They Interchangeable]

Thermostats have increasingly become one of our favorite devices that helps us adjust the temperature in our homes. It could be either from warm to cold or the other way round and whew! Thank goodness for the device. So the question that begs to be asked is if you want to install a thermostat in your home, can any thermostat do? Are they universal to fit in any household?

Thermostats are not universal. This is because not all thermostats are compatible with all HVAC systems, their compatibility depends on the HVAC system voltage. This means you can’t replace your current thermostat with another unless the new one is compatible with your HVAC system.

I bet you are thinking, how will you be able to know which thermostat is compatible with your HVAC heating system found in your house? Not to worry we got you. Just scroll down and we will help you navigate through what you need to know about thermostats and their compatibility with your HVAC system. 

How Do I Know if my Thermostat is Compatible?

Thermostats play an important role in most homes by creating a comfortable environment in your home during different temperature changes. These devices allow you to take control of your HVAC system, especially when trying to regulate what temperatures you want for your home. 

However, to ensure that your thermostat is giving you the best results, it’s advisable to ensure that your thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system because if it isn’t it will lead to a lot of problems and even require expensive repairs. So how can you determine whether your thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system? It’s quite simple.

Mainly there are three types of HVAC systems. And these are:

  • The low voltage HVAC system – these are the most widely used as most thermostats are compatible with it. 
  • The high voltage HVAC system – these are mainly electric baseboard systems that only work with certain types of thermostats 
  • 24-millivolt HVAC system – These systems use oil or gas furnaces that can power up without electricity but not many thermostats use them.

Now once you have known the different types of HVAC systems that are there, below are the steps you need to follow to know the compatibility of your thermostat to your HVAC system. 

  1. Cut off the power on your furnace just to be safe. 
  2. Remove the cover on your thermostat.
  3. Once you’ve taken off the cover, you can check whether your thermostat has the words ‘high-voltage’ or ‘low-voltage’ engraved anywhere on the thermostat. 
  4. If you don’t see them that’s okay as not all thermostats are labeled. So now, pick up your screwdriver, unscrew the thermostat, pull it gently away from the wall, and check out the wires underneath. 
  5. If the wires underneath are thick know that your thermostat is of high voltage and you find out that the wires are thin and small know that your thermostat is of low voltage. 

Alternatively, if you won’t be able to follow all those steps if you find it hard, you can always check the manual for the thermostat you currently own or check the manufacture’s website for the thermostat you have in your home, or call your electrician to check it out for you. 

So that is how you can know what kind of thermostat is needed to be compatible with your HVAC system. If you find out that your current thermostat is using low voltage then the next thermostat you will buy will be of low voltage and the same goes for when you find out that your current thermostat is using a high voltage or 24-millivolt HVAC system

Will Any Thermostat Work in My Home?

The answer is no. Not every thermostat will work in your home. First, need to know the type of HVAC system your home has first, as explained in the second section, before deciding on what type of wall device you want in your home. 

Generally, there are three types of thermostats that you can choose for your home and these are:

1. Non-programmable Thermostat

This thermostat is best suited for those that rarely get away from their house. With it, it’s quite a simple device to operate on as the temperature is usually manually adjusted to your preference.

A non-programmable thermostat is quite a simple device. As much as you can’t adjust the settings again once it is installed in your home or even change your temperature while you are away from your home or sleeping, the non-programmable thermostat can achieve high effectiveness by maintaining your temperature preference in the comfort of your home.

2. Programmable Thermostat

This device is an improvement from the non-programmable thermostat. This is because one can adjust the setting even after it has been installed in your home. Most of these devices give you the option of adjusting your temperature either daily or weekly unlike the non-programmable thermostat.

This device is best suited for places that have drastic weather changes, as one can be able to set the thermostat in such a way that it can be warm in the morning when it’s usually chilly and cool during the day without the hassle of manually changing the thermostat. 

3. Smart Thermostats

These are programmable thermostats that have been taken to the next level to achieve comfort. You can adjust your temperatures remotely by using either your phone, tablet, or computer from wherever you are as long as you have an internet connection. 

Though you may find that they are slightly expensive they cover up with their comfort features and their ability to save you money when it comes to utility bills. 

These comfort features include:

  • Voice control features like Alexa. 
  • Touch screen displays
  • Multiple programmable features on your thermostat

Conclusion

Not all thermostats can be compatible with your HVAC system. To solve this problem all you need to do is open the cover of your thermostat to know what voltage your HVAC system uses before changing your thermostat. 

Remember it is very important to have a thermostat that is working hand in hand with your HVAC system because of the significant impact it has when it comes to your comfort and also on your utility bills. 

As a reminder, if you know that checking for yourself if your thermostat is compatible with your HVAC system it is advisable to call a technician to check it out for you. And once that is out of the way, we have given you different types of thermostats you can choose from if you are about to upgrade from your old one.