A Thermostat is one of the most important device in your home – which regulates the heating/cooling system and maintains a comfortable temperature inside all the rooms. Thermostats also perform a vital role in saving your energy bills by running the heating/cooling systems at its best efficiency. Choosing the right thermostat for your home is not that easy! You’ve to select a thermostat that best suits your home HVAC system (heating/cooling system) and at the same time having all the necessary features & options (like 7 day programming, WiFi, Smartphone control, self learning etc). I’ve developed this article to serve you as a guide to choose the best thermostat for your home!
How to choose a thermostat(which thermostat do i need)?
You can use these three simple steps to select a thermostat for your home:
- Determine what heating and cooling system you have at home
- Choose the thermostat type
- Select the features and options that best cater to your lifestyle
Now, let us see each of these steps in detail.
Step 1: Determine what heating and cooling system you have at home
Your heating system can be single stage or multi stage.
Single stage – Single stage heating simply means that your furnace has just one level of heat output. You might either have gas, forced air heater or an electric AC system with a separate heating system. Well, this is the commonly found system in most places. In case you already have a thermostat, there will normally be maximum six wires coming from your wall.
Multi stage – Multi stage heating means that there are two levels of heat in your house. You might perhaps have a furnace as well as another method of heat such as a solar panel. The second level of heat source is commonly considered as an emergency heat setting. So, as the low setting is sufficient to meet the household heating or cooling demands most of the time, the multi-state unit runs for prolonged periods and offers more even heat distribution.
Heat pump – This is a single system which does both heating and cooling of your home. Normally, when a heat pump is used, you don’t have a separate air conditioning system as the heat pump is capable of performing both the operations. A heat pump is employed as the emergency heat for multi stage units since it can produce heat much faster compared to any other unit and heat up your house quickly even on very cold days.
Multi stage heat pump – This system makes use of more than one system similar to the multi stage; however, it uses heat pump for emergency heating or cooling. You will have a main heating or cooling unit and you will depend on the heat pump to enable your main system to heat or cool faster and perhaps more efficiently.
Line voltage – A line voltage system uses direct electric current instead of just 24 volts used by the typical thermostat of the present day’s modern homes. This kind of thermostat can be largely seen in older homes that still use direct voltage. You can notice that the power wires are thicker and they usually run either 120 or 240 volts on direct current. These thermostats are common in older construction particularly with baseboard heaters and electric heaters. Well, these are not used with gas heaters which are generally single stage systems. Most of the line voltage systems are mechanical thermostats. Based on the voltage of the thermostat and the house, the device will use either two or four black and red wires.
Well, have you figured out the kind of heating and cooling system in your home? Your next task is to choose the type of thermostat.
Step 2: Choose the thermostat type
These modern thermostats provide the benefit of being programmable. The best part is that you need not actually program them! These gadgets learn as you use them and can create a schedule according to your personal preferences. They can turn down automatically when you are away from home, offer you guidance on energy-efficient settings as well as provide you with monthly energy reports. In addition, these devices connect to your home Wi-Fi network; therefore, it can be monitored, set and managed remotely from a computer, tablet or Smartphone.
Remote energy management thermostat
This thermostat enables you to set, program, monitor, and control your heating and cooling system from a tablet, Smartphone, and computer. You can connect this thermostat to your home broadband network via a hub; this allows you to access the gadget over Wi-Fi from anywhere.
If you want to save energy and reduce your energy bills, a programmable thermostat is the ideal choice. It automatically adjusts the set temperature throughout thus making the most efficient use of your system. All you need to do is just let the thermostat know your favorite temperature at different times of the day and night; the thermostat takes care of temperature control in your home.
When it comes to choosing an appropriate programmable thermostat, you need to consider the flexibility you require from day to day. Consider the following four key options:
7-day programming enables you to program each day of the week in a different manner. This is the best choice for busy families that have varied schedules every day.
5-2 programming helps you to set a standard program during the weekdays while you are at work and another separate program for the weekends when you will be spending more time at home.
5-1-1 programming lets you to set a standard program on weekdays plus two separate programs for Saturday and Sunday. If you have a structured weekend schedule, this is a great option for you.
1 – Week enables you to set one basic program for one whole week.
Digital non programmable thermostat
A digital non programmable thermostat that comes with a digital read out is the ideal choice if you prefer controlling your device settings manually; besides, this comes with the convenience of an LCD display that is easy to read.
Mechanical or manual thermostats
With this thermostat, you can control the temperature setting manually. This is the ideal option for you if you are at home often and prefer a standard fixed temperature.
Fine, now that you have known the thermostat types and chosen your desired type, you should next focus on finding the right model and options that will best fit your lifestyle.
Step 3: Select the features and options that best cater to your lifestyle
Of course, selecting the right model depends on the features you wish to have and the style you prefer.
You might consider the following features:
- Touch screen controls to help you modify settings right at your fingertips
- Backlit display panel to help you see what you are doing more clearly even in dimly lit or dark backgrounds.
- Selectable program periods enable you to set temperatures for separate time periods to suit your needs.
- Indicator lights that alert you when the battery is low or the furnace needs a new filter.
- Battery operation and backup for houses where there aren’t required wirings as well as for wired homes, to eliminate the need to reprogram thermostats generally after power failures.
- Remote programming controls for convenience and comfort
- Keyboard lock to prevent kids and others from messing up with the established settings
- Vacation mode helps you to temporarily set your heating and cooling temperatures for maximum energy savings when you are away on a vacation and get back to normal settings when you are back, just with the press of a button.
Needless to say, by taking into account the above said factors, you will unquestionably get the perfect thermostat that matches your requirements.