Choosing a thermostat

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ThermostatIt’s a fact that homeowners can never predict the cost of energy required to operate their home. One month it will be low and the next month it could go through the roof and cost a small fortune. But homeowners can work to control their energy use by turning off lights and lowering their thermostat when they’re out of the house.

New technology is making  a lot of this easier, especially when it comes to controlling the temperature of your home and thus your energy spend. Thermostats are now very sophisticated, and this post will discuss the 3 types of thermostats to help you determine which one is best for you.

There are 3 types of thermostats:

1. Manual thermostats

With this traditional device, you manually control the temperature setting. Most of these are round-dial types where you set the temperature and the thermostat turns the furnace on or off as needed to provide a regulated temperature. This type of device might not be suited for a busy suburban home or apartment but might be just fine for a northwoods weekend cabin or for people who are home all the time.

There are also digital manual thermostats that feature a digital LCD screen and buttons rather than a round dial.

2. Programmable thermostats

These thermostats use a digital LCD screen along with buttons to program the thermostat's  timing function and temperature during the day. They can be set to turn down the heat at a specific time (when you leave the house) and then kick it back up before you return. This works if you have regular hours during the week. Programmable thermostats will also turn down the heat at bedtime and turn it back up before you rise. They are driven by how you program them. Of course, any temperature schedule you have programmed can be overridden manually if you want. These can also be set to 7 day schedules, 5-2 day schedules (work and weekend) and many other configurations.

3. Smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are wi-fi enabled and offer the benefit of being programable without the need to program them. They learn as you use them and logically create a schedule of your needs and then adjust the temperature as needed. They can be adjusted remotely over the net from a computer, tablet or smartphone. Some also use sensors in each room to identify which ones need to be heated or cooled and others recognize your voice commands. Smart thermostats use computer intelligence to help you manage your energy use and thus work to lower costs. Imagine returning from a trip and because you’re arriving and hour earlier than expected, remotely increasing the temperature of your home before you get there. It'll be nice and toasty, rather than keeping your down coat on while the heat kicks in.

One caveat is that not every smart thermostat will work with every home system. Check the box to see if it will work with your furnace, or better yet, rely on Stramowski Heating, your smart thermostat expert, to make the recommendation of which thermostat to use.

Look at the wiring

Older thermostats use two low voltage wires whereas newer devices require a “C” wire (common). If you remove your thermostat from the wall and examine the wires, you may see that there is/is not a wire connected to the “C” terminal. If in doubt, just call us and we would be happy to assess your wiring and suggest the best thermostat for your home.

The wiring has to be right to install a smart thermostat, but every home can be upgraded. (Stramowski may need to run a third or fifth wire with older systems)

No matter what type of thermostat you decide upon, Stramowski can guide you in the right direction toward lowering your energy bill!


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