A thermostat is an essential part of every Utah home’s heating and cooling system. The device allows you to set the heater or air conditioner to your desired indoor temperatures. However, not everyone knows how to read the thermostat or use it efficiently.
Thermostats are marketed as energy-saving devices for a good reason. Homeowners can significantly reduce their energy consumption and utility costs with the correct temperature settings. Improved temperature management reduces the load on your heating and cooling equipment, extending its usable life.
Below are a few more things to learn about this agile device.
How Does a Thermostat Work?
The type of thermostat you have installed determines how it functions. In general, there are two types: manual and automatic. However, the latter’s variety of options could be overwhelming and make it difficult to understand how each works. Here’s a deeper look at them to discover which one best meets your requirements.
A manual or mechanical thermostat is the most basic device for reading and controlling room temperature. Its temperature sensor is a bimetallic strip formed by laminating two metal parts. When heated or cooled, the metals expand and contract at different rates, opening or closing a contact.
To understand how to read a mechanical thermostat, notice that there are two thermometers on its face. One controls your heating or cooling systems, and the other shows the room temperature.
When using mechanical thermostats, keep in mind that you’re not adjusting the temperature itself but rather its range. Manufacturers calibrate the device to match room temperature as closely as possible within a few degrees of the set point. As a result, mechanical thermostats are less accurate and sensitive, causing your heater or air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
Despite being less energy-efficient than other thermostats, some homeowners still prefer a mechanical thermostat. They’re more affordable and easy to use—just turn the dial to adjust the temperature.
Non-mechanical or digital thermostats have a thermistor, a simple device measuring room temperature. It allows thermostats to provide more precise readings and fine-tune the indoor temperatures to the exact degree.
Among the most popular digital or electronic thermostats is the programmable kind. It has a feature allowing users to program various settings at different times of the day. Some models can even let you set the heating or cooling schedule for specific days. For example, you can heat or cool your home at less than comfortable temperatures when you’re out. This adjustment results in lower energy consumption, saving you money.
Some programmable thermostats come with complicated instructions that make them difficult to use. In one survey, 40% of the respondents did not use the programming features to control their home’s indoor temperature because of the learning curve. Ignoring these features defeats its energy cost savings benefits.
Fortunately, smart thermostats eliminate confusing steps during setups. Instead, they study your climate preferences and habits to suggest a particular setting with your input or automatically adjust the temperature based on your pattern.
Understanding the Accuracy of Thermostats
Knowing how to read the thermostat is simple. The device’s plate or face will always have two temperatures—one is the target point, and the other is the actual indoor or room temperature. But, depending on your type of thermostat, its reading may not be accurate. It may result in discomfort and wasted energy as you frequently adjust temperatures.
Here’s how to test if your thermostat is giving correct temperature readings:
- Get a digital thermometer, tape, and paper towel.
- Tape the thermometer on the paper towel, then mount the latter next to your thermostat. The added layer of paper towel prevents the thermometer from sensing the wall’s temperature. Ensure the thermometer’s location doesn’t have a nearby heat source or is close to windows or doors.
- Keep it in place for 15-20 minutes before checking the temperature.
A temperature differential of 3 degrees or fewer is no reason for concern. However, if the difference is greater, your thermostat is likely malfunctioning. You may need to clean the device’s vents since debris can obstruct accurate readings. The problem may also be due to dying batteries that you’ll need to replace. Take another reading after attempting both solutions.
If the results are unchanged, you probably have a faulty thermostat. Consider replacing yours with a Nest Learning Thermostat for better energy efficiency, higher cost savings, and improved comfort.
Setting Your Thermostat in Winter or Summer
Besides understanding how to read the thermostat and checking its accuracy, it’s also essential for Utah homeowners to set their devices properly. Incorrect thermostat settings limit your household’s potential energy cost savings. So, follow best practices to get the most out of it.
Set the fan to auto. The auto mode engages the fan to circulate only conditioned air instead of constantly running, wasting energy.
Determine your schedule and use it to program your thermostat. For instance, you could keep your home interiors hotter or colder than normal when you’re away. Raise the thermostat 10 degrees above its normal setting in the summer and 10 degrees lower in the winter. This tactic will reduce the energy consumption of your HVAC system and help you save up to 10% a year on heating and cooling costs. Refer to your device’s manual on adjusting temperatures by specific times or days.
Why Install Nest Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat is among the most popular smart thermostats available today. If it’s time to upgrade your thermostat, here are reasons to consider it:
- Lower Utility Bills: Since it automatically controls your home’s temperature by learning your lifestyle patterns and schedule, it runs the heater or AC only when needed. It reduces or eliminates energy waste, bringing down utility costs.
- Ease of Use: No more figuring out how to program your thermostat—the Nest does it autonomously. A tap on the screen and a turn of the bezel is all it takes to operate it.
- Control Anywhere: Being internet-connected means you can control the Nest Thermostat through your smartphone. Easily change the temperature whenever or wherever via the app.
After learning how to read the thermostat, you might want to switch to a Nest Learning Thermostat. When the time comes, reach out to a trusted installer instead of going DIY.
Go for a Smart Thermostat With Absolute Air
Be smarter energy-wise when you turn to Absolute Air for Nest Thermostat installation. For over 20 years, Utah residents have relied on us to keep their homes comfy year-round. However, it’s not enough to be familiar with your thermostat; sometimes, you need a professional to help regulate your home’s temperature. Contact us today to learn how we can help.