This unbiased, expert thermostats buying guide will help you find the best type of thermostat for your home and your heating and cooling system. Discusses, workings, features, and more.
Beyond basic shelter, one of the most important jobs of a house is to provide a comfortable environment.
But, because the human body is highly sensitive to heat gain and heat loss, comfort can be elusive. In the quest to capture comfort, we fit houses with heating and cooling systems, insulation, efficient windows, weatherstripping, ventilation, and other features meant to control unwanted heat loss and heat gain. One of the most essential tools in achieving this goal is the thermostat—a device that controls about 10 percent of all energy utilized in the United States.
In regard to comfort, researchers report that the key to comfort is to maintain room temperatures within a 2 degree Fahrenheit swing. Within that “comfort window,” people don’t notice a variation in temperature.
To do its job properly, a thermostat should eliminate broad swings in room temperature. During the heating season, room temperature drops to a low point right before the heat goes on and reaches a high just after the heat goes off.
Many different types of thermostats are available, varying both by their internal operation and by the type of equipment they are designed to control. As discussed in How a Thermostat Works, the two main technologies are electromechanical and electronic. Both electromechanical and electronic thermostats work with most types of gas, oil, electric, and even hydronic heating systems, as well as with air conditioners.
For buying guide information about specific types of thermostats, please see: