Homeowners are often quick to blame their air conditioner if their home is not cool enough in the summer or if the temperature throughout the house is uneven. In fact, the root of the problem may be the thermostat. Although your thermostat may be small, it has a significant effect on the performance of your air conditioner and the overall comfort of your home.
Location, Location, Location
Where you choose to have your thermostat installed can make all the difference in how well it functions and maintains the temperature in your home. At Swan Plumbing, Heating & Air, we do not recommend installing a thermostat on an exterior window, in direct sunlight, or next to a window or door. These areas are prone to temperature fluctuations that can cause the thermostat to register temperatures incorrectly, which can result in uneven cooling.
Lack of Maintenance
Just like any other part of your HVAC system, your thermostat needs a little maintenance from time to time. Dirt and dust can accumulate inside your thermostat, which can interfere with its ability to sense temperatures and adjust appropriately. As part of our multi-point AC tune-up package, we will check, clean, and calibrate your thermostat to ensure optimal performance.
Before you call a repair service, you should always double check the settings on your thermostat to make sure that they have not been reset by another family member or changed by accident. The thermostat should be set to the cooling mode, and the fan should be in the “auto” and not the “on” position.
Signs That It Is Time To Replace Your Thermostat
There are circumstances where we recommend that homeowners invest in a new thermostat to improve the comfort of their home and better regulate their energy usage.
If you still have a manual thermostat, you should consider upgrading even if it still seems to work. These old-fashioned thermostats lack precision. It is not uncommon for the temperature in the home to be five degrees above or below the set temperature. Digital and programmable models are more precise and give you the option of adjusting the temperature when you are not home so that you can reduce energy costs without sacrificing your family’s comfort.
Over time, a thermostat may lose the ability to register temperatures correctly. This can cause your HVAC system to short-cycle or cut off prematurely resulting in inadequate or uneven cooling. If you notice your AC cycling on and off frequently, you should contact an HVAC professional to determine if this is caused by a faulty thermostat or another issue.
Tips for Choosing a New Thermostat
Not all thermostats are compatible with all HVAC systems. The following steps will help you find the best thermostat for your home.
Determine the type of HVAC system that you have
Single-stage systems are the most common. These units offer only one level of heating and cooling. The unit runs at full force regardless of the temperature setting.
Multi-stage HVAC systems offer multiple output levels for more precise temperature control. The lower intensity setting is sufficient for most cooling needs. The fact that it runs for a longer period and maintains a more consistent average temperature lowers energy costs.
A heat pump is a single system that controls both heating and cooling without the need for a separate furnace and air conditioner.
Determine the type of features that you would like
Mechanical thermostats use bimetallic or mercury switches. They come with a limited range of settings and cannot be programmed. Most homeowners today prefer the precision and flexibility of digital or programmable thermostats; however, a mechanical thermostat is certainly still functional and may be sufficient for vacation homes and other situations where precise temperature control is not a significant factor.
Digital thermostats have easy-to-read digital controls similar to an alarm clock, which makes them very user-friendly. They use electronic temperature sensors, which provides for more accurate temperature control than a standard mechanical thermostat.
Programmable thermostats are the latest generation of thermostat technology, and they are gaining in popularity because they provide the user with the most control over their home comfort options. The fact that the temperature can be automatically adjusted based on the time of day or the day of the week provides for maximum comfort and efficiency. Most programmable thermostats come with a digital or touch screen display, and some even allow the user to adjust settings remotely from a tablet or cell phone.
If you are looking to upgrade your current thermostat, Swan can help. We carry and install mechanical, digital, and programmable thermostats from leading manufacturers. Our HVAC experts can help you find a thermostat that is compatible with your current HVAC system and that offers the right combination of features. Call today for more information.