Is Your Thermostat Doing Its Job?

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 — Starion Energy


Almost every home is equipped with a thermostat. A thermostat’s job is to maintain a comfortable climate within a home. But, how do you know if yours is working correctly? Here are some ways to make sure your thermostat is operating at its best.

What Kind of Thermostats Are There?

In terms of thermostats, there are three main types: programmable, mechanical, and electronic. Each type has pros and cons, but all will get the job done.

Programmable thermostats are the most sophisticated. These allow the user to set the temperature for certain times of the day. For example, the temperature during the day can be set to 72°, while the nighttime temperature can be 68°. This reduces energy consumption since the system will only be used when it is set to be.

Mechanical thermostats are the slowest to respond to the home’s temperature. They are the simplest models and can only really be set to a range of temperatures instead of a specific one.

Electronic thermostats are a happy medium between programmable and mechanical ones. These can be set to keep the home at a certain temperature and adjust accordingly if it goes above or below that setting.

How Does a Thermostat Work?

Each thermostat works a little bit differently. For a programmable or electric thermostat, a computer is responsible for sensing and correcting the temperature in your home.

However, mechanical thermostats are a bit more complicated. These either have a small vial of mercury in them or have bimetallic coils. Heat causes either the mercury vial to tilt to one side or the bimetallic strips to expand. Either way, this signals the thermostat to kick on the air to maintain the set temperature.

While mechanical thermostats are not as widely used anymore thanks to the rise in new technology, they are still present in many older homes. If you’re looking to switch to a newer thermostat, just be sure that the new one will be compatible with your HVAC system.

How Do I Check My Home’s Actual Temperature?

Even though a thermostat can be set to a specific temperature, a home is not consistently that temperature. A quick way to check your home’s actual room temperature is with a thermometer. These can be found almost anywhere and in many different styles, even digital.

What Problems Can A Thermostat Have?

There are several problems a thermostat can run into, including:

  • Dead batteries or tripped breakers

  • Dirty components

  • Poor placement

  • Poor installation

These situations can cause many problems, including the thermostat losing power and room temperature never reaching the set temperature.

Some of these issues can easily be fixed, but sometimes there is a need to call in a professional, such as if the wiring has gone bad inside the thermostat.

How Can My Thermostat Run More Efficiently?

Smart and programmable thermostats can be set to a certain temperature at times when you are home and lower temperatures when you’re not. This increases the efficiency of the system by allowing it to “rest.” In addition, professionals suggest setting your temperature to run cooler at night and programming it to run warmer shortly before you wake up.

The most efficient thermostats are smart or programmable ones, but there are ways to run other types well, too. As suggested above, cooler temperatures should be run at night and when you’re not going to be home for long stretches of time.

Efficiency can also depend on the season. In the winter, 68° tends to be a good temperature for when you’re home. It’s suggested to lower it about 10° when you’re gone or sleeping. In the summer, 78° is a good temperature for when you’re home, and you should shut off the air conditioning completely when you aren’t home.

What Can You Take from This?

Using your thermostat to keep your home comfortable is very important. It’s just as important to ensure you’re running your system at top efficiency. By using these tips, you should be able to run your system at its top performance.

Want to take the next step and take control of your energy needs? See how Starion Energy can help your home or business.