Home Thermostat Upgrade Options

Have you ever considered upgrading your home thermostat? It usually does not require a new A/C unit, so be sure to read on for some excellent information for Fleming Island homeowners.

There are several types of thermostats; here are some details about each and the differences.

Mechanical thermostats are among the oldest type; they have a lever or a knob that is used to adjust the temperature. The earliest design used a bimetallic strip and a mercury or magnetic switch to turn the HVAC system on and off. This design requires the thermostat to be installed perfectly level. They also have an anticipator which controls the cycle rate of your system and needs to be set just correctly, so periodic thermostat repair is required. Newer mechanical thermostats use a snap action or a digital switch inside and are only level for looks, just like the coil unit installed outside your home. 

Digital thermostats have been around since the mid-1980s, starting out as an electronic version of the traditional mechanical type and evolving into becoming programmable. They use electronic sensors and digital switches to monitor their surrounding temperature and activate the air conditioner when needed. 

Wi-Fi thermostats improve upon the digital version we have all come to appreciate. They connect to the internet and join your network, and are adjustable using a computer, smartphone, or tablet. They can also be programmable with easy-to-use software instead of repeatedly pressing buttons on the keypad or changing mechanical dials. When you install a Wi-Fi thermostat, you can adjust the temperature of your home before you leave work and arrive at a nice cool house. 

Smart thermostats are the latest invention in home HVAC technology. They connect with the internet of things (IoT) and integrate with other smart devices in your home to learn your living habits and schedules to adjust your HVAC settings accordingly. It stores when you leave for the day and return at night to optimize your heating and cooling efficiency and can even work with some voice control features from your existing home automation devices. 

Now that we have identified the different types of thermostats, here are some details about the most common problem encountered when upgrading that is important and could help decide which thermostat is best for your application. 

The C wire, or “common wire,” is required for many newer thermostats; it supplies continuous low voltage power from your HVAC system to activate your thermostat. Older installations did not require low voltage as there were no electronics like an electronic display, Wi-Fi, or sensors to power. Sometimes, this wire is present and just tucked away, so make sure to look behind your current thermostat and in the wires going to it to be sure. Also, use caution when shopping for products that claim to work without a C wire; they often send signals which confuse the furnace and cause it to repeatedly turn on and off, causing excessive wear on your system.
While the installation would be easier if the C wire were present, you can contact a professional HVAC company to help if it is not. This is not really a DIY project, as the wire will need to be installed from your furnace to the thermostat, and the gauge of the wire will be determined based on the equipment installed in your home. Using a wire that is the wrong size may cause damage to your Fleming Island home and result in a system that no longer functions at all.


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