If you're having a new heating system installed in your home, then you're likely worried about big-picture decisions. It can be easy to get wrapped up in decisions over energy efficiency or the number of heating zones and miss out on lower-level decisions such as thermostat placement. While contractors will often make these decisions themselves, it is essential to understand why these choices are made so that you can request changes as necessary. Fortunately, thermostats are relatively simple devices, so understanding their operation and placement is not difficult. This article will provide you with some basic knowledge to understand the where's and why's of thermostat placement when you're having a heating system installed.
Thermostats 101: An Introduction
You've likely used many thermostats throughout your life, but have you ever understood how they actually work? The typical thermostat is nothing more than a temperature-controlled on/off switch. When you choose the desired temperature, the thermostat waits until the ambient air temperature falls below that value. Once the air is cool enough, the furnace and blower will turn on to heat up the room. When the air temperature rises above that threshold, the thermostat will instruct the furnace to shut off.
There are two valuable lessons to take away from this description:
- The position of the thermostat is incredibly important since the thermostat itself is responsible for determining when the room is too cold or too warm
- Thermostats control only the final temperature of the room, not the temperature of the air produced by the furnace
Both of these points are crucial to keep in mind for thermostat placement.
Where Should Thermostats Be Placed?
If your home has only a single heating zone, then the thermostat should be placed in a relatively central area. It is also essential to keep your thermostat away from heating vents, direct sunlight, or appliances that may raise the nearby ambient temperature. In general, your thermostat should be placed somewhere that best represents the "average" temperature in your home. Thermostats should not be placed in hallways or other areas that are typically unoccupied since these areas do not provide a good temperature representation for occupied parts of the home.
For multiple heating zones, the rules are similar, with a few additional caveats. Since the purpose of multiple zones is to allow different parts of your home to be heated to different levels, your thermostats mustn't be too close to one another. If warm air from one zone can enter another zone, then you may find that your thermostats will "fight" with each other, or that your system will be less energy efficient. If possible, zones should be separated by doors or other barriers.
While it can be easy to ignore thermostat placement, remember that changing the location of a thermostat can be a difficult process. Consult with your HVAC contractor during the install process to ensure that your thermostats are correctly and conveniently placed. To learn more about heater installation, contact a company like Ricotta Heating & Air.