What Should You Know About Thermostat Placement?

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How to Keep Your Cool When the Mercury is Rising

When the heat is rising to record-breaking levels, it can be really tough to stay cool. This summer, I found that my air conditioner had trouble keeping up with the temperatures. It wasn't that the AC wasn't working, it was just that I couldn't seem to get my house cooled down as much as I wanted. I worried that I would have to replace the whole AC system. Luckily, I have a good friend who works as an HVAC contractor. He took a look at my system and gave good news -- it didn't need to be replaced. Instead, he shared a lot of tips for helping my air conditioner work more efficiently, as well as some ideas to help supplement the AC and keep the house cooler. I'm using those tips to create this blog to share ways for all of us to keep cool on the hottest days.

What Should You Know About Thermostat Placement?

30 December 2019
 Categories: , Blog

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.