Some FAQ’s About Programmable Thermostats

Posted on February 26, 2019

Furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps are the stars of the heating and cooling world. With terms like SEER and AFUE to measure efficiency. Advanced technology like variable speed motors and two-stage heat pumps is all the rage. But do you know what still controls your heating and cooling systems? That’s right, the thermostat.

The days of the simple manual thermostat are pretty much gone, replaced by various types of programmable thermostats. Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric gets a lot of questions when it comes to troubleshooting programmable thermostats. These are some of the most common questions:

Q: I’m really confused. I hear about programmable thermostats, Wi-Fi thermostats, and smart thermostats. Aren’t they all the same thing?

Technically the answer is no. They share some of the same technology, and all of them allow you to set and control a schedule for your HVAC systems, but there are important differences.

  • A programmable thermostat means just that, you can program it. You create a schedule for your heating and cooling systems to come on at a certain time and set them to a certain temperature based on your activities and work schedule.
  • A Wi-Fi thermostat comes with other benefits. It’s a programmable thermostat linked to your home’s wireless network meaning you can create and change the schedule with a mobile device.
  • A smart thermostat has the ability to “learn” your schedule. In other words, you don’t need to program it. Over time, it learns when you leave the house and come home every day and creates a schedule for your HVAC systems based on comfort and efficiency.

Q: I have a two-story home. How should I set my thermostat to assure a consistent temperature on both levels?

Boy, this is a question we hear all the time. The best place to start is with a little science refresher. Hot air rises and cold air sinks. Oftentimes the result is a hot upstairs during the summer and cold temps downstairs during the winter. Here’s our suggestion:

  • In the summer, set the upstairs thermostat to the desired temperature
  • Set the downstairs thermostat two degrees warmer
  • Reverse the procedure during the heating season

If you are trying to heat and cool two levels with a single thermostat, you may be fighting a losing battle. Call Armstrong and talk with us about adding another thermostat to your system.

Q: How do I know if my thermostat needs to be replaced?

If you are having any problems with your heating and cooling systems, the first thing to be checked should be your thermostat. They are generally easy and fairly inexpensive to replace. Here are some of the warning signs:

  • HVAC system(s) are short-cycling: This means they are shutting down too early and failing to complete a heating or cooling cycle.
  • Thermostat doesn’t respond to changes quickly: When you change the setting, the thermostat and HVAC system should respond almost immediately.
  • System won’t turn on at all: If there’s no response at all from the furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump, it could mean the thermostat has failed.

If we haven’t answered your question or you are still confused about which programmable thermostat is best for you, call Armstrong Plumbing, Air, & Electric. We’ve been serving the HVAC needs of Lubbock, TX and all of West Texas since 1934. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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