With summer almost upon us, many people are taking steps to make sure that their air conditioners can keep them cool for another summer. While plenty of people are conducting regular maintenance on their air conditioners, though, far fewer are taking a look at their thermostats. The thermostat is a vital piece of equipment, not only for the air conditioner but for all climate control systems. If you haven’t upgraded yours in a while, now might be a good time. Read on to find out how a new thermostat can benefit you this summer.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog: Posts Tagged ‘Thermostats’
If your room temperature is too hot or cold, what is the first thing you check? Probably the thermostat. If you are a San Clemente homeowner, you probably have played around with the setting on a thermostat, much to the chagrin of other occupants who don’t share your same comfort level. And if you try and adjust a thermostat at work – well forget about it. Most companies now have locking thermostats or “false” ones that don’t actually connect to the heating and cooling system.
So if you have a temperature problem, is it really the thermostat that causes it? Maybe yes and maybe no. One physical characteristic to check is the location of the thermostat. If it is in a drafty hallway or near a heat source, it only reads the temperature for that area and other parts of the building are neglected. You will often find more than one thermostat in a home that is tied into more than one furnace or air conditioner.
The older more popular round thermostats are manually controlled and do not adjust to any conditions in your San Clemente home. They simply control the heating and cooling functions based on a human turning a dial. It’s as simple as that. So if you use this method to adjust the temperatures, blame yourself and not the thermostat. You might want to consider installing a digital, programmable thermostat.
With that in mind, let’s look at some typical ways to troubleshoot a thermostat.
- Check the anticipator, which is a small metal tab on the front of the printed scale. Give it a light push in either direction. It may be stuck.
- Clean the interior of the thermostat housing and clean the contacts (small metal plates)
- Check loose wires or wires that may be corroded.
- Read the thermostat manual (if not available, look online) for other tips such as ensuring there is voltage to the terminals.
If you have checked everything and the thermostat seems to be in working order, look for other things within the heating & cooling system. These include blocked or restricted registers and vents, leaks or cracks in ductwork, and dirty air handling filters.
There are a lot of common household tasks in Fullerton that do-it-yourselfers can handle beyond changing light bulbs or replacing a fuse. One of those is changing out a thermostat. The reasons for replacing a thermostat can vary from making an upgrade to changing out a thermostat that is not working right – or at all. Whatever the reason, the task is pretty simple and require s very little time and very few tools.
Let’s set the stage.
The materials you will need are the replacement thermostat, wire connectors, electrical tape (optional), needle nose pliers, and a screwdriver.
Here are the steps:
- Turn off electrical power to the existing thermostat. You can do this by flipping a breaker switch or removing a fuse from your home’s electrical panel. This would be a good time to make a note of the circuit’s location, writing the circuit number on the panel door or using a sticker.
- Remove the cover from the existing unit. You should be able to locate the screws that hold it to the wall mounting plate. Remove the screws and pull the unit away from the wall and mounting plate. Be careful not to touch the electrical wires together on the thermostat.
- Disconnect the wiring. Carefully remove the electrical wiring from the unit and keep the wires apart. You might want to tape the bare ends and also ensure that the wires don’t fall back through the wall. If the wires are not color coded, mark each one and which terminal they were removed from. Remove the mounting plate.
- If you are using a new mounting plate, make sure it fits over the existing hole and then pull the wires through the opening of the plate. Make sure the mounting plate is secured to the wall with the proper screws.
- Now match the wires to the terminals on the new thermostat. The wires are usually color-coded but if not, make sure you attach the right wires to the corresponding numbered terminals on the next thermostat. A green wire, which operates the furnace fan blower, is connected to the “G” terminal. The white wire operates the heater and attaches to the “W” terminal. The yellow wire operates the air conditioner and connects to the “Y” terminal. Use a wire nut to secure the wires and keep them apart from other wires. Ignore any other wires coming out of the wall as they are not necessary and may have been added by the original builder for other purposes.
- Carefully move the wires back into the wall as you line up the new thermostat on the mounting bracket. Install the new bracket and secure the thermostat to the bracket.
- Turn your power back on and check your thermostat by setting the temperature high or low, to engage the furnace or air conditioner.
This simple procedure can be done in less than 10 minutes. But if you have any doubts and want greater peace of mind, call a professional heating and cooling contractor to perform the installation.
There are many types of thermostats available for your Shady Canyon home, but which is the best for your particular needs? It depends largely on how often you are home, how many rooms you have and how people in your house use each of those rooms.
A programmable thermostat in particular is a great option because it allows home owners to control when and how much heat or cooling is introduced to their indoor air. Normal thermostats lack this level of control, largely because they are built as simple switches that flip on whenever your temperature gets too low or too high.
Situations for a Programmable Thermostat
When you leave your home every day, you have two options. Either set the heat and AC so you’ll be comfortable when you return, or turn them off completely and suffer through the first half hour or so when you get home that night.
If you choose the former, you’ll pay a lot more in energy bills to heat or cool an empty house. And if your humidity levels need controlling as well, this may be your only option. Those in the second camp are forced to endure uncomfortable temperatures right when they get home and want nothing more than to relax. Not much better.
That’s why so many homeowners are opting for programmable thermostats to overcome this issue. With a programmable model, you can actually tell your home’s comfort system when to turn on and off each day, depending on when people will be there. Imagine going on vacation for three or four days and coming home to a nice and toasty living room and a smaller heating bill to go with it. That’s the kind of control a programmable model offers.
Zone Control and Beyond
Some programmable thermostats even allow you to section your home off into zones and choose specific temperatures for different areas of the house. This allows a great deal more control over when and how your system will operate each day, depending on the individual comfort needs of your family.
If you’re making dinner and don’t want the heat blasting you while you’re standing over the stove, just set the kitchen temperature lower. And with a programmable thermostat, you can tell it to come back on an hour after you leave the kitchen so that it’s comfortable later when you need a glass of water.
There are literally dozens of things you can do to cut back on your heating (and cooling) costs. These range from things like getting a high energy efficiency system to just making sure that you have adequate insulation in all parts of your house. But too many people overlook one of the simplest things that you can do to cut down on your monthly heating bill, and that is to turn the thermostat down.
Of course, you did not pay for that high tech home comfort system just so that you could walk around cold all winter long. You certainly want to keep your house at a temperature that is comfortable, but what does that really mean?
The normal default setting for a home heating system is usually somewhere between 72°F and 75°F. If you have your thermostat set somewhere in this range in the winter, you are probably quite comfortable indoors. In fact, you might not even need a sweater. But would you really notice if it was a degree or two cooler? Would it be incredibly inconvenient to put on a sweater or sweatshirt after all?
The truth is that most of us will be just as comfortable at 69°F as we are at 72°F, and the effect that small adjustment can have on your heating bill is actually pretty significant. In fact, you will save an average of 3% on your monthly bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down. Drop the temperature down by three or four degrees and that will give you up to a 10% monthly savings – hardly something to turn up your nose at.
And setting the regular temperature in your house a bit lower is not the only way your thermostat settings can save you money. You will also save quite a bit if you take the time to turn down the temperature when you leave the house and when you go to bed at night. There simply is no reason to pay to heat your house when you are not there and you will certainly be rewarded with a lower energy bill for your efforts.