Let’s Get Technical: How Thermostats Work

Let’s Get Technical: How Thermostats Work

Before the invention of thermostats, maintaining household comfort usually meant a trip down to the basement to adjust the furnace flame or manually open and close vents. The advent of a mechanical thermostat to sense temperature and remotely control the HVAC system made central heating, and later central air conditioning, a reality in homes. Throughout most of the 20th century, however, thermostats remained fairly low-tech, utilizing a temperature-sensitive metal coil that tripped a mercury switch to turn the furnace or A/C on and off at the desired setting.

Thermostats Come Of Age

Today, thermostats are basically micro-computers that happen to be mounted on the wall. Instead of springs and other moving parts, a digital programmable thermostat incorporates an electronic component called a thermistor that accurately senses room temperature, along with other technology to control actuation of the HVAC system as well as remember temperature settings, monitor the status of system components and even alert you when routine maintenance like filter changes are required.

Enhanced User Input

Options for digital programming include scheduled temperature changes for different times of the day as well as different days of the week. Schedule operation can be suspended at any time with a temporary override function that resumes automatic operation on your command; the “Vacation” option maintains your house and belongings at a safe temperature while you’re gone, while keeping energy consumption low.

Home Monitoring

Wi-fi digital thermostats keep you continuously connected to your indoor environment, wherever you go, with a smartphone app. You can monitor indoor temperatures, input changes and receive system operation updates and alerts.

Don’t Do-It-Yourself

While technology incorporated in a digital programmable thermostat provides superior reliability compared to old-school mechanical units, there are few recommended DIY procedures if problems or defects should occur. In the event of issues like inconsistent temperature control, incorrect temperature sensing or failure to actuate the A/C or furnace, contact a qualified HVAC contractor to diagnose and resolve the problem.

For more about the advantages of a digital thermostat, as well as professional sales, installation and service, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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