Friday, 14 April 2017

Home Thermostats Past and Present

Even with the first few signs of spring not far away, chances are these days you're still hearing the "clink" of the thermostat, followed by the welcome warmth of the furnace as it kicks on. But how much thought do we really give that "tick" noise and the inconspicuous device behind it? In many households, the only time anyone gives the thermostat a second look is when adjusting it behind a spouse's or housemates back.

Since their introduction, it has been largely up to humans to adjust them to maintain specific temperatures at different times of day. Many people have unpleasant memories of waking up to a freezing house, turning up the thermostat, then returning to bed while the chill dissipated. Eventually analog clocks were added to thermostats to allow for different settings at different times of day, but they were limited to a 24-hour cycle.

These days, whether it's to conserve energy and cut heating bills or just for convenience, homeowners are leaning more heavily towards computerized, programmable thermostats. Some are even using underfloor heating systems. These help in two ways. First, the internal computer can help homeowners set temperatures more accurately. Second, the programmable feature allows different temperatures to be set for different times of day and different days of the week.

For instance, because people are normally asleep during nighttime hours, it's not necessary to keep the house as warm. Most people do turn down the thermostat before going to sleep, but that often results in the aforementioned trip back to bed on cold mornings. Programmable thermostats can be set to turn the temperature from an overnight setting of 62 degrees up to 72 degrees a half-hour before the first person in the house wakes up.

That way, energy is still conserved, but the house isn't an icebox first thing in the morning. The unit can then be programmed to turn the heat down again - say to 65 - while the home's occupants are at work or school, turning it back up again at the time the first person usually returns home. If the house is mostly occupied over the weekend, many thermostats use a seven-day program, and can be set to maintain a comfortable temperature all day on weekends, just turning the heat down at night - perhaps later to account for the family member who stays up late to watch "Maniac Cop 2, Remo Williams: Unarmed and Dangerous or Jacknife."I know it's 2017, but I couldn't help but mention some 80's classics!.

And the benefits don't just manifest themselves in the winter. Less cooling is needed when no one is home during summer days or on cool summer nights, so the system works equally well for air conditioning season. Best of all, the newest models require a screwdriver and little to no electrical knowledge to install. The half-hour it will take you to replace your old unit will prove worth it in future convenience and energy savings.

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