Why Does the Placement of My Thermostat Matter?

As the control hub of your HVAC systems, your thermostat plays a key role when it comes to keeping you comfortable. It may look like it’s just hanging there on the wall, but it’s always at work. Whenever the indoor temperature falls or rises above your preferred setting, it signals your heating and cooling systems to cycle on or off. The location of your thermostat determines how well it gets the job done.

Reading the Room

Whether it’s a smart thermostat with advanced functions or a basic model, thermostats work by tracking the temperature in the surrounding air. Older thermostats use two strips of metal that contract or expand as the temperature changes. The coiled bimetallic strip connects to a glass vial containing a small amount of mercury. Mercury acts as an electrical conduit, sending signals to your HVAC systems.

In contrast, modern digital thermostats use a “thermistor” to measure electrical resistance in the air, which changes as temperatures rise or fall. A thermistor is a type of resistor that converts electrical resistance into a circuit element that triggers your HVAC systems to turn off or on. A microprocessor in the digital thermostat translates the level of resistance into a temperature reading.

Ghost Readings

For optimal HVAC performance and efficiency, your thermostat must respond accurately to your comfort needs. Improper placement of your thermostat can result in “ghost readings,” a term used by HVAC contractors to describe unnecessary system cycling. Ghost readings can occur whenever the temperature in the air near your thermostat is different from where you are in your home. Changes in airflow can also impact accuracy. The following tips can help ensure your thermostat operates accurately.

  • Position your thermostat around 5 feet above your floor and at least 18 inches from an exterior wall.
  • Avoid placing your thermostat near sources of heat like hot-water pipes, fireplaces or heater vents.
  • Installing a thermostat near windows that let in direct sunlight can increase your cooling costs.
  • Place your thermostat away from doorways so that drafts don’t trigger your heater to run overtime.
  • Don’t install your thermostat near drafty stairways or areas like corners with poor air circulation.
  • Keep furnishings that can block natural air movement away from your thermostat.

Upgrade Your Thermostat

Today’s smart thermostats make it easier and more convenient to enjoy the optimal temperature in every season. Sensors monitor indoor and outdoor temperatures, so you enjoy the highest level of comfort while you’re at home. When you’re away, energy-saving options let you pay less for heating and cooling. Wi-Fi enabled models let you access settings from your smartphone, tablet or computer. Some models even alert you when it’s time to change a filter or schedule HVAC maintenance. Give our HVAC contractors a call, and we’ll help you explore your options.

Whole-Home Solutions

A thermostat works best when placed in the part of your home where you spend the most time. For many families, that’s a central location. If you’d like to enjoy different temperatures in different areas of your home, zoning offers an appealing alternative. As an American Standard Customer Care dealer, Palm Desert Air Conditioning and Heating offers a wide range of home comfort solutions. We can retrofit your existing system for zoning or install a brand new one. Models include the popular AccuLink™ II Platinum 850 Zoning Control, with Z-Wave technology for home automation.

The performance and efficiency of any thermostat depend on its installation. If you have any questions about the setup process, call Palm Desert Air Conditioning and Heating Co. Our experts are readily available to assist you with your installation. We’re proud to offer a complete set of HVAC services, including controls and thermostats for every type of comfort system.

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