Choosing a Thermostat for Summer
Wouldn’t it be nice if your thermostat controlled the conditions outdoors? In the Upper Midwest, temperature swings are to be expected, and you never know how you’ll feel once you step out the door. On the hottest days, you might even miss winter weather – but just for a moment. At least as bad as humidity gets, you can take solace in knowing you don’t have to shovel it. Luckily, you have much more control over the interior of your home. Thermostats make it easy to adjust your HVAC system and set comfortable temperatures. How you reach that temperature depends on the type of thermostat you own. See what kind is best for you before you buy:
Programmable Digital Thermostats:
For those who appreciate predictability, a programmable thermostat is a good option. The nice thing about these models is that you can set them to match your schedule. If you know that you will leave the house at 7 AM each day, there’s no reason to keep the HVAC system running at full steam until you get home. You can set a programmable thermostat to lower the temperature down to a comfortable level just before you get home. Over time, the money you save on energy bills will start to add up, and you’re sure to appreciate not having to think about temperature adjustments. Some programmable thermostats even have settings for specific days of the week – you have one less thing to worry about when heading to the cabin every weekend.
Non-Programmable Digital Thermostats:
Practical and usually affordable, electronic thermostats provide yet another way to take control of your home’s temperature. These devices use electronic sensors to determine when rooms go above or below the temperature you set. Electronic thermostats have automatic components that react to these sensors, and make necessary adjustments. One advantage to these thermostats is how quickly they react to temperature changes in the home. You might not notice plunging outdoor temperatures after a thunderstorm, but your thermostat will. This saves you money on your energy bill, and makes your home more comfortable. If you’re ever in a hurry, it’s nice to have a digital display to quickly see the temperature.
If you’re looking to save money and don’t need a top-of-the-line product, mechanical thermostats are for you. These devices use vapor-filled bellows or bi-metallic strips to react to temperature changes. Although mechanical thermostats are easy to install, they’re not as reliable as other types of devices. Mechanical thermostats have a slower response time than alternative products, so it takes some waiting time after you set a temperature for the room to actually feel that way. You might need to change into shorts, then into sweatpants and back into shorts just to stay comfortable with a mechanical thermostat. Unfortunately, your initial cost savings could also be offset by energy inefficiency over time. Unless you live in an older home with mechanical thermostats already installed, we don’t recommend them for your HVAC system.
While smart thermostats are technically digital and programmable, their advanced features put them firmly in their own category. Smart thermostats are always connected to your home’s Wi-Fi, and this takes automation to a new level. Some of these devices, such as Nest thermostats, give you the ability to control your home’s temperature remotely via a smartphone app. That way, if you’re ever called off work early you can boot up your air conditioning at the push of a button before you leave. Smart thermostats go one step beyond regular HVAC scheduling and actually learn from your lifestyle – they know when you’re likely to be home or away, and will gradually adjust to your routine over time. The more expensive systems feature zone control, which can change temperatures on a room-by-room basis.
Your air conditioner is useless without the means to control it. When you can fine-tune your home’s temperature, you maximize comfort and cost-savings. A thermostat allows you to choose exactly how you feel in your home, whether it feels like a sauna or a freezer outside. In the summer, you need to pay extra attention to how your air conditioner is behaving to get the most out of your equipment. If you want to add some oomph to your air conditioner’s thermostat, we can help. Check out our thermostat services page to see how we can install, program and maintain your home’s thermostat to get the most out of your air conditioning this summer.