So, in this blog, I will talk about thermostats. These small devices play a huge role in saving energy. If you have any heating and cooling device at your home, then the thermostat is the must have for you. A lot of people also get mistaken between thermometer and thermostat. Let me tell you; there is a considerable difference between both of them. The primary difference is thermometer used for temperature check while thermostat used for temperature control.
If we talk about the origin of the word then it is made up of two ancient Greek words; thermo and statos. Thermo means heat and Statos means something which stays same; to maintain the status quo of heat. So, if you are using the thermostat for home then if the home is too cold, it will switch off the switch, if it’s hot, it will switch on the AC without your manual intervention.
Most people do the mistake when they move to a new place. They change everything furniture, appliances, and other stuff, but they forget to change the thermostat. And that creates a problem sometimes. So if you are shifting to a new house keep in mind, you shift your thermostat as well and bring a new one.
You might argue why should you change the thermostat. Let me tell you, it is the brain of the heating system and you should ensure its healthy condition. Nowadays, people prefer using a smart thermostat because it gives you more freedom and better control. If you first time heard about it and wondering what this gizmo is then don’t worry. We’ll take you to the whole journey. Below are some of the main reasons why should you buy a thermostat.
1. Heat and cool when it is required: You don’t want your heating and cooling system to be On in all weathers. Sometimes, the atmosphere is better without air conditioning. At that time, it gives your system some rest till the time the temperature remains optimum. Its adaptive smart sensors keep the temperature in the desirable range. It also knows when people are in the home and when they are out. If there is nobody in the home, it will automatically turn off the system and save the energy.
2. Save money: Over energy, consumptions cost you a lot of money. Smart monitoring can help you save the energy as well as money. These devices give a lot of stats including your usage history and all. And, you will see a lot of difference if you compare the previous consumptions and current consumptions. You will see a significant difference in the bills.
3. Easy to use: These devices are also very easy to use. Earlier the thermostats used to be bit complicated but over the years, advancement happened and that have given us some high-end thermostats.
Now, the User Interface is straightforward with adjustable brightness and good graphics. They also have color indicators as well that allows the better understanding of the room’s temperature. You can also do a lot of customization as well. You can programme them accordingly and use them at your disposal. All the functionalities are just a few clicks away.
4. Remote access and control: With Wi-Fi at home, it’s easy to access a smart thermostat remotely; from a desktop or laptop computer, a tablet or smartphone. Why are These smart devices can be remotely controlled nowadays? You can control them with your smartphone or by using the remote controller itself. Imagine, it’s a hot day, and you are coming home earlier than usual, and you want the pre-cooled home then open the app and enter what you want.
5. A smarter home: When you have a thermostat installed in your home, it gives you a different living experience. You feel like living in a better and smarter home. You can do a lot more thing with the device. Not just you control the temperature. Instead, you can control the smoke detectors, security cameras, light bulbs, and doorbells as well. You can also control them with virtual assistants like Alexa and have everything under your control with your voice only.
How does a Thermostat Work
A lot of people wonder how does thermostat work? So, if you are among those curious people then read this section carefully. So, firstly let’s go back in time and take a look into the first thermostat that was made by a Dutch Scientist named Cornelis Drebbel. He used the floating mercury inside the thermometer and connected it to the damper of the furnace. Every time, the mercury rises to the certain level, the floating will push damper to close.
Nowadays, the kind of thermostat we use, are also fundamentally the same, but regarding technology, they have changed a lot. Now, you have temperature sensors that allow them to close. Once the temperature rises or goes down, electrical circuits will complete, and the current will start flowing. So, now you can say things have turned electrical from mechanical. There are some high-end devices as well that understands the home better than you; they know the family’s preferences and behaviour, and accordingly, they will adjust. You can also control them with the help of your smartphone or any remote controller. It makes the whole system to work at your disposal. There are three types of thermostats are being used in the current scenario. The first one is electronic ones or programmable thermostats, then comes the electrochemical ones and at last, are zoned heating and cooling thermostats. So, below are the difference between their functionalities and their process.
Programmable Electronic Thermostats: These are one of the most common thermostats and widely used all around the world. They are very easy to use as they come with a simple user interface. If you compare them with small computers. Here, everything is determined by sensors only which feed the data to the device and based on that; the decisions are made. They have an electronic heat sensing element and circuit system which connects with the heating and cooling system. Whenever the temperature drops or goes above the desired range, the circuit gets completed, and the system starts working. You also get timer option with them that gives you the freedom to decide what temperature you want when you wake up in the morning or when you go to bed in the night.
It gives you perfect comfort. You don’t have to go to the thermostat again and again and set your desired temp. If you want some advanced features, then you can go with a nest thermostat which itself a learning device; it understands your home, better than you. It will track all the data, at what you go to the office and what time you come back, how many members in the family, which room is vacant and much more. It makes you smarter, and you feel like you are living in the future.
Electromechanical Thermostats: These devices are a bit complex to understand at least in comparison to electronic ones. It doesn’t have electronic sensors. Instead, they work on mechanical sensors which are driven by some coil or strip. With the change of temperature, the metal piece elongates or shrinks that allows a change in the circuit connection. They with bi-coil or strip. Change in temperature causes these pieces to expand or shrink at different rates which connects to an electric circuit and that decide the final result. It also has glass vial which contains the mercury.
Tilting of vial decides the competition of circuit, and this is how everything is regulated. When the cooling is required, mercury will flow in othe direction, and that will allow its cooling. Though, mercury disposal has become a problem since the last couple of years that is a huge downside for this kind of thermostats.A lot of testing has been done and Honeywell has been actively participating in these experiments to get rid of this problem.
Zoned Heating & Cooling: These kinds of devices are not very popular but are used in some house when there is a specific requirement of the zoned system. In this case, the house is divided into several areas, and each area is controlled by separate settings. It all the thermostats in the house to give the best comfort. For example, if there are two room on the same floor and you need a different temperature in both, it can’t be done with the single thermostat. For that multiple thermostats, installation is required which later on controlled by Zoned heating and cooling system. It controls the system by sending the cool and warm air to these individual devices.
Installing the thermostat is the hectic process if you don’t know what needs to be done. There are several different ways; you can install a thermostat. So let’s dive into each step one by one. In case, after reading this whole section, you still find yourself confused, I will highly recommend you to call your local electrician. There are three main approaches that people use installation, check the one which suits the condition.
#1 Replace the wire for wire(If you already have old one installed): This technique works for replacement only. If you have already installed one and haven’t changed your HVAC system, then this approach is the best one.
First thing, you have to do is to turn off all the electrical circuits to the air handler or furnace.
Then take a clear picture of the old wiring connection with different terminals. This is very helpful in taking reference. People also put the same color tape in wire and terminal to keep in mind what should be connected where. So, it’s completely up to your choice. But I think clicking the picture is the hassle free and the simplest way to get the reference.
Now, remove all the wires and attach them one by one. I would suggest you remove and connect parallelly so that you don’t get confused. Make sure; you make the connections properly. It should not be loose.
You might also see some of the wires not getting used from the wire bundle. Don’t worry about them. If earlier, they were not in use, leave them this time as well. I would suggest you wrap all the spare wires with the tape. Keep in mind; bare parts don’t touch each other and terminal as well.
Once all the connections are made, you can switch it on and enter the instructions for heating and cooling if everything is working fine. Tap your shoulder; you just made it. If it’s not working properly, dial the local electrician number.
#2 By Locating the Wire Connection(If the old thermostat is already removed): This is a bit tricky case. In this situation, you have to locate the connections in the air handler or furnace. I would say if you are not confident and never did wiring by your own then call the electrician because here a simple mistake causes a system failure or other incident. If you want to do it on your own, follow the below steps.
Turn off all the circuits so that there is no current flow in the system. Double check that system is off by adjusting the heating and cooling. If nothing is getting turned on, then you are good to go.
Now, you can remove the cover of the furnace and then locate all the wires entering the furnace. There would be seven to eight wires of different colors. It will include different colors like orange, colors, green, yellow and others. Don’t get overwhelmed by it.
Now, you separate all the wires. All the wiring connections will be exposed by removing the control board cover. Then locate the terminal connections on the furnace. You can take a picture, or you can also write it down somewhere for reference. Don’t close the furnace until the thermostat wiring connection is complete.
Now, use the picture for reference and make the right connection by using the picture as reference. There would be some spare wires as well. Tape them properly so that exposed parts neither touch each other nor the terminals.
Once, the connection is made. You can check the thermostat working. If everything is working fine, you can fix the cover back and clap for yourself. In case, there is any glitch; you can call the local electrician or nearby HVAC support.
#3 Standard Color wiring: This is the toughest wiring and very overwhelming as well if you never did anything like this before. For, this type of connection, you have to understand the labels of wiring colors.
If the thermostat is already removed and you don’t want to open the furnace, then this is the option that you can go for. Then you should know which wire will be used for which terminal connection for that you can refer to the above connection for color labeling. Most of the cases when it comes to installation, people use the traditional wiring color code. If that guy didn’t follow the conventional system, then don’t touch anything. If you are thinking, different wiring color means different wire itself then don’t get confused. Every wire is same from the inside, the solid copper wire with the same width. The color code came into the picture to make the whole process easier. Follow the below steps to make the proper connection.
- Make the red wire connection with R terminal which is used for the heating & cooling purpose.
- Green wire will go G terminal which is used for the fan.
- White wire connection with W terminal(Heat)
- Yellow wire with Y terminal and blue wire with C Terminal
- If you have more wires, then you can refer to the above picture. Make sure; you wrap the additional wires, so those bare parts don’t touch anything.
- If you have any component capable of staged cooling or heating, then you might find some glitch in this connection. If you face the problem, call the technician.
Best Smart Home Thermostats 2019
1-Nest (T3007ES) Learning Thermostat
This is the best thermostat that you can buy in 2019. It has the solid build quality and has a stylish finish as well. It also comes in multiple colors as well. You can choose between black, white, stainless steel and copper. So, you can choose that matches your wall color and give your home a new look altogether. It’s smart adaptive is system is simply remarkable. It is capable of communicating with other nest devices and other smartphones as well.
You can also install a smart bulb that will indicate in case of emergency. Below are some of the important aspects of Nest Learning Thermostat that you should know.
You can also make the laundry connection that eliminates the possibility of power load. It will allow using the washer or dryer when energy demand is low.
A Nest home is the perfect smart home. It works with Amazon Alexa and gives you voice control for user-friendly use.
It saves a lot of energy and has received a very good rating online. It is very easy to install and have very simple User Interface as well. You can choose among digital or analog display. It gives decent amount data about room temperature, weather, etc.
Its learning ability gives it an edge over others. It can learn habits and make automatic adjustments.
If you are installing it on your own. I would highly recommend reading all the instruction properly. If you have any confusion, call the technician.
2- Ecobee 4 Smart Thermostat
This is the second most popular thermostat and one of the best when it comes to saving money and energy. It can bring the energy cost up to 25 percent annually. It’s like the amount you spend on buying the device is compensated by two years of savings.
It has room sensors as well that you can place inside your home and the rest will be taken care by it. It also knows when you are in the home and when you are not which allows it to turn on and off automatically. With the product, you would be getting one room sensors; if you want extra, you have to buy them separately. Below are ecobee 4 Smart Thermostat main features.
What I love about this thermostat that it can be easily installed. The installation process doesn’t take more than half an hour. You have to install the app that will guide you through the whole process.
You will get all the required accessories with the product itself that includes power extender and C wire as well.
The Ecobee app can be installed through the app store. It supports Android and iOS both.
It has built-in Alexa that allows you to control it with your voice. You can do anything with it; it’s a lot more than a thermostat. You can play songs, set timer, change the temp. And much more.
3- Ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat
This is the previous version of the above model. If you don’t want to spend some extra bucks and want to go with a more affordable thermostat with decent features, then this could be your choice.
It works with room sensors, place them inside your important room and rest will be taken care of by the device itself. All other Ecobee devices, it also saves a significant amount of energy and money. The installation of the device is pretty simple, and you can read the instructions and do it by yourself. Below are some of the important aspects of Ecobee3.
You will get a complete installation kit with the product only; you don’t need to buy anything separately. But if you want an extra room sensor, then you need to spend some extra bucks.
The app supports both Android and iOS devices. You can download it from the playstore.
It works with all another home setup as well that includes Alexa, Apple Home, Cortana, Wink and even with IFTTT.
It comes with three years of warranty. The product dimensions are 4 x 1 x 4 inches, and it weighs around 12.8 ounces.
4- Honeywell TH9320WF5003
Honeywell is known for making some high-end products, and when it comes to thermostats, this is one of their best products. It comes at a very affordable rate and still with some advanced features. This programmable thermostat is easy to use because its app has a very simple user interface. Wifi connection is must if you want to use all of its features.
It can be programmed at your disposal, and you can use it the way you want. The programming can be done with the help of a laptop, app or the device itself. It requires 24v wiring installation. So if you are not familiar with it, you can call an HVAC technician. Below are some of the important things that you should know about it.
Its learning ability is remarkable that makes it more capable of doing things. It can do the things that Nest thermostat can do.
It comes with one year of warranty since the time installation is done. Before that anything goes wrong, call the customer care. Honeywell is known for its good customer support.
It also works with smart things, Alexa and Zwave as well. It gives you kind of location freedom. No matter wherever you are, you can easily control it.
The screen can’t be turned off. It gives temperature, humidity and date information. If the power goes off, it will connect automatically once the power is back.
5- Emerson Sensi
This is also a very good quality thermostat. It works with the HVAC system and requires C wire for connection. If you are confused about the router compatibility, you can go to their official website and get more information.
It also works with all voice assistants that includes Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Home kit, Wink and others. You can control it by using their app which is supported to iOS and Android both as well. They also received one of the best thermostats by USA Today. Below are some of the main features of Emerson Sensi.
It comes with advanced features that make it stand out of the crowd. It has features like Geofencing; seven days advance scheduling, energy reports and much more.
It is easy to install. You can install it in less than half an hour. For more information, you can read the booklet or go their above mentioned official website.
Most of the thermostats are capable of two stages of cooling, but this one comes with four stages of cooling. You need to buy Dual Fuel A C wire that you can get separately with Emerson Wire kit.
6- Orbit 83521
If you want to try something else apart from Honeywell and Ecobee, then you can go for Orbit thermostat. It has a beautiful, clean design that looks like a wall decor, and you can also programme it. It also has an early start mode that allows it to reach the temperature at the desired time. It also comes at a very affordable price and with some good features. Below are some of the important aspects of it.
You can program it for seven days that gives you a lot of freedom. It has four programming periods so you can choose the one you like.
It has multi-stage heating and cooling system, permanent hold mode, central heating and much more.
It gives you very precise data. It works with different types of furnaces that includes gas, oil, and electric furnace.
7- Honeywell 1 Week Programmable Thermostat
This is again a one-week programmable thermostat by Honeywell. The product is very easy to use and have a good quality build as well. It is durable and comes with the digital display. It is compatible with cooling, heating and heat pumps as well — the big downside of this thermostat that it doesn’t work with the electric baseboard HVAC system. It gives accurate weather and temperature information. Below are some of the important facts that you should know about.
It has a bright display. You can select between analog and digital options.
The highest temperature it can go to is 40 degree that allows it to keep things not to get frozen if you are using it in the basement or somewhere else.
It works with 12v RV as well that makes it a good replacement of several other thermostats.
If you are confused among different settings, then I would recommend you to go through manual to avoid any confusion.
8- Nuheat Home
Nutheat Home is a smart programmable thermostat capable of doing some great stuff. It has a responsive touch screen, bright monitor and an all-new controller as well. If you are using the previous versions, now it’s time to buy the latest one. Heat mat installs are better than the previous models and look better as well. It has better durability as it comes with bigger and heavier transformer. Below are some of the important things that you should know about this device.
Read all instructions in the manual. It is very easy to install can in fixed in 15-20 mins.
The dimensions are around 5*3 inches which is a very compact and handy size.
It is also very affordable as well. For more information, you can visit their official site.
9- Teseton Digital Wireless (Convenient)
This is a thermostat timer that gives you more control and freedom. It has built-in temperature sensors that take very accurate data and give right instructions to the thermostat. The connection happens wirelessly. When the current temperature is equal to the desired one, the thermostat will stop its heating or cooling process.
You get three years warranty with this item that itself boasts about its durability.
Installation is very simple. You can plug and play. You can change the display the way you want. All the modes can be changed by using the SET button.
It has a range up to 20metres. It needs two AA 1.5V batteries for functioning.
10- Nest 9750016 T3016US
This is again one of the most popular models of Nest. You can choose any one between the first one and this one keeping all your requirements into consideration. It also comes in multiple colors so you can choose the one that suits your wall. It works with other Nest and smartphone as well. Nest makes your home smarter and efficient. It also saves a lot of energy; you will a significant change in the annual power bills.
It can also learn your habits and manage a lot of things by own. It learning ability certainly give it an edge over others.
You can also read the display across the room. This feature is called Farsight and provides you beautiful display.