The first thermostat was invented in 1830, it was a simple device, consisting of a temperature sensitive bi-metal spring, attached to a damper system on the furnace.
The damper restricted the flow of warm air to the room. As the room temperature dropped the spring in the thermostat contracted triggering a pulley system to open the damper to the furnace allowing more hot air to enter the room.
As the room grew warmer, the spring expanded and closed the damper cutting off the heat. This was highly inefficient as the furnace operated all the time and the room temperature was seldom ideal sometimes too warm or at other times too cold.
Modern thermostats turn the furnace on and off controlling the temperature and saving energy.
Mechanical thermostats are simple devices consisting of a bimetal spring which would expand and contract as the temperature in the room changed, a mercury switch is attached to the spring to give the thermostat greater efficiency by reacting quicker to changes in temperature.
The thermostat is set to a specific temperature and thermostat turns the furnace or air conditioning on and off based on that setting.
Mechanical thermostats are simple, inexpensive and reliable, but not as energy efficient as electronic thermostats. Some models allow control of both heating and cooling via a mode switch.
Electronic thermostats allow accurate control of the temperature and respond to changes in temperature faster. Most are programmable allowing you to set specific temperatures for specific time periods.
This allows you to save energy by keeping the system off when your away and then turn on the heat or air conditioning prior to your arrival home. These can be programed for weekdays and weekends separately, allowing you to set different schedules for each day or the same schedule all week.
Electronic thermostats have illuminated displays using touch pad controls, making them easier to see and use than mechanical thermostats.
Wi-Fi thermostats give you the ultimate in convenience, using the internet you can monitor the temperature, adjust the settings and turn the system on or off via your smart phone or computer. This gives you complete control over the system maximizing your energy savings and assuring your home will be comfortable no matter when you arrive home.
Some models can even adjust the settings based on the weather forecast, notify you when there is maintenance due or a system failure. Remote sensors can be added to the system creating zones such as the bedrooms or family room allowing a specific temperature for one or more zones saving energy.
Which thermostat is best for your home?
1. A simple mechanical thermostat will work fine for the single person on a regular schedule,
Set it for the temp you want to maintain. Turn it off when your away and on again when your home. You’ll have some periods of uncomfortable temperatures as the system heats or cools to meet your settings but the cost is right and the operation is simple.
2. If you always want a comfortable environment buy a programmable thermostat, these allow you to set it and forget it. Arrive home to a toasty warm or iced tea cool home without any worries. The system does it all for you. Need a temporary boost in temp? Just manually override the set temperature to suite your needs, and the system will remember your previous settings and revert back to them, no need to reset it.
3. Want the ultimate in convenience and control? Buy a Wi-Fi thermostat they allow you a have complete control of your system from almost anywhere in the world! Check or change settings, monitor energy use, even program it to adjust settings based on the weather forecast, all from your smart phone or computer.
Wi-Fi thermostats can also be integrated into your smart home system, giving control of the heating and air conditioning, lighting and security systems all from your smart phone.
Visit your local Home Depot for more information on any of these thermostats, our plumbing department associates will assist you in selecting the ideal thermostat for your home.
Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man