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A Deeper Dive into Your Thermostat

Our bodies are exceptionally good at regulating our personal temperatures. When it comes to regulating our home’s temperature, we call on the often unsung thermostat. We can picture them and understand their basic purpose, but what’s going on behind the scenes?

Basically, thermostats are mechanical or electronic switches that, as room temperature changes, automatically open or close a circuit. When room temperature is below the established setting, the thermostat opens the circuit to start the burner and/or circulator or blower. When the desired temperature has been reached, the thermostat closes it.

Older thermostats use a bimetallic, or bimetal, strip. This is two different metals, which are bonded together, and expand or contract at varying rates of speed when temperatures change. By bending or moving when heat is added or taken away, it creates a mechanical force that opens or closes a circuit.

Programmable electronic thermostats, on the other hand, use digital sensors to read room temperatures, lending to greater accuracy and responsiveness. The beauty of programmable thermostats is that they can be programmed to achieve different temperatures according to a predetermined schedule. They come in 7-day models, ideal for those who have a different schedule every day; 5+2-day models, for those who have a set weekday and weekend schedule;  and even 5-1-1 models, for those who have a Monday-Friday schedule, and unique Saturday and Sunday schedules.

Smart thermostats have taken this technology to new heights, enabling you to adjust the temperature in your home from anywhere at any time using a mobile device. Some “learning” thermostats even study factors like your energy usage and the weather, and use that information to adjust the temperature for maximum efficiency.

In all, thermostats have come a long way, and many great options exist if you’re looking to upgrade yours. Be sure to consult your trusted fuel dealer when considering your next thermostat.