The technology that cools our most important living spaces is complex, but it's all controlled by one integral component—the thermostat. It's an important role to play; after all, if your thermostat malfunctions, there will be no signal sent to your AC system to tell it to start cooling or heating. That could mean no cool or warm air when you need it most.
Electro-mechanical, digital, and even WiFi-enabled Depending on the age of your system, there are two basic types of thermostat: electro-mechanical and digital. Their role is the same—controlling your system to deliver the exact room temperature you desire—but their operation is different. Digital thermostats are also now available with Internet connectivity, offering a whole new level of comfort and convenience.
- Electro-mechanical thermostats are the older types with little metal coils and a mercury tube inside. As the temperature in a room shifts, the coils either contract or expand, pushing the mercury to one end of its tube or the other, which signals the HVAC system to either turn on or off.
- Digital thermostats are much more accurate at keeping your home comfortable. Most models today are programmable thermostats, which means you can set times for your system to run or shut down. Because you have much more control, you can save on your energy costs by reducing your heating and cooling when you don't need as much.
- WiFi-enabled thermostats allow you to set your temperature from wherever you are using your computer or mobile device. Many can also detect when your house is occupied or empty, learn your routine and preferences, and adjust the temperature accordingly. The result? Lower utility bills—and a much more predictably comfortable home. The Nest Learning Thermostat® is a great example of this technology.