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How Do I Choose the Best Air Conditioning Thermostat?

A residential thermostat.
A central air conditioning unit.
Article Details
  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 05 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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The basic function of an air conditioning thermostat is to turn the cooling unit on and off at a preset temperature. Choosing the best air conditioning thermostat depends largely upon your own individual needs, lifestyle, and energy consciousness. Air conditioning thermostats are available in several different styles from basic manually operated models to multifunction programmable types. A simple manually operated air conditioning thermostat works best if you prefer to keep the indoor air temperature at a constant level at all times. Programmable thermostats are a better choice if you are away from home for several hours each day and want to save energy.

In its simplest form, an air conditioning thermostat is a temperature activated device that automatically controls the operation of the cooling unit. The purpose of this device is to maintain a constant indoor air temperature in a home or building. A manually operated model is usually sufficient for this purpose. Many people prefer to raise the air temperature when the home or building is unoccupied to conserve energy or save on cooling costs.

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A manually operated air conditioning thermostat can easily be set to a higher temperature when leaving the home or building each day, but you may find that the air is too warm upon returning. You may also forget to make the necessary temperature adjustment before leaving for the day. A programmable thermostat is usually more suitable than a manual model if you wish to make daily temperature adjustments. It can be set to raise the temperature automatically when you leave and lower it shortly before you return. This function conserves energy during unoccupied times and returns the temperature to a comfortable level when or before you return.

In addition to raising the air temperature during unoccupied hours, you may also want to adjust it at night while you sleep. Many programmable thermostats are capable of storing multiple settings for both daytime and nighttime hours. A slightly warmer air temperature can be selected during sleeping hours and automatically lowered again before you awake. Some programmable thermostats can also distinguish between days of the week so that different settings are observed on weekends. These models sometimes allow you to override the regular settings if you come home early or for special occasions such as holidays.

Choosing the best air conditioning thermostat really depends upon your particular lifestyle and the amount of energy you wish to conserve. A manually operated thermostat may work very well for someone who is at home most of the time. If you are away from home for several hours each day, a programmable thermostat may be a better choice. In general, a programmable model may also be the best choice if you simply want to conserve energy or lower your cooling costs.

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