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How do I Choose the Best Electronic Thermostat?

David Bishop
David Bishop

Electronic thermostats provide many benefits to homeowners looking for comfort and convenience. They allow users to sleep at a lower temperature and wake up to a warm home without having to get out of bed and manually adjust the device. An electronic thermostat can also save money and energy by turning itself down at night and during the hours of the day when the house is empty. There are several models of electronic thermostat available, and a buyer will need to make a selection based on the type of heating/cooling system he owns, the type of wiring in his house and the features he wants the thermostat to have.

First, a buyer needs to determine the type of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system installed in his home. Details that matter include whether the system is one-stage or two-stage and whether the house uses central air or a heat pump. The homeowner should also note whether the thermostat is going to be controlling a gas fireplace or floor furnace. Those who own an older home may need to purchase an electronic thermostat that will work with direct-line voltage.

A programmable electronic thermostat.
A programmable electronic thermostat.

Once the customer has found a thermostat compatible with his type of HVAC system and electrical wiring, he can decide which features he wants. The simplest electronic thermostat will generally offer four saved temperature settings — two for heating and two for cooling. This will allow the user to have two different temperatures, usually a day setting and a night setting.

More complex thermostats allow a user to have a different temperature setting for every day of the week. While these types of thermostats might be more expensive, they also may save more on the heating or air-conditioning bill. Other electronic thermostat options include an energy-saving vacation mode, remote control and a touch-screen interface.

Most hardware stores have salespeople who can assist a buyer in making an electronic thermostat purchase, and they usually carry a few thermostat models from which to choose. The buyer may also go online for a wider selection. Installing an electronic thermostat is easy but does require some wiring and, thus, a comfort level in dealing with electronics. A homeowner may call an HVAC company to help him select and install a new thermostat. If he chooses to do it himself, the homeowner should make sure to turn off the electricity to the HVAC system before swapping out the thermostats.

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    • A programmable electronic thermostat.
      By: Bill Bradford
      A programmable electronic thermostat.