A place for everything and everything in its place — or so the saying goes. We’re not sure if the person who first said that was referring to thermostat placement in your home, but we sure are. If you own a home in a cold climate like Minnesota, there’s no doubt you’ve been acquainted with your thermostat. But, did you know that there are optimal places to mount it? We’re turning up the dial on the importance of thermostat placement with the hopes that you’ll walk away with a few tips and a better understanding of how the command center for your HVAC systems works.
What Does A Thermostat Do?
“A thermostat is the ‘user interface’ to your HVAC system,” says Keith Hill, technical support manager at Minnesota Air. “It is the temperature sensor for the home. It’s supposed to be monitoring the air temperature in the general area.”
Think of it as the command center – it tells your furnace or air conditioner when to kick on to get your home to the optimal temperature setting, and, in turn, tells it when to turn off once it’s reached that optimal temperature. Keith says that if you have zone heating – or a heating system that lets you set different areas of the home at different temperatures – you would have multiple thermostats or temperature sensors for each area or zone.
How Do I Know if It’s In The Right Place?
Since your thermostat checks the air temperature in the general area, the sensor can be affected by poor placement. For example, if it gets radiant heat from the kitchen, a bright sunny window, a lamp, or even from someone sitting right next to it, the thermostat’s sensor may sense incorrectly.
“The thermostat will react and the HVAC system will be commanded to heat or cool incorrectly,” says Keith. “The result is that you will not be comfortable.”
For the simplest solution, we go back to the quote used at the beginning of this article — a place for everything and everything in its place. That means finding a new place to put a heat source. Can you move that big lamp that you have near it? Could there be a better area to put that frequently sat in chair?
“The solution can be as simple as moving the lamp or the heat source,” says Keith. “But in the case of sunlight, it may require moving the thermostat. Some thermostats are wireless so a move is easy. And there are wired thermostats that can have remote sensor added.”
Keith says an added sensor can be set as the primary and the thermostat can be programmed to ignore its internal sensor, or the added sensor can be used in combination with the internal sensor for temperature averaging.
Contact a pro if you have any of these issues that require moving the thermostat or adding a remote sensor. Locating a trusted Carrier dealer near you is a great place to start.