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The Do's and Don'ts of Thermostat Placement for Your Home

Your thermostat is a key component of your heating and cooling system. Without it, your furnace wouldn’t know AdobeStock_96317419-1.jpegwhen to heat your home or your air conditioner to cool it.

Your thermostat reads the air temperature in the surrounding area and compares it to the target temperature you’ve set for your home. When those don’t match, the thermostat sends a signal to your furnace or AC to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Getting an accurate reading is critical to keeping your home at the comfort level you need and where you place your thermostat determines how accurate that reading is. Here are some tips for where to and not to place your home’s thermostat for best performance and comfort.

DON’T Locate Near a Window or Door

The areas around windows and doors are likely to get significant fluctuations in temperatures. Doors are constantly being opened and closed, raising and lowering temperatures depending on the season. Drafty windows can do the same.

If your thermostat is located nearby, it can force your furnace or air conditioner to turn on and off frequently without actually achieving the comfort level you’re looking for.

DO Place on an Interior Wall

Your thermostat is intended to measure the average temperature of your home. So, it makes sense to locate it in an “average” area of your home, away from spots that tend to have greater variations in temperature. That’s usually an interior wall such as in a family room or living room. These also tend to be the most used rooms in many homes, where you’ll want optimum temperature control.

DON’T Locate in Direct Sunlight

If your thermostat is placed in direct sunlight, you’re almost certain to get inaccurate readings.

Just imagine the difference it can make sitting in front of a window with the sun streaming in even on a chilly winter day. You can feel the heat and so can your thermostat. When your thermostat senses the heat, it may not engage your furnace when you need it or engage your AC when you don’t!

Keep in mind this same rule applies to skylights, so make sure your thermostat isn’t directly in line with one.

DO Place in a Central Location

This goes along with placing your thermostat on an interior wall. That wall will ideally be located in the central-most room of your home. That way, the thermostat will be reading centrally circulating air, giving you the best average home temperature.

READ: Home Comfort: A Guide to Finding The Perfect Home Temperature

DON’T Locate Above Air Vents

Air vents, of course, are where your heated or cooled air enters your living spaces. If your thermostat is located above a vent, the temperatures it reads will be inaccurate because it will be getting hit with blasts of hot or cold air.

It’s very similar to placing your thermostat near a window or door — you’re almost certain to get skewed temperature readings, which will impact your home’s comfort.

DO Install 52-60 Inches Above the Floor

Another way to ensure that your thermostat is getting an average reading of air temperatures is to place it between 52 and 60 inches above the floor.

Remember, heat rises, so lower than 52 inches and you may be getting too low of a reading; above 60 inches and your reading could be too high.

DO Consider a Thermostat with a Remote Sensor 

Some newer thermostats solve these issues with a remote sensor option — both a wired option that requires two small low voltage wires, and wireless option that is battery powered. So, if you do put the thermostat in the wrong spot, you can either use the remote sensor to read the temperature in a good spot, or you can set them up to average between the sensor in the thermostat and the remote sensor.

Your Ideal Thermostat Placement

Every home layout is different, so there's not one set answer for thermostat placement, but this is what you should remember:

  • Central location
  • On an interior wall
  • Mounted 52-60 inches above the floor
  • Away from air vents, doors, windows, and skylights

If you follow these guidelines, your home should feel comfortable year-round.

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