The thermostat is really a remarkable device—it’s truly the remote control for your home’s heating and cooling systems. From the ease and comfort of your hallway, bedroom or den, you can stoke the fires of your furnace (or crank up your A/C) with the turn of a dial or push of a button. Then it keeps working to control your system and deliver the exact room temperature you desire.
There are two basic types: electromechanical thermostats and digital thermostats. Each has its own unique advantages.
Electromechanical thermostats. These 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. While they aren’t as accurate as digital models, they are quite economical and simple to use. This type of thermostat is being phased out because of its use of mercury and the effects it has on the environment.
Digital thermostats are the new rage, with good reason. Most models today are programmable thermostats, which means you can set times for your system to run or shut down based on when you need it. Just set it and forget it! This thermostat is much more accurate at keeping your home comfortable. And because you have much more control, you can significantly save on your energy costs by reducing your heat and cooling when you don’t need as much.