How Does A Programmable Thermostat Work?

programmable thermostat in a residential home

All types of heating and cooling equipment rely on a thermostat to produce an accurate reading of the ambient temperature of an enclosed space. The thermostat is a key component of every type of HVAC system that maintains the desired temperature. Many HVAC professionals recommend the use of a programmable thermostat because of the convenience it offers. But what is it exactly and how does a programmable thermostat work?

In this article, we discuss some useful information on programmable thermostats.

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Understanding The Programmable Thermostat

A thermostat is a component of a heating and/or cooling system that is designed to sense and control the temperature. Likewise, it controls certain actions that occur within a controlled system, such as a furnace or an air conditioner. It controls the system by either regulating how much heat transfer fluid flows or switching the device on and off. These actions help reach and maintain the desired temperature within an enclosed space.

Manual Thermostats Vs. Programmable Thermostats

manual thermostat


The difference between an ordinary thermostat and a programmable thermostat is that the programmable type can automatically adjust the temperature. It does this based on specific settings that you program into the system. The homeowner can set temperatures higher or lower depending on his/her preference settings at different times during the day.

Today’s thermostats are generally digital. However, it is still possible to find still-working non-digital types in older homes and establishments. Digital thermostats have a device or component called the thermistor that measures temperature. It contains metals that change with the changes in the ambient temperature. The thermistor allows temperature electrical resistance changes.

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Thermostat Microcontroller

Another key component in the thermostat is the microcontroller. This measures electrical resistance. It then converts that resistance reading into a temperature reading. This is how the modern digital thermostat senses temperature. Its programmable settings is a feature that allows the user to program the thermostat to either turn down or turn up the heat at certain times of the day. During winter, for example, the thermostat may be programmed to keep the heat up in the morning before you leave the house. It can then turn it down at a certain time when you are away at work. Likewise, it can turn up the heat once again when you return home.

A programmable thermostat can also be set to regulate the temperature throughout the day, depending on how indoor temperatures fluctuate within a 24-hour period.

Programmable thermostats are also quite useful for zoning. HVAC zoning means that different zones/rooms/areas of a home can be heated or cooled using different temperature settings. This is the ideal setting for multi-zone homes or multi-level homes. Since hot air rises, rooms in the lower levels are usually cooler than rooms in the upper levels. This problem can be fixed by installing a programmable thermostat in different rooms or zones to control the temperature and keep it constant.


Benefits of A Programmable Thermostat

Automatic Temperature Adjustment

benefits of a programmable thermostat

Since a programmable thermostat can be set to cool or heat rooms or areas at specific times automatically, there is no need to adjust or readjust the temperature. It takes away the inconvenience of going to the thermostat to change the temperatures when needed.

Improved Comfort

Temperature adjustments with a programmable thermostat are automatic. This means rooms or areas within a home can maintain the desired temperature throughout the day. As such, comfort requirements are met.

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Improved Temperature Control In Zones

A programmable thermostat can achieve a more effective temperature control for zoned heating and cooling. Since rooms or areas can be cooled differently and independently of each other, the thermostat can even be turned off in certain rooms if these are unoccupied.

Less Stress On An Older HVAC System

If your home is running on an older HVAC system, then a programmable thermostat installation can help unburden the system. This is especially beneficial if your system is constantly running. This helps reduce wear and tear. Likewise, it could extend the lifespan of an old HVAC system.


A programmable thermostat could be helpful in reducing your energy costs. . A programmable thermostat makes it possible to change the temperature settings to suit your day-to-day schedule. Consequently, your HVAC system does not have to run on full blast all day. Cooling and heating may even be turned up, down, or off depending on whether someone is present at home or not.


What If I Don’t Want The Automatic Temperature Setting?

All types of programmable thermostats come with a feature that overrides the automatic system and allows manual operation. By using this manual option, you do not have to automatically set the temperatures at all. You still have control over the system, however. For convenience, you might want to consider remote control and monitoring. This way, you do not need to be near the thermostat or even present at home to change the temperatures when you want to. You can remotely program newer thermostats with WiFi capabilities using your computer or smartphone. This is convenient when you forget to set your furnace or AC when you are away from home.

Do You Need A Programmable Thermostat?

A programmable thermostat is the better option for people who pretty much run a regular schedule. It also works for those who want to be able to control the temperatures in their homes without manually manipulating the HVAC system. You can set a programmable thermostat to heat up or cool down the house at certain times. It is even possible to keep this setting for a prolonged period of time. If you want to have better control of your home environment without too much manipulation, then a programmable thermostat is right for you.

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What a programmable thermostat offers is actually convenience, better control, higher comfort levels, and cost savings. It is an excellent option for many homes and buildings whose occupants have specific temperature preferences. It provides better control of the indoor environment. If a programmable thermostat seems a good option for you, talk to your local HVAC professional to discuss your needs. They can determine which features will work best for your heating and cooling requirements.

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McAllister EnergyMcAllister Energy offers superior heating and cooling services in Camden County, New Jersey. We hire the best certified technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy guarantees the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services can improve your comfort, increase your energy efficiency while reducing your home cooling costs. If you happen to need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the best one for your home while staying within your budget. We back all of our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. To schedule a service appointment, give McAllister Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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