Thermostat Myths: Heating and Cooling

The thermostat in your home controls when your heating or cooling system operates. You can save energy and money by learning how this simple device operates.

Whether you have a programable or manual thermostat, there are few myths that we would like to share with you and the facts that everyone should know. Understanding these basic misconceptions will save you a lot of money.

Myth: Setting the thermostat higher or lower will heat or cool the house faster.

Fact: Homeowners come home to an uncomfortable house and set the thermostat higher or lower than necessary, thinking it will warm or cool faster. In reality, a furnace or air-conditioner works at the same speed, no matter what the thermostat setting. A home will warm up to 70ºF just as quickly if the thermostat is set at 70ºF as it would if the thermostat was set at 80ºF. In such instances, energy may be wasted as the heating or cooling system continues to run after it reaches your desired set point.

Myth: A heating and cooling system “works harder” to reach a comfortable temperature after setback or set forward.

Fact: Many people do not adjust their thermostat at night or while the home is unoccupied because of the common misconception that the heating or cooling system must “work harder” or use more energy to reheat or re-cool the house. This is not how a thermostat works. The system turns on to reach a set level and then shuts off when that level is reached. It can be likened more to a switch that shuts on and off, rather than a gas pedal that accelerates faster the more you step on it.

Myth: Closing off vents will help to lower heating and cooling costs.

Fact: Closing or covering up vents is typically not a good way to save on energy costs. Heating and cooling systems balance their load throughout the duct system. If one vent gets closed off, it throws the system off balance. Pressure can build up in the duct work, causing leakage and less air circulating in your home. This reduces system efficiency and home comfort.

Myth: If your house isn’t being cooled or heated to a comfortable temperature, despite the thermostat settings, the thermostat must be broken.

Fact: More often than not, when your home isn’t reaching the desired temperature, it is not the thermostat to blame. Instead, the issue could be with the heating or cooling unit or possibly a problem with your ductwork. If your experiencing this issue, you should contact a professional who can accurately diagnose the problem and offer the appropriate repair solutions.

Myth: The location of the thermostat is not that important to its ability to function properly.

Fact: Ideally, thermostats should be installed in a convenient location and most closely to areas requiring optimal comfort control such as the bedrooms. Thermostats should be placed away from doorways, direct sunlight, drafty areas, drapery, appliances, vents, registers and the kitchen. Its environment can significantly influence its performance, which in turn, influences your comfort and the cost of keeping you comfortable.