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Thermostat 101: A Common Error

People often make one simple error with their thermostat that needlessly increases their energy costs every month. It is a common misconception and stems from a misunderstanding of how thermostats and HVAC systems work. Once explain, it becomes glaringly obvious that their previous strategy accomplishes nothing more than thinning your wallet.

Thermostat Error

Many people when they return from work or the store turn on their air conditioner in the summer or furnace in the winter. It’s uncomfortable in the home! However, the problem is that they will set the thermostat way higher than they actually want the home to feel. If they want a cool 70 degrees in the summer, they will set it to 60 to try and make it go faster. It’s not unfathomable to expect a thermostat to operate this way, unless you know how these HVAC systems actually work.

How They Work

Furnaces and air conditioners to have various power settings. There isn’t low power or high power, there is only on and off. The thermostat doesn’t regulate how powerfully the HVAC system will work, but rather what temperature you want the home to be. So, it won’t tell your HVAC system to work harder, but rather to run longer. This means your home is going to become too cool or too warm (depending on the season) and you’ll have to adjust your thermostat again later to achieve the right temperature. The longer it runs, the more money spent, so the best strategy is to set it and forget it.

This has been another long winded overly wordy explanation of something simple. So, now I’d like to hear from you. Are you guilty of this mistake? Do you have an example of when this problem has affected your life?

I’ll go first. When I used to work in retail, the store would become very hot very quickly, so some mystery worker would turn every thermostat down to 50 degrees to try and cool the place down quickly. Now, our air conditioning system was pretty weak so the temperature never actually reached 50 when the sun was out during store hours. However, every morning when I arrived to open the store, dear lord. It would be so incredibly cold in the store that I couldn’t think.


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