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The thermostat is the control panel of your home's HVAC system. It's a small device, but the way it works affects the way the entire system runs. Therefore, it's important to make sure you have the best thermostat for your needs and that it's in good working order. To that end, here are a few thermostat basics to keep in mind.

Changing Thermostat Batteries

You can save yourself a lot of hassle by simply changing thermostat batteries regularly. A lot of people forget to do this. Then, when the batteries die, the HVAC system stops working and they panic and call for a repair when the actual problem is something they could have easily dealt with themselves.

Many modern thermostats will display how much battery life they have left and even provide an audible warning when it's time to replace it. If your model doesn't have these features, though, a good rule of thumb is to replace the batteries once a year.

Changing thermostat batteries is a simple process.

  • First, make sure you know what kind of batteries it takes (usually AA or AAA, or sometimes lithium) and have replacement batteries ready.
  • Remove the thermostat cover from the mount plate, either by pulling or sliding it off and remove the old batteries. If they don't come out easily, pry them out with a small, flat blade screwdriver.
  • Insert the new batteries, ensuring that the plus and minus signs are facing the right direction, as per the instructions on the slot.
  • Slide the cover back into place until it clicks.

If, after changing the battery, the thermostat still experiences problems, contact HVAC technician to check it out.

Considering a Thermostat Upgrade

Once you've got the basic troubleshooting and maintenance under control, it's time to look at what the thermostat is doing for your household and if it might be time to upgrade. The current one may still be in good working order, easy to use, and fine for keeping your house comfortable. But a thermostat upgrade could potentially offer you so much more.

  • For one thing, you could significantly lower your energy bills by upgrading to a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat not only remembers your preferred comfort settings rather than having to be manually readjusted every time, but it can also store multiple settings for different situations. When you're at home, it can heat or cool your house to your ideal temperature and keep you comfortable. Then, when you go to work, it can be programmed to switch automatically to a setting that's five or ten degrees warmer in the summer or cooler in the winter to save energy.

    Set the thermostat to switch to the more efficient temperature around the time you normally leave for work, then switch back when you get home, so that you can have your ideal comfort level without wasting energy. You can also program the thermostat to switch to the energy-efficient setting at night.

  • Different models can be programmed to fit your weekly schedule, switching to energy-saving mode when you work, but staying in comfort mode on your days off. You can even set it for vacations, keeping your house at an even more efficient setting while you're out of town for a few days.
  • If you really want to get high tech, you can invest in a WiFi thermostat. With an Internet connection, you can control the thermostat remotely from any device, be it your desktop PC, smartphone or tablet. It can alert you by text or e-mail if there's an issue with the settings, and you can address it immediately from wherever you are.

    In addition, many WiFi thermostats can receive local weather information for your area, which can help heat or cool your home more efficiently.

  • With the addition of extra sensors around your home, it can even be set up for zoned heating and cooling. With this feature, you can control the temperature for different rooms individually, based on who's occupying what part of the house.

There are a variety of great thermostat upgrade options available that can simplify your HVAC system's controls, make things more efficient, and save you energy.

For more help with thermostat issues, from troubleshooting to upgrading, contact our experts at Griffith Energy Services, Inc.

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