How Does A Programmable Thermostat Work?

image of a homeowner adjusting a programmable thermostat

The thermostat is an important component of heating and cooling systems that produce a precise reading of temperature within an enclosed space. For more convenience, HVAC experts recommend using a programmable thermostat, which offers increased comfort and better efficiency. If you have never tried a programmable thermostat before, you may be asking yourself “How does a programmable thermostat work?”. Let’s take a closer look.

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What Is A Programmable Thermostat?

To understand what a programmable thermostat is, it is important to know how a basic thermostat works. This is a component that is usually built into the heating and cooling system. It is designed to regulate certain actions within the controlled system, including the furnace and the air conditioner. The thermostat regulates the level of heat transfer fluid that flows through the system and switches the device off and on. These functions ensure that the desired temperature is reached and maintained within the enclosed space.

How Are Programmable Thermostats Different From Manual Thermostats?

image of an old manual thermostat

A manual thermostat, unlike a programmable thermostat, cannot work automatically. It does not have settings that allow it to be programmed. A programmable thermostat, once programmed to the desired settings, can adjust the temperature automatically. You simply enter the specific settings you want based on your preferred comfort level. For example, you could set the temperature lower during hot days and higher during cold days. You could even set the temperature at different levels at different times of the day. If you have preferred settings, the thermostat will simply keep up with your preferences.

Most of the thermostats available today are digital. You could, of course, still find manual or analog types that still work. These are usually the types used in older homes and buildings.

To work, a digital thermostat has a component known as the thermistor that is responsible for measuring temperature using pre-programmed settings that you have entered into the HVAC system. There are metals inside the thermistor that change when the ambient temperature changes. It also allows changes in the temperature electrical resistance.

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Thermistor Microcontroller

The microcontroller is part of the thermostat that measures electrical resistance. It converts the resistance figure into a temperature figure. This is the reading that modern digital thermostats use to “sense” temperature. The programmable feature lets you program the thermostat so that it turns down or turns up the heat at your preferred times during the day.

For example, you could choose your preferred temperature if you want the thermostat to increase heat in the mornings during the winter months. If you will be away at work the whole day, you can even set up the thermostat to turn down the heat and turn it up only a few minutes before you arrive home.

If you want to set the programmable thermostat to regulate the indoor temperature throughout a 24-hour period, you can also do so based on fluctuations in ambient temperature.

Another key feature of programmable thermostats is their usefulness for zoning. This feature allows you to divide your home into different zones, areas, or rooms. Each of these zones can be cooled or heated independently of the other. This is the perfect solution for multi-level homes.

If you have ever wondered how upper levels of a structure tend to feel warmer than lower zones, it’s because hot air rises. This creates an imbalance of comfort throughout the day. Fortunately, this issue can be corrected by using a programmable thermostat in every zone or area. This will help correct temperature differences and ensure that you are comfortable all day.


Why You Should Consider A Programmable Thermostat

benefits of a programmable thermostat

Below, we discuss some of the advantages that come with a programmable thermostat.

Indoor Temperature Adjusted Automatically

Because temperature can be controlled at will and independently for different areas or zones automatically, you do not have to adjust and readjust the settings. Your comfort no longer has to come with the inconvenience of changing the thermostat now and again.

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Improved Comfort

home comfort

Programmable thermostats offer better temperature control when it comes to zoned cooling and heating. Because the temperature in different zones or areas can be set independently, it is possible to increase the temperature in one room and lower the temperature in the next. Plus, you can even turn off the temperature in unoccupied rooms.

Let Your Older HVAC System Breathe

If you are using an older HVAC system, you know that it does not work as efficiently as it used to. Each time you try to use the HVAC system and turn it to the fullest, you are actually stressing the system. You can unburden the system by installing a programmable thermostat to help reduce wear-and-tear. This will help an older HVAC system out and extend its lifespan.


Programmable thermostats are very effective in reducing energy costs. Just consider this: you can set your HVAC system to change the temperature based on your day-to-day routine. If there are changes to your schedule, you can simply reset the settings. That way, your HVAC system will not run on full blast 24/7. You can turn the cooling or heating up or down, or turn it off if a zone or even your whole house is unoccupied.


Can I Choose Not To Use The Automatic Setting?

Programmable thermostats have an override setting for their automatic feature, which means you can use the function manually. You can still control the system but you will have to change the thermostat each time your comfort level is affected.

You can also consider using a remote control with monitoring. This allows you to set, control, and monitor the temperature settings even if you are away from home. You can do this by using thermostats that are equipped with thermostat WiFi features through your smartphone or computer. This is extremely convenient during times when you forget to turn off your HVAC system or want to change the settings after you leave or before you arrive.

Is A Programmable Thermostat Right For You?

Programmable thermostats are best for those who have a regular schedule. It is also a good option for people who want better control over the temperature settings of their HVAC system without having to make changes manually. Simply set the programmable thermostat to maintain the ideal temperature at specific times of the day. If you want a more convenient way to enjoy comfort in your home or office, a programmable thermostat can be the best option for you.

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The most important benefit of using a programmable thermostat is convenience. It also offers cost savings, better control, and improved comfort levels. This is the best option for homes and buildings that require different temperature settings. If you want to learn more about programmable thermostats and their functions, call your trusted HVAC contractor. They can help you understand how the features work and choose the right brand and model for your needs.

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We guarantee the most competitive service costs in the county and make sure we prioritize your comfort needs all the way while keeping your budget in mind. Are you ready for more convenience and feature-rich comfort? Give Townsend Energy a call and ask about our free, in-home estimates.

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