By Susan Nichol
Ok so you are getting a new furnace and the heating contractor suggests a new thermostat (or T-stat), you are considering skipping that on the quote and make due with your thermostat even that mercury T-stat.
It's important to see why the contractor is suggesting a new T-stat. Will the old T-stat be able to operate the new furnace? If it will operate the new furnace, make sure the T-stat will operate any comfort options you have with your new furnace. You see there have been a lot of changes in furnace technology that may not be operational with an old thermostat. It isn’t just about temperature anymore.
Pictured; The Ecobee Programmable Internet T-stat, one of the many options available.
Two comfort features immediately come to mind, the number of stages of heat and the blower speeds.
First the stages of heat...many furnaces now have 2 or more stages of heat, there are furnaces that have 3 or even more stages to increase efficiency and comfort. Think of a clothes dryer or the heat controls in a vehicle’s heater, there are typically 3 or more heating levels or stages of heat.
Although most furnaces installed in homes today have 3 or less stages of heat, there is one model furnace that we install that has 65 stages of heat. Yes it is the top of the line Lennox, and, yes the comfort level of that unit is unbelievable.
The blower speeds (also called fan or motor speeds) indicate the number of speeds that the equipment has to circulate the air whether in cooling or heating modes. If you can picture a portable fan - these fans typically have more than 1 speed.
If the fan or the furnace blower has just 1 speed it is called a standard speed fan or motor. On the Standard Speed Fan there are 2 speeds, on and off.
The better option for many applications is the variable speed fan. This fan has many speeds. It often starts the cooling or heating of a space on high or mid high and starts to change the temperature. As the temperature gets closer to the desired set point the speed slowly steps down and the air is gently and quietly mixed in the background. The beauty of the variable speed fan is that it is quiet (so you don't have to turn up and down the TV volume when the furnace cycles) and the comfort is great because it eliminates cold spots and hot spots (so that big picture window in your living space is more comfortable in the summer and winter).
If you are still not sure or if you just can't swing the new thermostat, you can ask if there is any negotiating on the T-stat with the contractor. At Cold Craft, Inc., we include the T-stat on the high end models because we understand the importance of the corresponding T-stat for that level of furnace.
Call us (408.374.7292)for a second opinion on a quote in the SF bay area, we'd be glad to evaluate your heating and cooling needs.
If you need help with temperature, contact Cold Craft, Inc.
408.374.7292 or INFO@COLDCRAFT.COM