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Different Types of Thermostats Available Today

March 3rd, 2016


Thermostats can be found in any system or equipment that cools or heats to a preset temperature such HVAC systems, or kitchen appliances like refrigerators and ovens. There are many different types of thermostats available in the market today though with significant differences yet functioning under the same principles.


What is a Thermostat?

A thermostat is a device that is sensitive to temperature for the purposes of regulating it. It is basically a switch that switches cooling or heating systems on or off to maintain the desired temperature. The level of temperature that is desired is set on the thermostat from whence it is maintained as set by the device.


General Operation of a Thermostat

When the temperature inside a house for instance, rises or drops below the setting on the thermostat, the switch activates and the building’s air conditioner or furnace runs to cool or warm the air in the house until it reaches the temperature that’s been set. When the correct temperature is reached, the switch deactivates and stops further heating or cooling until it becomes necessary again; and thus the cycle continues.

The Two Basic Types of Thermostats in General

Line Voltage Thermostats

With this type of thermostats, current initially flows into the thermostat and then to the appliance. They are compatible with the single heating systems that include radiant systems and baseboards. There is a disadvantage to these types of thermostats, and that is that they normally switch off before the set temperature has been reached in the room itself.

Low Voltage Units

The low voltage types of thermostats can be used in the electric unitary systems and in water heating. They are compatible with those heating systems that use oil and gas. According to Service Champions, which is a company with immense experience in thermostat installations, maintenance and servicing, these types of thermostats are more efficient and provide a better control of current.


Types of Thermostats Available with Regards to Programmability

• Programmable Thermostats

These kinds of thermostats have the option of not only setting the desired temperature, but also have different settings for different times of the day and night. They are very useful for people living in areas that experience drastic temperature changes like say having very cold mornings and evenings while the day times are burning hot.

• Non-programmable Thermostats

Settings for these types of thermostats are basically manual in all sense. Any temperature setting that is desired has to be set on the thermostat by the user, and will remain so until it is changed again by the user.


Types of Thermostats Available with Regards to Technology of Operation

• Mechanical Thermostats

These are devices with bi-metallic heat sensitive strips or bellows filled with vapor that are sensitive to changes in temperature. They are what you would call analogue and relatively cheap. Being mechanical in operation, they are considered unreliable devices owing to their slow response to temperature fluctuations.

• Electronic Thermostats

These have electronic circuits and components that do all the checking of temperatures and switching of the thermostat. Being an electronic process, they are more reliable and their response to temperature changes is very fast. Price would be the only downside to these types.


Types of Thermostats Available with Regards to Innovation in Thermostats

1. Wi-Fi thermostats

Wi-Fi in this case meaning that the device can get connected to a wireless network and be accessed and controlled through it. What that means is that the device can be accessed and adjusted remotely, hence the convenience of total control even when no physically next to the thermostat.

2. Touch Screen Thermostats

As the name suggests, these are the kind of thermostats with no hard buttons for operation, but instead have a touch sensitive display, much like that of smartphones. Settings are made via touching the options visible on the screen and can sometimes require several sequences of touching before getting a particular setting set.


Basic Types of Programmable and Automatic Thermostats

  • Electromechanical (EM) thermostats – easiest to operate with manual controls.
  • Digital thermostats – identifiable by their LCD or LED digital displays and data entry buttons or pads.
  • Hybrid systems – combining the digital technology and the manual controls for simplified use.
  • Occupancy thermostats – which maintain a setback temperature until a button is pressed to call for cooling or heating.
  • Light sensing heat thermostats – which rely on the light levels in the area they are in as preset by the user to activate cooling or heating.



The types of thermostats available in the market today are so many and so diverse in features, construction, operation and control that it can sometimes be difficult to decide on the right one for you. Knowing the differences and understanding all there is to know about these very important devices can help you make the most suitable choice for your needs because after all, the principle function of the thermostat remains the same for all.

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