Zach Dermer Explains When to Use the ON and AUTO Settings on Your Thermostat, and More

zach dermer showing how to use thermostat

Transcription of the video:

Why Do You Actually Need a Thermostat?

The thermostat of your HVAC system is essentially your control for the entire system where you can turn the unit ON and OFF – control the temperature with the UP and DOWN arrows. And it’s what controls the heating and cooling – you need that to measure the temperature and set it accordingly.

Can You Discuss The Evolution of Thermostats?

Back in the day, there used to be thermostats that were “mercury thermostats.” So they weren’t very accurate – they were mercury – they had a little dial that you turned right and left. It wasn’t that precise with the temperature control. The newer thermostats – they are digital – their display – very very accurate in their temperature settings. Even now they have thermostats where you can set from your phone, and you can actually control the temperature from your smartphone – which is pretty neat and check the temperature. You can see what the temperature of your thermostat is at home – mine right now is a nice and comfortable 65 degrees. I like it nice and cold. They have definitely come a long way as far as functionality and their effectiveness.

What Do the Buttons on a Thermostat Do? For Example, What is the Difference Between ON and Auto?

The ON and AUTO are the control for your fan. So you have an indoor fan in your HVAC system. On the AUTO setting, which most people have theirs set to, basically, the indoor fan is only going to run when you are calling for heat or cool. If your house is 74 degrees and you want it set to 72, your indoor fan is going to run. The difference with the ON button is that the fan is going to run nonstop – 100% of the time – so it’s going to circulate air 24/7. That is good if you have an air cleaner or a UV light, keeping the fan on the ON position will run the fan all the time and really get the most out of those pieces of equipment.

How Much More Electricity Does the Thermostat (and the HVAC unit) Use Between ON and AUTO?

It depends on the efficiency of the cooling system. With a lot of the new modern systems that have variable speed blower motors, it costs the equivalent of running a 60-watt light bulb. So it’s very minimal in the cost to run the fan on ON, but if you have an older system that is inefficient, this can cost you a little bit more to run it that way.

Can You Have a New Programmable Thermostat on an Old HVAC Unit?

Sure. You definitely can upgrade your thermostat even with an old, existing system. You definitely can put on a new thermostat and control it that way.

Are There Any Benefits of Putting a New Thermostat on an Old HVAC System?

Yeah. Besides like a WiFi thermostat where you can control it from your phone, putting in a programmable thermostat with an older system can help you use that system as effectively and efficiently as possible. Setting the temperature to different set points throughout the day – which in turn save you some money on your utility costs, even with the inefficient system.

What are Some of the Features of a Programmable Thermostat?

Basically, the big feature is that you can set the thermostat temperature to different temperatures throughout the day. For instance, you can have a “wake-up” temperature. Say you want your house to be 72 degrees when you wake up (at 7 o’clock in the morning), and if you work your normal 9-5 job, you can turn the thermostat back during the day – say 76 – 78 degrees – whatever temperature is comfortable for you, and then when you get home you can have it set 6 o’clock – whatever time you get home – to come back to a comfortable set point for you. So the ability to change the temperature throughout the day is really the best advantage – the big advantage – of a programmable thermostat.

Do Any Thermostats (Old or New Programmable Thermostats) Need Batteries?

Yes. Many of them do have batteries. This one that we use – we use the Aprilaire 8466 Programmable Thermostat. This one does have batteries. You pull this down, there are no batteries in this right this second – but once it’s on the wall, we put 2 AA batteries in there, and if your thermostat screen does happen to go blank, a lot of the times it is because of that. The batteries last several years – but yes, some of them do have standard batteries in them.

Are There Thermostats for People with Vision Impairments?

We have a really nice product; it’s called the “Easy Reader” Thermostat. It’s very easy to read – it has a really big display with a nice, bright backlight. It makes it a lot easier for people that are vision impaired – just makes it much more readable.

Do Thermostats Need Maintenance?

Thermostats themselves really don’t need maintenance. Occasionally changing the batteries. But what you will see on your thermostat – a lot of models have notifications where on the top of the screen or somewhere on the screen it will say “system due for service” or “AC due for service” – something like that – where it’s just reminding you to schedule your yearly check up on your air conditioner or your heating system. Also, they can have monthly notifications to change your air filter – you have your 30 days…60 days – however often it is that you need to change your air filter.