How Does a Thermostat Work?

Being able to turn on your home’s heating system is a luxury that we often take for granted. At the same time, it’s key that our heat can turn off when we’ve already hit our goal temperature. We have our thermostats to thank for our ability to maintain a certain temperature inside our homes. “Thermostat” literally means “to keep the temperature the same.”

How Do They Work?

Thermostats can be digital or mechanical. Digital thermostats can turn on their heating systems instantly, once the temperature drops below whatever mark you’ve set. Many modern thermostats can be programmed to maintain different temperatures at different times of the day. This can save you money if you don’t need to heat your home while you’re at work, for example. Smart thermostats are gaining popularity, and at A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning in Meridian, ID, we regularly help people modernize their homes by installing thermostats that can be controlled by mobile devices.

Many older thermostats are controlled through physics. They have thin strips of a special metal inside of them, and that metal can physically move depending on the temperature. This is because metal expands when it warms up and contracts when it cools down. That motion of the metal determines whether the thermostat’s electrical circuit is open or closed, and in turn, whether the heat turns on or off. When you set one of these thermostats, you’re telling it the temperature at which the circuit should switch from off to on, or vice versa.

Instead of metal, some thermostats have wax or gas-filled bellows. Wax and gas are other materials that respond to changes in temperature, and the resulting movement is able to turn heating switches on and off.

Happy to Help

If you are experiencing problems with your thermostat or want to upgrade your equipment, A-1 Heating and Air Conditioning in Meridian can assist you. We were founded in 1956, and our services include heating and cooling installation, repairs and maintenance. Call us to let us know what we can do for you.