HVAC Thermostat Settings
How to set or adjust the heating or cooling thermostat in buildings
THERMOSTAT SET PROCEDURE - CONTENTS: how to set or adjust a room thermostat used for heating or cooling. How digital room thermostats work & what the displays mean. How to see the "set" temperature vs. the actual or current room temperature on a thermostat.
THERMOSTAT SET to DESIRED TEMPERATURE
- HOW DIGITAL THERMOSTATS WORK
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Heating or cooling room settings: how to adjust the room thermostat for heating or air conditioning: how to set the thermostat to the desired temperature & how to diagnose thermostat setting problems. We describe how to find the current room temperature and how to compare it to the set temperature or target temperature on the thermostat.
Heating & Cooling Control Thermostat Setting Guide
Using Wall-Mounted Room Thermostats - How to Set the Thermostat
Detailed photos of the major components of a wall thermostat and a description of how heating & cooling thermostats work are provided below. If your heating system is not working at all, start at HEAT WON'T TURN ON.
Remote Control Thermostats & Remote Heat, Cooling, or Building Temperature Monitoring
A variety of remote control thermostats are offered by HVAC control manufacturers, permitting an owner to monitor, or even change building temperature control settings remotely by telephone or by web-enabled internet connection.
Proliphix provides a range of energy control thermostats that offer remote temperature control via web-enabled communication between an individual and the building's HVAC controls.
Also see Honeywell Controls, and White Rodgers thermostat controls documents at REFERENCES
See NEST ROOM THERMOSTATS (shown at above left) for details about this top-end programmable room thermostat that can be controlled remotely by cellphone.
How to Set a Room Thermostat To the Desired Temperature
Here is our photo of a traditional round Honeywell (R) round room thermostat.
Heating thermostats: Here we use a traditional, and very simple dial-type round wall-mounted thermostat as an example. Notice that the thermostat face has two temperature scales and two pointers.
The top scale on the thermostat and the red arrow shows the "set" temperature that the thermostat is asking for.
The bottom scale shows the actual room temperature.
Rotating the thermostat dial to the right (clockwise) will increase the "set" temperature. Rotating the dial to the left will decrease the "set" temperature.
Heating thermostats are a simple switch to turn on a heating furnace, boiler, or other heat source. As we explain again below about cooling, for a heating thermostat to actually cause the heating system to turn on, the ambient temperature at the thermostat must be below the set point or temperature to which the thermostat has been set.
Make sure that your thermostat has been set to the proper position for the season: cooling or heating. The air conditioner will not run with the switch set to "heating" and conversely the heating system won't run if the thermostat has been set to "cooling."
An air conditioning system thermostat is a switch to turn on or off the A/C equipment as indoor air temperature varies around the thermostat's set point. Air conditioning
thermostats are typically wall mounted in the living area. The thermostat, if it's a combination unit, may have both
a temperature setting switch and a switch that can be moved from "cool" to "off", or "heat" positions.
For the thermostat to call for cooling
it must be in the "cool" position and the temperature set to a level below the ambient air temperature at the thermostat location. Thermostats
contain an internal temperature sensor which compares the air temperature at the thermostat to the temperature called-for by the user, turning
the cooling (or heating) equipment on or off as appropriate.
What is the setting on this thermostat: precision of room wall thermostat settings, dials, readings
What is this thermostat set to? I would say about 66, but the website I got it from said 68? Which is most accurate?
Thank you. - K.P. 2/27/2013
KP: you sent us a "stock photo" of a room thermostat, so we don't know if the thermostat in this image is what is actually installed on your wall. We re-drew parts of the image for clarity and added explanatory arrows and have these comments:
The blue arrow is pointing to the thermostat's reading of the current room temperature and is just past 65F - probably around 66 or at most 67F as it's less than half way to the 70.
The red arrow is pointing to the set temperature on the thermostat - the temperature that the building occupant is asking for is set by moving a lever on the right side of the thermostat (the orange arrow) and the "set temperature" being called for is visible by that horizontal red line in the vertical scale on the right portion of the thermostat. The image shows the red line just about exactly between 65F and 70F - or about 67-68 °F.
In sum, in this sketch the thermostat is set to call for heat up to 67F. and the room temperature is reading as just a degree or two below that.
Watch out: the wall thermostat is not a lab-grade absolutely precise instrument in setting nor is it precisely accurate in reading, and even if it were, it would only be reading the temperature right there at the thermostat, not at other places in the room. It would be unreasonable to expect precise, to the millimeter, agreement between the room temperature read-out on the round dial and the room temperature setting on the vertical scale.
How a Digital Room Thermostat Works
Reader Question: Why Does the Thermostat Display Jump Back to 83 After I set It to 68 Degrees?
My daughter had a thermostat replaced about 2 months ago [Trane unit] replaced with Honeywell digital thermo worked well.
Today she called me and said that the thermostat is saying 83 degrees and when she sets it to 72 degrees it jumps back to 83 degrees/she says the thermo is set on the cool side.
Do you know what the problem may be. Please advise
- Thank you John
Reply: How a Single-Display Digital Room Thermostat Works
A competent onsite inspection by an expert usually finds additional clues that help accurately diagnose a problem with air conditioning systems and controls, possibly including something you were not considering. That said, there may not be any thermostat problem in the case you describe. At least not with the thermostat itself.
Our first photograph (above left) shows a basic Honeywell digital room thermostat. This one happens to be set in Heating mode but the principle of how the display works is the same in both heating and cooling modes. You'll see that the display shows the time (12:15 pm) and the current room temperature (67 °F - the house was already cool).
In normal operating mode a digital thermostat whose indicator window shows only a single temperature number displays the current room temperature that it is sensing.
When you press the temperature "set" buttons to call for a decrease in room temperature, (say for air conditioning) or an increase in room temperature (say when in heating mode), the thermostat temperature display temporarily changes to show the "set" temperature - the temperature you are calling for.
When you stop pressing the temperature "set" buttons the thermostat display returns to showing the current room temperature.
Our second digital room thermostat photo (left) shows me pressing the "set down" button until the display shows 54 °F.
This is the new "set" temperature or the temperature I am calling for at the thermostat.
Our third Honeywell digital room thermostat photo (left) shows that a moment after I removed my thumb from the "set" button the thermostat display returned to showing the current actual room temperature (67 °F).
So if the current room temperature for your daughter was actually 83 °F (or in my case 67 °F), that is the number that will show both before and after pressing the "set" buttons.
Only while the set buttons are being pressed will the display show a different temperature (the temperature you are calling for).
As the A/C turns on and begins to lower the room temperature you should see the displayed room temp number gradually drop until it reaches the set temp.
It's possible that your daughter's thermostat is therefore working normally but she simply didn't previously notice how it's display behaves. Often when we notice something for the first time we think there has been a change even if that is not the case.
Two exceptions to this description of how the display on a digital thermostat works
First: if the A/C or heating system is not working properly then even after changing the "set" temperature on the thermostat nothing will happen, or the system may run but never reach the set temperature.
Second: some digital thermostat models show not just one, but two temperatures in the display. One of these is the "set" temperature and the second is the "current" or "actual" temperature. If your daughter's display is one of this type, then it may not be working properly. But from your description it sounds as if she's got a single-display model.
Watch out: if your heating system electrical power has been shut off, when power is restored the thermostat might have "forgotten" the program that you had set into it and you'll need to re-program the device by setting the correct time and then the desired room temperature set back time, and temperature.
Heating & Cooling Control Thermostat Troubleshooting Guide
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"Thermostats" U.S. Department of Energy, November 26, 2013, original source http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/thermostats, retrieved 3/16/2014
 Proliphix Corporate Headquarters,
3 LAN Drive Suite #100
Westford, MA 01886
Toll Free (U.S.): 866-IP-LIVING (866.475.4846)
Fax: +1.978.692.3378 - Sales: email@example.com Marketing: firstname.lastname@example.org Customer support: email@example.com http://www.proliphix.com/ - quoting from the company's website: All Proliphix Network Thermostats come with our free Uniphy Remote Management Service. This unique offering lets you monitor and control your HVAC systems by simply pointing your Browser to our secure Proliphix Web Site. Enjoy the convenience of programming a thermostat from any location, using a simple graphical interface. No computer equipment or software is required. And since Proliphix takes care of the network configuration for you, you’ll be up and running in no time. We’ll even proactively monitor your thermostats and send you an immediate email or SMS message when an HVAC problem is detected.
 "The Nest Learning Thermostat", Nest Thermostat, 900 Hansen Way
Palo Alto, CA 94304, Tel: 855-4MY-NEST, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website http://www.nest.com/, retrieved 1/24/2013.
 Honeywell Controls, the company wants you to use their contact form at this web page: http://www51.honeywell.com/honeywell/contact-support/contact-us.html
Honeywell Consumer Products,
39 Old Ridgebury Road Danbury, CT 06810-5110 - (203) 830-7800
World Headquarters, Honeywell International Inc.,
101 Columbia Road,
Morristown, NJ 07962,
Phone: (973) 455-2000,
Fax: (973) 455-4807 1-800-328-5111
 Honeywell Corporation, Honeywell T451A, T651A, T694A,B,D,F Light Duty Line Voltage Thermostats, [installation, troubleshooting manual], 1992, Honeywell Consumer Products,
39 Old Ridgebury Road Danbury, CT 06810-5110 - (203) 830-7800 copy on file as Honeywell_Line_Voltage_T651A.pdf
World Headquarters, Honeywell International Inc.,
101 Columbia Road,
Morristown, NJ 07962,
Phone: (973) 455-2000,
Fax: (973) 455-4807 1-800-328-5111 copy on file as Honeywell_Line_Voltage_T651A.pdf
"T451, T651, T694 Thermostats provide on-off control of valves, fans, motors, contactors, electric heat elements, duct furnaces and fan coil units in heating/cooling systems. Switching sub-bases provide manual control of heating, cooling and fan."
 White Rodgers Thermostats and HVAC controls,
Homeowner information: http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-US/brands/white_rodgers/Pages/wr-homeowner-info.aspx
Contractor information: http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-US/brands/white_rodgers/wr_contractor_info/Pages/white-rodgers-contractor-info.aspx
White Rodgers Product Catalog (don't misspell the company's name as White Rogers Thermostats) -
http://www.emersonclimate.com/Documents/thermostats.pdf - Thermostat Catalog
 Domestic Central Heating Wiring Systems and Controls, 2d Ed., Raymond Ward, Newnes, ISBN-10: 0750664363, ISBN-13: 978-0750664363, Quoting from Amazon.com:
This unique A-Z guide to central heating wiring systems provides a comprehensive reference manual for hundreds of items of heating and control equipment, making it an indispensable handbook for electricians and installers across the country. The book provides comprehensive coverage of wiring and technical specifications, and now includes increased coverage of combination boilers, recently developed control features and SEDBUK (Seasonal Efficiency of Domestic Boilers in the UK) boilers ratings, where known.
In addition to providing concise details of nearly 500 different boilers fuelled by electric, gas, oil and solid fuel, and over 400 programmers and time switches, this invaluable resource also features numerous easy-to-understand wiring diagrams with notes on all definitive systems. Brief component descriptions are provided, along with updated contact and website details for most major manufacturers.
 "Automatic Oil Burner Controls - Thermostats", Domestic and Commercial Oil Burners, 3rd Ed., Charles H. Burkhardt, McGraw Hill, 1969 (and later editions), ASIN B0000EG4Y8
 Trane TCONT800 Series Touch Screen Programmable Comfort Control Ownes Guide, American Standard, Inc., Troup Highway, Tyler TX 75711, January 2005, Telephone: Customer Service: 1-877-3381, website: www.trane.com
 Boilers, Boiler Conversions, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23389-4 (v. 1) Volume II, Oil, Gas, and Coal Burners, Controls, Ducts, Piping, Valves, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23390-7 (v. 2) Volume III, Radiant Heating, Water Heaters, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, Air Cleaners, James E. Brumbaugh, ISBN 0-672-23383-5 (v. 3) or ISBN 0-672-23380-0 (set) Special Sales Director, Macmillan Publishing Co., 866 Third Ave., New York, NY 10022. Macmillan Publishing Co., NY
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TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
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