What Temperature Keeps Thermostats from Being Effective?

effective thermostatAn effective thermostat setting falls within specific temperature limits. Thermostats are programmed to produce temperatures in a range suitable for the heating or cooling capacity of the furnace or air conditioner. A thermostat setting outside that range — a setting that is excessively high or low — is not only inefficient and increases operating costs, it exceeds the specifications of the furnace or AC and could potentially damage these units.

Most effective thermostats limit temperature settings both low and high, so it’s not even possible to program extreme settings in most cases. Here’s why thermostat settings above and below these limits are not efficient and can be damaging:

  • Maximum furnace thermostat settings are usually limited to 90 degrees. Settings above that limit would generate excessive heat inside the furnace. This could damage the heat exchanger and other critical components, as well as trigger the internal temperature safety sensor that automatically shuts down the furnace to prevent fire hazard.
  • Most residential thermostats do not allow air conditioner temperature settings below 60 degrees. A typical central AC has a temperature differential of 20 degrees. The unit can only cool the house down to 20 degrees below the outdoor temperature. Thermostat settings below 60 degrees would cause the AC to run nonstop, imposing excess wear and tear on the unit, overheating and damaging critical components like the compressor, and raising operating costs dramatically.

To maintain optimum system heating and cooling, an effective thermostat setting should be in these ranges:

  • In winter, the Department of Energy recommends furnace settings in a range between 68 and 72 degrees.  If there are elderly residents in the home, higher temperatures up to 78 degrees may be required.
  • During the summer, the air conditioning sweet spot on the thermostat is considered to be 78 degrees. If you’re going to be out of the house all day, leave the AC on but bump the thermostat setting up 8 degrees or so.

For more information about effective thermostat settings for optimum efficiency and safety, contact the heating professionals at Paitson Bros. This year marks our 100th anniversary of HVAC sales and service to Terre Haute homeowners.

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