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Thermostat in a home

A thermostat is a device used to control the temperature in a particular space, such as a room or a building. It helps maintain a desired level of comfort by regulating the heating or cooling systems. How does a thermostat work? It has sensors that send information to the control unit and that help heat or cool the home.

Let’s learn more about how a thermostat works.

Thermostat has sensors that allow the unit to decide if it needs to turn on the heat or cool air.

What is a Thermostat?

A thermostat is an electronic device that senses the current temperature and compares it to a setpoint temperature. Based on this comparison, it activates or deactivates the heating or cooling system to reach and maintain the desired temperature.

How Does a Thermostat Work?

Thermostats contain sensors that measure the surrounding temperature. These sensors send information to the control unit, which then determines whether to turn on the heating or cooling system. Once the desired temperature is reached, the thermostat signals the system to turn off.

Types of Thermostats

There are several types of thermostats available, including:

  • Manual thermostats: These are basic thermostats that require manual adjustment to set the temperature.
  • Programmable thermostats: These allow users to schedule temperature changes according to their needs, helping save energy and money.
  • Smart thermostats: These advanced devices can be controlled remotely through smartphone apps and have adaptive learning capabilities.

How to Save Energy With the Thermostat?

To save energy and reduce utility bills, you can follow these tips for setting your thermostat:

  1. Lower the temperature: During winter, set your thermostat to a lower temperature when you’re away or asleep. Similarly, during summer, raise the temperature when you don’t need cooling.
  2. Use programmable or smart thermostats: These allow you to automatically adjust the temperature based on your daily routines. You can schedule warmer or cooler temperatures when you’re not at home.
  3. Optimize temperature ranges: Set a temperature range instead of a fixed temperature. This allows your heating or cooling system to take less energy-intensive actions to maintain comfort.
  4. Utilize natural heating and cooling methods: Open windows for natural ventilation or use shades and blinds to control sunlight, depending on the season.
Technician checking the thermostat to make sure it is working properly.

How to Check if My Thermostat is Working?

If you suspect your thermostat is not functioning correctly, you can perform these checks:

  1. Check for power: Ensure the thermostat has power by checking for any display or indicator lights.
  2. Test temperature accuracy: Place a thermometer near the thermostat and compare its reading to the displayed set temperature. If there’s a significant difference, the thermostat might be inaccurate.
  3. Assess HVAC system response: Turn on your heating or cooling system and observe whether it responds accordingly when adjusting the thermostat.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about how a thermostat works, let’s look at other areas of recommended maintenance. One of those is the air conditioner turning off by itself. This can be due to a few reasons. It could be refrigerant issues, evaporator coil issues, wrong size air conditioner, or a dirty air filter to name a few.

Another is the reason the air conditioner unit is leaking water. It can be due to a clogged condensate line, a dirty air filter, a refrigerant is low, a broken drip pan, or a broken condensate pump.

Lastly, you will want to know which breaker controls the HVAC. In the electrical panel, there should be labels for the various circuit breakers. There are single-lever breakers and double-lever breakers and you will find the HVAC is a double-lever breaker and 240 volts.

When Do I Call a Professional?

There are situations where it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to inspect and repair your thermostat:

  • If the thermostat doesn’t respond or is completely non-functional
  • If there’s a significant temperature difference between the thermostat setting and the actual room temperature
  • If you’ve checked the power source and connections the thermostat still doesn’t work properly

It’s crucial to hire a qualified professional to ensure accurate diagnosis and safe repairs.


Thermostats play a vital role in maintaining a comfortable environment while also helping save energy. Understanding how they work and utilizing their features can lead to increased efficiency and cost savings. If you suspect any issues with your thermostat, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.