A good management of the temperature, requires selecting the right thermostat

During summer and winter, it is important to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor temperature and there aren’t a multitude of ways to achieve the proper adjustment of your air conditioning or heating. The thermostat, invented in 1883 by Warren S. Johnson who founded Johnson Controls Inc. in 1885, quickly became popular and a necessity in every home.

Over the last decades, thermostat technology has evolved, and we now have a variety of models adapted to the needs of the modern consumer. Having a wide range of products to choose from is great, however knowing which type of thermostat is right for your home and knowing how to use it correctly is very important.

Classic electronic thermostat

Easy to install, this new device which replaced its round dial ancestor, also called bi-metal or mechanical, is used mainly in homes and apartments with electric baseboard heating. Unlike the latter, known for being slow, inaccurate and expanding or contracting the metal in baseboards, the electronic thermostat is equipped with a pulse controller and gives continuous readings every 15 second. Thanks to this fast reaction, the difference between the ambient temperature and set point temperature is reduced, providing more comfort, as well as considerable energy and cost savings.

Natural Resources Canada has estimated an annual 4.5 to 12% reduction in energy consumption as a result of the transition from mechanical thermostats to the electronic versions. If you decide to make this transition in your home, be sure to purchase a good quality thermostat and to seek advice from a specialist. In early 2017, Santé Canada recalled some electronic models due to defects or improper installations. If you notice overheating, a burning smell, smoke, a display failure, or a sudden change in temperature without changing the display, contact an electrician as soon as possible. Remember that this type of thermostat must be chosen according to the total power (Watts) of the baseboards installed.

Heat pumps can also be controlled using a conventional indoor or outdoor electronic thermostat. An indoor thermostat operates the heat pump to heat or cool the home. It can also be used to operate an additional heating system. There are two types of outdoor thermostats. The first one is used to program heat pump operation according to the outdoor temperature and the second one, more often used for air heat pumps, is used to shut down the system when this same temperature falls below the previously determined set point.

Programmable electronic thermostat

Generally more expensive and harder to install, this type of thermostat offers better temperature control compared to a conventional thermostat. Thanks to the programming system, it is possible to pre-set temperatures for specific periods and thus to reduce energy consumption and costs. The use of a programmable thermostat offers many benefits:

  • Significant savings on your heating bill;
  • Automatic setting of temperature programmed for the entire house or by room according to the specific needs of occupants or according to a pre-set schedule;
  • Change of programs or return to manual mode.

The programming of an electronic thermostat is simple and offers several options. However, it is unnecessary to install this type of thermostat in a room where the temperature must remain constant at all times. Heat pump owners should note that installing an additional outdoor thermostat is not required if a programmable thermostat is already used.

Smart, communicating thermostat

At the cutting edge of technology, this device revolutionized the older generation of thermostats. Most are designed for the control of forced-air central heating systems and heat pumps, however some models on the market are designed only for baseboard heaters and convectors.

Equipped with home automation technology, the smart thermostat can automatically manage and control a heating system, air conditioner, humidifier or even a ventilation system, allowing homeowners easy access to remote functions.

If you plan to replace your thermostat with this new technology, be aware that the price is higher than a programmable electronic model but also that it offers a long list of interesting features:

  • Easy programming;
  • Connection to the home wireless network;
  • Remote control from mobile apps via smart phone, tablet or laptop;
  • Automativ heating or cooling according to changing weather conditions;
  • Email alerts when the temperature exceeds or falls below certain limits;
  • Automatic time change;
  • Remote monitoring of consumption data;
  • Savings and reduction of energy consumption by adapting to your schedule and taking into account your heating or cooling habits.


Whether you choose to install a programmable or intelligent thermostat to optimize the cozy comfort of your home, know that today most of these devices are energy efficient: who would have thought that your energy consumption would generate such savings!


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