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Thermostats, Remodeling & Decorating

One item that is often neglected or forgotten when doing home decorating, remodeling or renovation projects is the location of the house thermostat, as shown in Figure 1.

electronic programmable furnace thermostat
Figure 1 - Programmable thermostat

The thermostat controls the furnace and/or air conditioning system. Its location in the home is critical in order to maintain a temperature that is consistent and comfortable.

Removing a wall, inserting a kitchen pass-through, adding or removing a door, adding a window, the addition of a ceiling fan, the placement of lighting and other heat generating fixtures, appliances and devices can all have a negative effect on the proper operation of the thermostat.

In order for the thermostat to operate properly consider:

  • Proximity to light bulbs:
  • The addition of recessed light fixtures, large chandeliers, table and floor lamps within close proximity of, or directed at, or above or below the thermostat can inadvertently deliver heat to the thermostat sensor.

  • Fireplaces and stoves:
  • The addition of a functioning gas or wood burning fireplace or stove can change room temperatures dramatically. If the main thermostat is located in or can be affected by the heat generated by the fireplace or stove it will affect the proper operation of the thermostat.

  • Ceiling fans:
  • The addition of a simple item such as a ceiling fan can have a major effect on the airflow around the home’s thermostat.

  • Windows and exterior doors:
  • Windows and doors no matter how well they are installed and how well they are manufactured can cause slight drafts to enter the home. If these drafts pass by the thermostat, it will react to the change of temperature.

  • Wall removal and kitchen pass-through:
  • Removing part of a wall or an entire wall or adding a kitchen pass-through can change the direction of air flow in the home. The heat generated by cooking can inadvertently be channeled to the thermostat. As well, small drafts or changes in air currents can be created within the home that can have a negative effect on the proper operation of the thermostat.

    Major renovations can also involve changes to the HVAC duct system. Moving a cold air return can cause changes in air flow across the thermostat. Adding or changing a heat vent can direct hot furnace air of cold air conditioning air over the thermostat.

  • Interior doors:
  • The addition or deletion of an interior door can cause the thermostat to sense temperatures that no longer represent the overall temperature within the home.

The thermostat cannot determine where heat or cold is coming from and will react as if the ambient temperature level in your home has changed. In response the thermostat will turn the furnace On or Off and/or turn the air conditioning On or Off.

Note: Thermostats should always be mounted on internal walls in order to avoid having the back of the thermostat sensing outside wall temperature, as this seldom represents the ambient temperature within the home.

Note: Major remodeling can create a lot of dust in the air. Do not forget to clean the dust from your home’s thermostat after you have completed the project, especially if you have an older mechanical style thermostat.

Next time you decorate, remodel or renovate consider what effect the changes may have on your home’s thermostat.

Additional information on relocating and replacing a thermostat.

Selection of thermostats for your home.