|The systems in a home that provide Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning are referred to as HVAC Systems. They include the Mechanical Equipment for doing the actual heating and cooling, Controllers such as Thermostats and Zone Controllers, and Remote Sensors, for supplying feedback to the controllers. See the About HVAC Systems section below for a more detailed overview.
Newer homes typically have 3 to 5 HVAC zones, each controlled by its own thermostat to
provide energy savings and uniform comfort throughout the
residence. Since most homes are only fitted with simple thermostats,
comfort and energy consumption are compromised. The solution is to
retrofit your home with Smart controls that enable you to conveniently
regulate the temperature set-points for each zone. Maximum comfort and
energy conservation are achieved when each of the home’s HVAC zones are
automatically adjusted to the desired comfort levels, based on the occupant's
We offer four types of thermostats to improve your comfort and energy savings:
Many of the newer system controllers and software will be or are compatible with the Internet based controllers. These will permit monitoring, programming and control of your HVAC systems via the Internet.
- Digital Thermostats offer manual push button control of preset “Home” and “Away” temperature set points. They can provide some savings but little improvement in convenience.
- Digital Programmable Thermostats allow you to assign scheduled temperature set points that repeat on a daily basis, or on a weekday/weekend basis.
- Digital Communicating Thermostats provide unlimited control of each thermostat's temperature set points for different times of the day, different days of the week, and different seasons. These thermostats are connected together for communication with a centralized Controller. The controllers can be dedicated hardware/software systems that are PC programmable, or can be software residing on your PC. Each thermostat is programmed from the controller for maximum convenience and energy conservation.
- Digital Contact Closure Thermostats are similar to the digital thermostats, however, instead of having to manually press a button, this thermostat will accept a command from time actuated remote switches such as those found on some security systems, X10 automation systems, and Phone Transponders. A Phone Transponder can be connected to this thermostat to enable changing between "Home" and "Away" temp set points, remotely from any telephone.
Compatibility of Thermostats with HVAC Systems
When selecting a thermostat it is important to insure that you select units compatible with your HVAC systems. Please note that we offer thermostats for conventional gas & oil fired systems, as well as for Heat Pump systems. Also base your selection on whether you require 1 or 2 Stage operation.
Please note that these Smart thermostats are intended as replacements for conventional thermostats and are connected to your HVAC system in the same manner of the conventional thermostat. The Communicating and Digital Contact thermostats also require between 2 and 4 wires to communicate with their respective system controllers. Cat 5 cable is excellent for this application. Links to the installation instructions and wiring diagrams are displayed for each thermostat, use these to make your selection. Please call technical support if you are unsure of your requirements.
About HVAC Systems
HVAC systems can be divided into three types of components:
What's a Zone?
- Mechanical Equipment to heat and/or cool the media (air or water), and the distribution system (duct work, pipes, or radiator elements) to deliver the media.
- Controllers which consist of Thermostats, Thermostat Distribution Panels, Zone Controllers, Software, X10 Controls, and Phone Transponders.
- Remote Sensors which may be located indoors and/or outdoors, and may detect temperature and/or humidity.
An HVAC Zone is the living space within a home that is heated and/or cooled by an HVAC unit, and which is controlled by one thermostat. Every HVAC unit has at least one thermostat to control each zone. Forced air HVAC systems that deliver heated or cooled air via duct work networks throughout the home create Zones by installing electrically controlled dampers in the ducts for each area where separate zoning is required. Each Zone Damper is controlled by a thermostat in that living area.
The following is a list of types of Mechanical Equipment used to heat or cool the media:
What's a Stage?
- A gas or oil fired Burner that heats water or air.
- An electrically driven Compressor that chills air
- An electrically driven Heat Pump that both heats and cools based on the difference between the outside and inside temperatures.
- A Geothermal system that consists of an electrically driven pump motor to circulate subterranean water thru heat exchangers.
- Solar heated water and air systems can also be utilized to supplement or in certain conditions provide the total heat source for an HVAC system.
Two Stages are utilized in some larger Mechanical Equipment. They employ two different heating elements; a large energy hungry Stage for quickly raising temperatures for quicker comfort, and a second smaller more energy efficient Stage to maintain the temperature at the desired set point. Two Stage units require a thermostat capable of controlling 2 Stages.
The Delivery Method of the heated or chilled media to the living space can be any of the following:
- Duct work, as in forced air systems. Some of these systems are fed heated air by one mechanical system and chilled air by another.
- Baseboards and Radiators, fed by hot water or electricity.
- Hydronic Radiant Systems, which consist of pipes embedded in the floor and are fed by hot water or glycol solutions.
HVAC Controls are utilized to regulate systems to the desired comfort levels in each Zone. The Controls can be as simple as one thermostat connected to one HVAC unit; in fact most homes built more than a few years ago were built this way, as are many vacation homes Today. Thermostats are the wall display units and means of control in each HVAC Zone. Thermostats must be compatible with the requirements of all of the equipment included in an HVAC system and the desired methods of controlling each thermostat in each zone.
Systems designed for maximum comfort and minimum energy consumption utilize multiple Communicating Thermostats. These typically are connected to a Distribution Panel or hub which is then connected to a system Zone Controller for centralized communication. The system controller operates to a preprogrammed schedule established with equipment specific Software.
Phone Transponders are often utilized to remotely switch a home's thermostat from the "Away" position to the "Home" position so as to arrive home to the desired comfort level. Within the home, wireless, plug-in, or wall mounted X10 controllers may be used to adjust temperature settings.
Indoor Remote Temperature Sensors are often utilized to average the temperature regulation in large zoned areas or to locate thermostats remotely from the Zone of control. Outdoor Sensors provide the convenience of checking outdoor
temperatures from the thermostats.