Thermostats: What They Are and Why They’re Important for A Comfortable Home7 December 2017
Are your customers wondering how they can best control their new hydronic system, or how they can increase its efficiency?
While the right boiler and right-sized radiators are important components of a hydronic system, the thermostat plays a central role in maintaining the home’s desired temperature, and ensuring that the system runs efficiently.
How does a thermostat work?
The thermostat is the control centre of the hydronic heating system. It detects the air temperature in the room, switching the heating on when the temperature falls below the target temperature and switching it off when this temperature has been reached. By communicating with the boiler, the thermostat controls when hot water will be pumped through the hydronic system.
Programmable vs. non-programmable thermostats
There are two main categories of thermostats – programmable and non-programmable. Both options are suitable for hydronic systems, and homeowners may choose one over the other depending on their budget.
Programmable thermostats adjust the temperature of the system according to temperature and time settings defined by the homeowner. For example, a programmable thermostat can be configured to turn off in the morning once everyone has left for work and to turn on again shortly before everyone arrives home in the evening. This makes programmable thermostats an energy-saving and highly convenient option, as adjustments are performed automatically. Given these advanced settings and functionalities, programmable thermostats are more expensive than non-programmable models, but they will help to deliver long-term savings.
Non-programmable thermostats are a more basic option. While they will turn the system on and off and control the temperature in the home, they cannot be adjusted to a series of programmed settings. Instead, these adjustments are performed manually. Nevertheless, non-programmable thermostats play a central role in the operation of a hydronic heating system and ensure that the home maintains a comfortable temperature.
For more control consider thermostatic radiator valves
For homes with a number of rooms, thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) are a complementary addition to the thermostat and are useful for creating different heating zones throughout the house. Homeowners can choose to only heat the rooms they’re currently using with TRVs, which can further assist in keeping household energy bills down.
TRVs are connected to individual radiators, and they regulate the flow of water to the radiator to achieve the desired temperature. Once this temperature has been reached, the valve then limits the flow of water to the radiator, so that the temperature is maintained.
If used correctly, TRVs are an excellent way of keeping everyone in the house comfortable, while also ensuring that energy is not wasted.
The thermostat is an absolutely essential component of any hydronic heating system, no matter how big or small the house is. By detecting the room temperature, and telling the boiler when to pump water through the system, the thermostat ensures that no energy is used unnecessarily and that a comfortable temperature is maintained at all times. When combined with TRVs, homeowners can achieve an additional level of temperature control that leads to greater energy savings.