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Discussion Starter #1
Over the weekend, I installed a programmable thermostat to replace the manual dial. Although it is set at the same temperature as we had it on with the manual dial (about 64-66), it is so cold in here! Anyone have any ideas on what could be the problem or have any tips on how to make it more comfortable? I'm trying to cut our heating costs this winter, but I don't want to freeze to death doing it!
 

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My guess is that the OLD thermostat was not as accurate as the new unit is so the temperature you are setting to is actually lower than what the old unit said. Why not just bump the new unit range UP a few degrees. In addition, it is possible that the new unit is defective which might be the problem too.

When in doubt get a thermometer, place it in the room, and see what IT SAYS is the temperature in the room.
 

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Well, 64-66 degrees IS cold! I've got mine set at 64 but I turn off the registers in the rooms I don't use a lot and close their doors. I've got 3 space heaters going too. I'm dressing in layers also. Right now I'm wearing a cotton sleeveless summer tank top, thermal long sleeve underwear top and a fleecy topper.
 

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I have to echo what Clint said. Get a thermometer and see if it really is the temperature that's set. The old bimetal/mercury switch dial thermostats are extremely reliable but not very accurate.

The other thing is that maybe the thermostat is not in a good location to evenly regulate temperature in the whole house.

The third thing is that if the programmable thermostat has adjustable anticipation, you may have to reset it for shorter heating cycles.
 

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timskitties said:
The other thing is that maybe the thermostat is not in a good location to evenly regulate temperature in the whole house.
I am positive this is the problem in our two-story condo. The programable thermostat downstairs reads 69, but it is ice-cold down there. However, the upstairs is much warmer. It doesn't help that we have two big sliding glass doors on either side of the downstairs. I can't wait until our chimney is cleaned and we can start heating our place naturally. Of course, the bedroom is above the fireplace, all the heat will rise, and then we won't sleep because it's too hot!!

I know heat rises, but it sure makes it difficult to heat a two-story place. I wonder how ANYONE manages it.
 

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It's called "zoned" heating (and cooling) and uses several thermostats in various parts of the house, one for each zone. Then the heating (or cooling) is regulated (in various ways depending on the type of heat/cooling) to each zone independently, depending on the thermostat setting for that zone.

http://www.onthehouse.com/tips/20010518
 

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Discussion Starter #7
timskitties said:
Get a thermometer and see if it really is the temperature that's set. The old bimetal/mercury switch dial thermostats are extremely reliable but not very accurate.
I'm positive this is what the problem is -- it must have been reading as 64 to 66 but really was a different temperature altogether. I've had it at 70 now for about four hours, and it feels toasty in here, so it is just going to take some experimentation to get it set just right. Thanks for the tips!

Tina, I think we had the same trouble you had last year -- the thermostat was near the stairs in our two story apartment last year and set about 68 degrees constantly, but we were wearing double layers all the time. Our upstairs bedroom was always warm though...
 

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I used to love the idea of having a home with an upstairs. Now I'm thinking a main floor with basement would be better. People expect basements to be a bit cool... not to freeze their tushes off in your living room.
 

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My fav subject

First let me say this - I have a strong background in physical science and applied my full "facilities" to solving such a problem when I did maintenance in an OLD apartment house.

Thermostats are the "brain" of a heating/cooling system, but unfortunately are WAY too often misused, misapplied, or improperly installed.

HVAC systems (like airplanes) are (1) designed by people with PH'Ds, (2) built by people with Masters, (3) Installed by people with MAYBE some college, and finally (4) serviced by HS dropouts!

Each type of system and installation will have peculiar installation problems which the installer must REALLY be knowledgable concerning.

Without complete info on your system - short of paying for the BEST HVAC consultant in your area to come out and look at your problem (which is ALWAYS a good idea!), keep experimenting with your programmable. If it does not do the trick for you (and they only work right when PROPERLY installed for a HVAC setup they are designed for) then go back to the (so-called) old fashioned bi-metal (get a new one) type (Honeywell, etc.) They are reliable and accurate EXCEPT for one small problem and that is the "anticipator" (which I personaly think was and is a design mistake) as Timskitties mentioned (sounds like TK will know what I'm "tacking aboot" - Hi TK! :wink: ). Anticipators need to be properly "set" (or disabled IMO!).

Bottom line is... unless you have a modern system installed in a quality built (insulated) house/apt, etc. by a QUALIFIED installer it becomes increasingly difficult to get a properly functioning system the further away from this criteria you get.

If you need more help, I'm here, but need specifics on what type the HVAC system is and the house its in.

Gotta go...Fluffy's hungry!!! :wink:
 

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Re: My fav subject

buster's owner said:
HVAC systems (like airplanes) are (1) designed by people with PH'Ds, (2) built by people with Masters, (3) Installed by people with MAYBE some college, and finally (4) serviced by HS dropouts!
This is really pretty funny and a little too close to the mark. Except for the airplane analogy. Aircraft mechanics are required to be rigourously trained, apprenticed and/or supervised, and tested before being licensed.
The FAA requires at least 18 months of work experience for an airframe, powerplant, or avionics repairer’s certificate. For a combined A & P certificate, at least 30 months of experience working with both engines and airframes is required. Completion of a program at an FAA-certified mechanic school can substitute for the work experience requirement. Applicants for all certificates also must pass written and oral tests and demonstrate that they can do the work authorized by the certificate. To obtain an inspector’s authorization, a mechanic must have held an A & P certificate for at least 3 years. Most airlines require that mechanics have a high school diploma and an A & P certificate.
From here: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos179.htm#training

I have great respect for A&Ps. :)

Don't worry, folks, your airplanes are in good hands. 8)

Apologies for going off topic. Just felt compelled to defend a profession of some interest to me :wink:
 

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shengmei said:
MMM....how close is the thermometer to the nearest lightbulb?

Funny but sadly true. I cant tell you how many people get screwed by that. Remember that lights give off heat. If you have a lamp anywhere close to your thermostat it will effect the reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Today's dilemma: The heater has been programmed to go down to 62 at night and kick back up to 68 at 6:30 am. This morning, it did not come on automatically, and we woke up to 52 degree temps! It came on both Monday and Tuesday morning after I installed the thermostat, but today...nada. I have it "on" rather than "auto" right now and let it run this way, then flipped it back to auto for a few minutes and nothing happened.

Oh, what did I do? I followed the wiring directions completely...reconnecting four wires should not have been this problematic.

Edit to add: The heater is blowing cool air out -- not warm air, so the place has not warmed up at all!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alright, had to give my dad a call -- nothing to worry about, just the pilot light had burned out. Now sitting here at a balmy 59 degrees.
 
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