Thermostat Confusion? I Have the (a) Solution!

One thing I like about our home is that each level has its own thermostat and can be independently regulated (makes for more efficient cooling and heating and it actually cuts electrical costs). Thermostat technology has come a long way, however if your thermostat is in the wrong location it can cost you money and cause perpetual discomfort.

Situation: Our upstairs thermostat is in the hallway. With no hallway air vents the temperature around that thermostat is mostly dictated by whatever makes its way up from the main floor.

The old thermostat location was not ideal. Air from downstairs would heat and cool the hallway where the thermostat was located. When in use the downstairs fireplace caused a huge temperature discrepancy.

Summer Situation: In summer the upstairs AC will run and run until the hallway cools to whatever temperature the thermostat has been set to. Since the air has to spill out of the bedrooms and into the hallway to reach the thermostat by that time all the bedrooms are too cold.

Winter Situation; In winter the warm air from downstairs keeps the upstairs hallways warn as well. The net effect is that the bedrooms are left unheated if the thermostat is set to a normal heating range. If we compensate by making our heating threshold higher than normal the upstairs AC will run and run until the hallway warms to this temperature. Since the air has to spill out of the bedrooms and into the hallway to reach the thermostat by that time all the bedrooms are too warm.

Solution: My wife pointed out that if we moved the thermostat into the bedroom that would solve all our problems. Since we use an automated system to control our temperature having it in our bedroom isn’t a big deal because others rarely need to adjust it. And thus was the thermostat moved. And there was there peace in the land.

That was all a long-winded way of saying this: If you have a two story home and separate thermostats (main and upstairs) make sure your upstairs thermostat is placed correctly. One alternative option to relocating the thermostat is to use one with a remote sensor.

Don’t Run Your AC In the Winter

4/30/2017 – This post is part of a large release of “DRAFT” entries. Many of these these entries were never finished (and may still not be) or were composed but never published for one reason or another. If you run across one of of these in a strange spot or out of chronological order that may be one reason.

I didn’t know this was a thing but it most definitely is. When you start your AC compressor in the cold it can cause serious damage. First thing’s first… what kind of idiot would run his AC in the winter?

Background: I’ve got an under-the-garage gym in my basement. No windows (which ironically would solve all of the problems associated with this issue as you will see). I only use this gym at night. I create a lot of body heat and the room often rises into the 80’s (from the 60’s) after only an hour or so without cooling.  I believe this makes me one of like 3 people in the USA who lives in a cold state who needs to cool a room late at night during winter. :/ Here again, a window would solve this in a heart beat. But alas.

Anyway, I am the proud owner of a Wiser Air thermostat (very cool- check it out if you’re looking for a smart wireless thermostat solution). It always worked great until one day the AC would no longer turn on. I worked with their customer service (excellent, BTW) on the issue with no luck. They graciously sent me a new thermostat and it worked just fine until I linked it to my phone. Then, inexplicably, it would no longer turn on the AC. However, that was the key to figuring out the problem.

The Wiser Air knows it’s not a good idea to turn on your AC when it’s below a certain temperature outside. And as soon as you link the thermostat to your phone app it knows what the temperature outside is! And voila- it won’t turn your AC compressor on. A Wiser Air tech pointed this out. That was how I learned you should never turn on your air conditioning in the winter. That leaves me with a bit of a pickle though- I still need to find some way to cool that room. No solution yet.