Thermostats for HVAC Controls & Automation| Setting the right HVAC temperature |
What are Thermostats?
Thermostats are the devices used for HVAC Control & Automation
Thermostats typically regulate the use of central HVAC systems by enabling users to specify the desired setpoint temperature and then cycling the system on and off to maintain the temperature within a fixed range of the setpoint. The simplest type of thermostat for HVAC Controls & Automation requires users to manually switch the HVAC system on and place it into heating or cooling mode, as well as specify the desired temperature.
Drawbacks of Manual Thermostats
Manual thermostats, while simple and inexpensive, are
(i) prone to human error, since users may forget to turn them off when leaving for an extended period, and
(ii) reduce user comfort, since users cannot activate them in advance of their arrival, causing an initial period of discomfort on entry as the room or office heats up or cools down to the setpoint.
What are programmable thermostats for HVAC Control & Automation?
To address these drawbacks, most modern thermostats are programmable. A programmable thermostat enables a user to manually program a thermostat schedule, which specifies the time each day the HVAC system should be on and its corresponding setpoint temperature.
HVAC technicians in offices derive a schedule based on when they expect to be home and away. If a user’s expectations are correct, then a programmable thermostat can reduce human error by automatically turning off (or adjusting the setpoint) when a user leaves.
To increase comfort, users may also enter schedules that pre-cool or pre-heat a home (or room) in advance of their expected arrival. Programmable thermostats are simple and cheap devices present in tens of millions of homes. While programmable thermostats are marketed for their potential energy savings.
Challenges with programmable thermostats
Unfortunately, the interface to many programmable thermostats is difficult to navigate and tedious to program, which often discourages users from ever programming them. Even when taking the time to program a schedule, users are left with the complex task of determining a static schedule that optimizes their energy savings and comfort given their occupancy pattern, which may be dynamic and difficult to predict.
Further, since daily activities and, thus, occupancy patterns inevitably change over time, e.g., summer activities differ from winter activities, users must periodically re-program their thermostat as their optimal schedule changes, or risk losing any of its energy-saving benefits.
Rise of smart thermostats on sensor technology
As a result of these challenges, many users avoid programming thermostats, which defeats their purpose. Smart thermostats, which are useful in HVAC Controls & Automation sense occupancy and automatically program a schedule without user intervention, were introduced to address the drawbacks of programmable thermostats. However, smart thermostats are still niche devices for energy-efficiency enthusiasts, largely due to their high cost and the overhead of installing them of millions of “dumb” programmable thermostats will remain in homes for many years to come.
MG Cooling Solutions, an HVAC Company always work in the energy efficiency domain for its HVAC clients. They can be reached at www.mgcs.net.in