What is a Radio Thermostat?

B. Turner

A radio thermostat is a temperature-control device that uses radio waves to send signals to a home heating or cooling system. These thermostats consist of a control panel or remote control that sends wireless signals to a receiver located on the furnace or air conditioning unit. As the user turns the temperature up or down using the remote control or panel, these devices send a signal to the receiver, which then adjusts the heating or cooling unit accordingly. A radio thermostat allows users to conveniently adjust home temperature levels from outside of the home, or via a hand-held remote control similar to a TV remote.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Traditional radio thermostats were designed to allow homeowners to adjust the thermostat without getting up from the couch. They simply transferred a signal across the room, or to another part of the home. Today, these units are much more advanced, and are designed to send and receive signals from across town or even across the globe. Depending on the type of radio thermostat chosen, homeowners can adjust home temperature using a computer software program or even a mobile phone. These programs send a wireless signal over a home Internet system to reach the thermostat receiver and adjust the heating or cooling unit.

The most advanced radio thermostat devices come with specialty features that do more than adjust the temperature. Some monitor home temperature or humidity levels and automatically adjust HVAC systems based on pre-programmed parameters. Others send a mobile message or e-mail to alert homeowners to equipment malfunctions, such as a broken furnace.

The primary advantage to using a radio thermostat is the added comfort and convenience offered by these devices. These units make it possible to adjust home temperatures from almost anywhere, and can help users maximize home comfort at all times. They can also help cut heating and cooling costs and maximize energy efficiency by allowing users to keep units off during the day and turn them back on before arriving home. Radio thermostats are also helpful for maintaining comfort and keeping costs low in vacation homes that may be unoccupied the majority of the time.

These thermostats typically cost more than a standard home thermostat, on average, and may also be more complicated to install. The most basic units can only be operated using a remote control, while more advanced models require a home Internet system that must be left on at all times. In addition, the software used to operate some of these thermostats is still under development, and may be too complex for some users.

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