Is a poorly placed thermostat triggering “ghost” readings in your home?

October 28, 2016

thermostatIs a poorly placed thermostat triggering “ghost” readings in your home?

Your home may be “haunted” with ghosts and you may not even know it. But the clues are right in front of you. You’re shivering when the thermostat setting indicates you ought to feel warm and you’re sweating when the thermostat suggests you ought to feel cool and comfortable.

Without trying to frighten you, your thermostat is registering “ghost readings,” or readings that inaccurately reflect the temperature in your home. Ghost readings are problematic because they prevent your air conditioner or furnace from turning on or off when they should, potentially costing you money that can add up to truly frightening energy bills.

“Ghosts” stem from the right thermostat in the wrong location

Many homeowners assume that something is wrong with their thermostat, which is possible but unlikely given how well most thermostats are built. A more plausible explanation is that the thermostat is installed in the wrong place – a scenario Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning encounters in many northeast Florida homes, especially at this time of year.

Let Charlie’s educate you about why some locations are apt to produce  ghost readings. But first, take a step back from your thermostat and  look closely at its immediate surroundings. The U.S. Department of  Energy says that a thermostat should be installed “away from heating  or cooling vents and other sources of heat or drafts (doorways, windows, skylights, direct sunlight or bright lamps)” to function.

In other words, heat and drafts can “trick” your thermostat into registering ghost readings. The following spots are the spookiest of all:

Wrong spot for a thermostats: Near the kitchen

Why it’s the wrong spot? Installing a thermostat in close proximity to a kitchen is probably the worst choice of all. Your stove, oven, indoor grills, coffeemaker and other appliances can easily make your kitchen the warmest room in your home. This extra warmth might feel comforting on a cool day, but it will produce ghost readings that will trigger your air conditioner to turn on when cool air isn’t needed throughout your home.

Wrong spot for a thermostats: In the path of direct and prolonged sunlight

Why it’s the wrong spot? Sunlight can cause your thermostat to register a temperature 10 degrees higher than the room temperature. This means that your air conditioner might turn on when it doesn’t need to. Also, your furnace might not turn on when you feel chilled to the bone. Note that the key word here is “prolonged”; chances are that the sun might shine directly on your thermostat at some point during the day. But this contact should be fleeting and short-lived.

Wrong spot for a thermostats: Close to other “hot spots”

Why it’s the wrong spot? Hot spots can inflame ghost readings, and these spots are not always easy to identify. A thermostat that sits close to a fireplace is an obviously poor combination. But a thermostat that sits above a TV, entertainment center or even a lamp that is often left on might trigger false readings, too.

Wrong spots for a thermostats: Near windows and doors

Why it’s the wrong spot ? Windows and doors that are well sealed and insulated can reduce, though not eliminate, drafts that can cause ghost readings on your thermostat. Placing a thermostat next to them also is a poor choice because most windows and doors are opened frequently. A thermostat is quick to detect a rush of warm or cool air.

Wrong spot for thermostats: Near air vents

Why it’s the wrong spot? Just like an influx of outdoor air, the cool and warm air that flows from your vents can skew  readings. Ideally, vents should not even be on the same wall as a thermostat.Let Charlie’s purge “the ghosts”

If you’re registering an “ah-ha” moment, try not to blame the builder of your home. Most builders are well aware of the best place to install a thermostat. By placing them on an interior wall, near the center of a home and its occupants’ central living activities, it can pick up median and accurate readings. Charlie’s has found that many poorly placed thermostats are a byproduct of remodeling projects, when walls are knocked down and living habits change.

Whatever the cause of ghost readings in your home, Charlie’s can eradicate them by moving it to the best location . You will feel better day by day, and especially on those days that you receive your energy bill. And if you’re not ready to render a verdict on your thermostat’s placement? Call Charlie’s for a consultation and let us decide – and then leave those ghosts to inhabit your favorite scary movie, where they belong.

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  1. Vanna

    My apartment is set up to where my tv can only be mounted by the thermostat. How far away from the thermostat should it be?

    • Amy O'Grady

      You want to make sure you have it far enough away that the heat from the TV isn’t reaching it. Otherwise the thermostat will be effected by the reading of the TV not the actual room temp.