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Last updated: 11th April, 2024


How to Work a Thermostat

How to Work a Thermostat

Key takeaways

  • Thermostats are a regulatory device that allow you to control the temperature within your home.
  • Thermostats should be installed in locations with a neutral temperature.
  • Smart thermostats offer remote access, schedule recognition and adjustment as well as eco modes to further boost efficiency.

A thermostat when used effectively can be a vital part of central heating control for your home, as well as a tool to help minimise expenses.

In this blog we’ll be taking a look at the topic of thermostats, including what they are, how they work and how to use them.

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What is a thermostat?

A thermostat is a regulatory device that can sense the temperature in a specific location, i.e your home, and then can action responses to adjust or maintain conditions. 

How do Thermostats work?

The most basic type of thermostat, the mechanical thermostat, contains a bimetallic strip that expands and contracts in accordance to temperature changes.

If the temperature drops below the desired level, the bimetallic strip contracts to switch the heating system on, doing the opposite and expanding to turn it off when the property is too hot. 

Modern thermostats detect changes in temperature via electronic sensors and can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times.

Where Should I install a Thermostat?

A thermostat should be installed in a part of the property with good airflow as to best provide real and accurate temperature measurements.

Your thermostat shouldn’t be placed near sources of heat i.e a radiator, or sources of cold, as this could affect the accuracy of the readings your thermostat takes. Hallways are generally considered a good, neutral location for a thermostat.

What temperature should I set my Thermostat at?

You should set the thermostat to the lowest temperature you are comfortable with (season depending).

How to Use a Thermostat


For a mechanical or analogue thermostat, simply twist the dial until you find your ideal temperature, heating is gradual and perhaps not as accurate as a smart thermostat.


What are Smart Thermostats?

A smart thermostat is a device that connects your boiler and heating system to the internet, allowing you to control your heating remotely from your mobile phone or laptop.

So long as you have internet access, you can control the temperature, turn your boiler on and off and schedule it to come on when you like- all from wherever you are. Smart thermostats can come with dial or button features and are very straightforward in terms of use, for advanced settings instructions will be in the user manual or manufacturer website.

They are also capable of learning your routine and controlling your heating around it.

It's worth noting that all our best combi boilers are compatible with smart thermostats.


Benefits of upgrading to a smart thermostat

  • Remote access

  • Save energy 

  • Save money

  • Remove human error

Remote Access

Smart thermostats offer remote access via mobile apps, which allows you to adjust the temperature settings of your home from anywhere, at any time. 

This means that you can turn on the air conditioning or heat before you arrive home so that your home is at your desired temperature when you arrive. It can also be handy if you forget to turn off your heating or cooling system when you leave home. 

This feature offers convenience, especially for those with busy schedules or those who travel often, and can help save energy by ensuring that your home is not being unnecessarily heated or cooled when you're not there.

Energy and Cost Savings

One of the most significant benefits of smart thermostats is their potential for energy and cost savings. 

Smart thermostats can learn your heating and cooling habits, and based on this, create a customised schedule that saves energy while keeping your home comfortable. They can also detect when you're not at home and automatically adjust the temperature to save energy. Smart thermostats can help reduce energy consumption by up to 10-15%, leading to significant cost savings on energy bills over time.

Reducing Human Error

Smart thermostats help reduce human error by automating temperature control. Unlike traditional thermostats that require manual adjustments, smart thermostats can adjust the temperature based on your preferences and lifestyle. 

You no longer need to worry about forgetting to adjust the thermostat when leaving for work or going to bed, as the smart thermostat will take care of it for you. 

By reducing human error, smart thermostats can help improve energy efficiency, leading to cost savings on energy bills and a more comfortable home environment.

When you have a boiler installed by iHeat, provide the option of a free wireless iHeat thermostat or a smart thermostat at a slight extra cost.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Operate My Thermostat?

Operating your thermostat involves setting your desired temperature for heating or cooling your home. Modern thermostats often have programmable or smart features, allowing you to schedule temperature changes throughout the day or control them remotely via a smartphone app. Here's a basic guide:
Turning It On: Ensure your thermostat is on and set to the correct mode (heating or cooling).
Setting the Temperature: Use the up and down buttons or a dial to set your desired temperature. For programmable models, you may need to enter a programming mode.
Programming: If your thermostat is programmable, follow the manufacturer's instructions to set schedules for different times of the day or week.
Manual vs. Automatic: Decide whether you want to manually adjust your thermostat as needed or set it to automatic adjustments based on your programming.

How Do You Use a Thermostat in the UK?

In the UK, using a thermostat for central heating typically involves setting the thermostat to your preferred temperature for when you're home and awake. Many UK homes also use programmable thermostats to lower the temperature during the night or when the house is empty, saving energy while maintaining comfort.

How Does a Thermostat Work for Dummies?

A thermostat regulates your home's temperature by turning your heating or cooling system on and off as needed. It measures the current temperature and compares it to your set temperature. If the room is too cold, the thermostat signals the heating system to turn on; if it's too warm, it does the opposite with the cooling system, maintaining a consistent, comfortable environment.

How Do You Use a Temperature Thermostat?

Using a temperature thermostat involves:
Setting Your Desired Temperature: Adjust the thermostat to the temperature you find comfortable for the current conditions (heating or cooling).
Adjusting as Needed: Change the setting if you feel too warm or cold, or adjust based on the time of day or night.

How Do You Set a Thermostat for Heating?

To set a thermostat for heating:
Select the Heat Mode: Ensure the thermostat is switched to heating mode.
Choose Your Temperature: Set the thermostat to your preferred warm temperature, often between 18°C to 22°C (64°F to 72°F) for comfort.
Adjust Based on Need: You may lower the temperature at night or when you're away to save energy.

How Does the Thermostat Work on Central Heating?

On central heating, the thermostat monitors the room's temperature and signals the boiler to turn on and heat water when the temperature drops below your set point. This heated water is then circulated through radiators to warm the room. Once the desired temperature is reached, it signals the boiler to turn off, maintaining the set temperature within a small margin.

How Do Thermostats Work with Radiators?

Thermostats work with radiators through two main methods:
Central Thermostat: Controls the overall heating system, turning it on or off based on the temperature in a central location.
Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs): Fitted on radiators to individually control the temperature of each room, allowing for more precise heating adjustments based on the specific room's needs.

Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.