A thermostat does two things: It
senses the room temperature, and it
regulates the heating system to
maintain a selected temperature.
But how it does these things can
have a serious effect on both comfort
and fuel use.
Most inexpensive thermostats
allow wide temperature swings,
making the room alternately too
cool or too warm. Better quality
thermostats have adjustable "anticipators"
that turn the heating system
off just before the desired temperature
is reached to avoid
overshooting the mark. When properly
calibrated, anticipators control
temperature swings so they are barely
noticeable without allowing the
heat to frequently turn on and off
(short-cycling), which wastes fuel.
Another type of thermostat
adjusts the temperature at predetermined
times. Called a "clock" or
"setback" thermostat, it reduces
energy use and