October 18, 2020


Autumn has arrived in St. Louis, MO, and cold winter temperatures won’t be far behind. Now is the best time to make sure your thermostat is ready. Checking and setting your thermostat now ensures that your home will be comfortable throughout the winter months of the year. Read on for seven tips on preparing your thermostat for the heating season.

1. Check Its Battery

Programmable and smart thermostats use batteries to save your settings and power the backlight of the touchscreen. If the battery loses its charge, your thermostat will lose its programmed temperature settings. Thermostat batteries usually last for two years, but it’s a good idea to check them every six months. You can test its voltage with a multimeter, or our technicians can do it for you during your fall heating system tune-up.

2. Calibrate the Temperature Sensor

All thermostats have a temperature sensor. A power outage or shutdown of the equipment during a repair or replacement could cause the thermostat to lose the calibration of the temperature sensor. Calibrating thermostats can be tricky, but it is possible to do it yourself. The manufacturer’s website or owner’s manual should provide detailed instructions. If you’re not sure of how to do it, our NATE-certified technicians can do this for you during your next maintenance visit.

3. Switch to Heating

Thermostats have settings for cooling, heating and automatic. To prepare your thermostat for fall and winter weather, switch it to the heating function. If you leave the thermostat on auto, it’s possible that it will trigger the air conditioner to cycle on a day that’s warmer than usual. The heat setting will only allow heating cycles, and those will occur when your home’s temperature drops below the set point on your thermostat.

4. Program the Temperature

If you still have a manual thermostat, choose a temperature to set. Energy efficiency experts recommend a temperature setting of 68 degrees Fahrenheit for energy savings and comfort during the winter. If you feel chilly at this temperature, they recommend adding a layer of clothing, such as a sweatshirt or sweater or thicker socks. If you have a programmable thermostat, you can choose different temperatures for different times of the day and days of the week. Most people sleep better with a slightly cooler temperature at night, so you could program the thermostat to be at 65 degrees during the hours you’re asleep.

5. Verify the Fan Setting

Your heating system’s fan blows the warmed air into the ducts. It then passes into your living areas. The fan has two settings. The “on” setting constantly uses the fan, even when there’s no heating cycle taking place. This adds to the wear and tear of the fan and blower. However, it can improve air filtration. The “auto” setting only triggers the fan when there’s a heating cycle occurring. This setting saves energy and may extend the fan’s lifespan.

6. Connect the Thermostat to Your Wi-Fi

If you have a smart thermostat, make sure it’s connected to your Wi-Fi. The wireless connection allows the thermostat to download software updates. It also uses the connection to update algorithms. Be sure to download the thermostat’s app onto your phone. With the app, you can adjust your home’s temperature from any location. The thermostat and app work together to optimize the timing of heating cycles and temperature adjustments when you’re on your way home. They do this through a process called geofencing.

7. Consider an Upgrade

If you’re still using a manual thermostat to control your heating system, now is a great time to upgrade to a programmable or smart thermostat. Energy Star estimates that you can save up to 20% on your winter heating costs by using a programmable thermostat to control your home’s temperature. Programmable and smart thermostats also offer convenience. They adjust your home’s temperature automatically, so you don’t have to think about it.

Scott-Lee Heating Company is the trusted provider of thermostat services in St. Louis. Our customers also rely on us for affordable heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, installation and replacement services. You can also turn to us for indoor air quality, metalwork and maintenance agreements. If you own a business in or near St. Louis, our commercial heating and cooling services ensure consistent climate control at all times. For more information on preparing your thermostat for the heating season, contact us at Scott-Lee Heating Company.