Do programmable thermostats work on hot water base board heating systems?

Asked by Mindy
Littleton, CO

I currently have thermostats that I have to manual adjust.


Andy Mazal

Answered by Andy Mazal

Boulder, CO

Vertical Elements, LLC

February 11, 2014

Mindy: In a word, yes. Programmable thermostats will work with a hot water baseboard system. However, because baseboard heat takes longer to heat a room than forced air systems do, you should program them differently than you would for a forced air system. Specifically, while you'd typically set a forced air thermostat to have the heat come on 15 or so minutes before you get home or wake up, with a baseboard system you should set it to turn up the heat about an hour or so before hand. Similarly, you can set it to turn itself down (or set back) an hour or so ahead of time also. As an example, with a furnace you might have the thermostat turn up at 6:00 am, turn back down at 8:00 am, then crank back up around 5:00 pm and them back down when you go to bed, 10:00 pm. With a boiler / baseboard system, you'd want to have the thermostats turn up at 5:00 am, turn down at 7:00 am, and crank back up at 4:00 pm and them back down at 9:00 pm. One caution: be sure whatever thermostat(s) you buy specifically say they work with baseboard / hydronic boiler-fired heating systems. Most do, but just be sure it says so on the box. Andy Mazal BPI Building Analyst

Tagged In: thermostats

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