Correct Height & Location To Place A Thermostat (Placement Matters To Proper Cooling)

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Thermostats do wonders at making our homes more comfortable. They work by regulating the indoor temperature by monitoring temperature changes and sending proper signals to the HVAC system. But for a thermostat to work with the HVAC system effectively and deliver cooling or heating efficiently, a thermostat has to be placed in an ideal location. Now, the question is, what is the correct height and location to place a thermostat?

While ADA recommends a much lower height placement for a thermostat in public facilities, the best height to place a thermostat is between 52 and 60 inches. This is because a room tends to be slightly warmer above 60 inches and a little colder below 52 inches.

Traditional placements of thermostats were about the same height as switches, about 152 cm, which is considered an adequate height for measuring room temperature. However, some essential factors to consider before placing your thermostat to avoid error reporting. This is what we shall be discussing in this guide shortly.

ADA Rules for Thermostat Placement

For public lodgings, spaces, and facilities, the placement of thermostats is ruled by the American Disabilities act. It rules that these public facilities have to place thermostats at a height accessible to people with disabilities.

One of the rules of ADA is height placement.  The rules state that the thermostat should be placed at a height accessible to people in wheelchairs without being assisted.

Forward reach

If a person faces a thermostat and stretches his hand to reach it, the maximum height has to be 48 inches if a thermostat is only approachable by forwarding reach. And the minimum height is 15 inches.

Side reach

This is when a person stands parallel to the thermostat and reaches her hand to her side to touch it. If a thermostat is approached by this side reach, it can be placed at a maximum height of 54 inches and a minimum height of 9 inches.

Orientation of guest room

Another ADA rule requires that guests in public facilities who are blind or have vision impairment be given room orientation if they accept this offer. Orientation must involve showing them all room features and how to access them. That includes the thermostat. Guests with visual impairments must be shown how to access and adjust the thermostats.

Compliance

These rules must be taken seriously, and failing to comply with the ADA standard of thermostat design and placement in public logins may result in fines by the Department of Justice.

What is the max height to place a thermostat?

The recommended maximum height for a thermostat placement is 60 inches. If you live in a 2-story house, your thermostat should be placed on the first floor.  This is simply because warm air tends to go up in any given room. So, by placing your thermostat upstairs, it will read warmer temperatures which will not be consistent with the average temperature for the rest of the home.

What is the lowest height to place a thermostat?

The recommended lowest height is 52 inches (for nonpublic facilities.) That is because cool air tends to go down, so any height lower than that will be cooler than the room’s average temperature.  
This will lead to a thermostat recording lower temperatures in the heating season and giving the HVAC system more time to run, thus translating into much more.

Ideal Placements For Thermostats

Ideal Placements For Thermostats

1)      Central location

The thermostat should be located at a central location. A central location usually has the average temperature for the entire house, making it a good spot for installing your thermostat. Besides that, there is generally more air circulation at the central location, making it ideal for taking temperature readings.

The living area is approximately 1.5m above the floor.

The height of your thermostat also matters. Hot air rises, and cold air goes down. This means that when you position your thermostat way too high, it will record higher temperatures than the room’s average. When you position your thermostat too low, readings will be off, meaning the heating system will run longer than usual.

3)      Frequently used room

 One of the best places to place your thermostat is in a room where you frequently spend time. You want it to be as comfortable as possible, and the thermostat in a room such as this will give readings that are as close to the actual temperature as possible.

4)      Go for the interior wall

The interior wall is not subjected to outdoor temperature fluctuations as the exterior wall. This makes it ideal for installing your thermostat.

Where You Shouldn’t Place Thermostats

Where You Shouldn't Place Thermostats

1)      Avoid direct sunlight

Don’t place your thermostat near the windows or doors because the outside weather conditions can interfere with the temperature readings. When you place it near the window and depending on the time of the day, the sun’s beam can directly hit the thermostat, which can cause it to falsely give readings.

2)      Near Doors and windows

Apart from sunlight, placing the thermostat near the windows or doors, which often open, and close, can cause the air with the external temperatures to sneak in and interfere with your thermostat’s temperature. This can cause your system to turn on and off unnecessarily and make it very inefficient to operate.

3)      Avoid mounting on an external wall.

This is because the radiant heat from the wall in summer will be too high and too low in winter. This temperature inconsistency will deceive the thermostat and will send wrong temperature signals to your HVAC system. Not only that, but the outdoor air temperatures can also be significantly different from the actual temperature in the house.

Thus, the thermostat reading will not be consistent when the indoor readings. In other words, this will cause temperature fluctuations and make your home feel uncomfortable.

4)      Avoid mounting near heat sources such as stoves.

 Don’t place your thermostat near bathrooms and kitchens with warm steam; water usually has higher temperatures than air nearby. 

That is why these areas confuse the thermostat into thinking that the rest of the house is warm and turning off the thermostat before the whole house is heated up.

During the cooling season, that will mean more cooling time from your HVAC system resulting in heft electricity bills.

 In the heating seasons, that will mean less run time for your HVAC system and could make your home feel colder than the set temperature, making it uncomfortable.

5)      Avoid placing the thermostat near any heating appliances.  

The government has something to say about this. Home appliances such as TVs and lamps could emit minor but significant enough to cause wrong temperature readings on thermostats if placed close to them.

Ensure that they are far from lamps or appliances that emit heat to get the correct temperature reading.

6)      Do not place it near an outlet register/vent.

This is another place to avoid placing your thermostat. Return vents and supply vents usually have a varying temperature from the rest of the house.

 During cooling, the air from the supply vent will usually be colder than the other part. In short, the vent can be the cold or hot spot, depending on your cooling/heating schedule.

7)      Don’t place it in the hallways.

Hallways are generally long and narrow. This means that there is usually less airflow and circulation of air. There is a high chance that the temperature in the hallway will probably be different from the temperature in the rest of the house.

Another problem is that you don’t spend much time in the Hallway, so you should not have reasons for the hallway to have the ‘perfect’ temperature as the rest of the house where you spend much of the time. 

Generally, a hallway’s temperature doesn’t represent the rest of the house.

Conclusion

We have learned that thermostats can not just be placed anywhere, but special consideration needs to be taken into account to avoid error reporting by your thermostat. Here is a summary of the most important factors to consider when determining where to place your thermostat.

  • The thermostat must be placed in an open area that does not block air circulation. For example, it should not be put behind curtains or cubicle walls.
  • Another factor to consider is placing your thermostat away from artificial heat sources such as neat TVs, stoves, computers, and coffee makers. The thermostat can sense the temperature from these artificial sources and give an incorrect temperature reading.
  • Another place to avoid placing your thermostat is where direct sunlight comes onto the thermostat, like near the windows.
  •  Your thermostat should not be placed in corners; the minimum clearance placement of your thermostat from the corner is 6 inches.
  • Avoid placing your thermostat near a large mass of the concrete wall. This is because this can delay the thermostat’s response to changes in the air temperature.
  • Do not place your thermostat on the exterior walls. This is because the outdoor weather condition will affect the thermostat’s sensing. 
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