AC Thermostat: Types And When To Replace

Posted on: 21 February 2020


The air conditioning (AC) thermostat is a critical component of the cooling system. The thermostat controls the temperature settings for a comfortable house. Below are some of the types of thermostats available today, and when you should replace your thermostat.


You can get thermostats in these two basic configurations.


Mechanical thermostats require manual operations. You have to operate the thermostat manually to set the temperature you desire or to turn the thermostat on or off. Mechanical thermostats are not very accurate in their temperature controls. However, many people still like these thermostats since they are relatively cheap and durable.


Digital or electrical thermostats operate electronically and may have digital displays for inputting and reading the thermostat's controls. Below are some of the various forms of digital thermostats.

  • Programmable. These thermostats can save settings. The save function means you can pre-set the thermostat with different settings for different periods. The thermostat automatically tunes to the pre-determined settings when the time comes.
  • Nonprogrammable. The thermostats don't save settings. You have to input each setting every time you want a thermostat change.
  • Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi thermostats connect to the internet for remote control. Changing temperature settings or switching it off or on can be done remotely.
  • Smart. Smart thermostats, which also connect to the internet, can learn your temperature settings over time. After some time, the thermostat can affect the changes without your input.

Digital thermostats offer more precise temperature controls than manual thermostats. However, they are also relatively expensive.

When to Replace

You don't have to replace your thermostat regularly, but there comes a time when you have to replace the thermostat. For example, you should replace your thermostat under the following circumstances.  

AC Replacement

Many cooling professionals will advise you to replace the thermostat when you replace your AC. Most ACs only last between 15 to 25 years. By this time, other components of the system (including the thermostat) are likely to be damaged, failing, or inefficient too.

Also, thermostat technology keeps changing and a decade or more can mean a great difference in functionality and efficiency. Replacing the thermostat along with the AC helps you to take advantage of the new thermostat technologies. That way, you also get to match the new AC with a new thermostat.


Even if your AC is not due for a replacement, you should replace the thermostat if it is failing or is showing signs of malfunction. Early signs of thermostat failure include difficulty starting, inefficient cooling, loss of programs, dead displays, and erratic AC functions, among others.

For more information, reach out to an HVAC contractor of your choice.