What You Need to Know About Heaters and Thermostats: Line Voltage or Low Voltage Thermostats

What thermostat is right for you? Line voltage or low voltage? Don’t know? We’ll discuss what thermostat is right for your heater or your HVAC system.

Homes typically operate on line voltage (120V-240V). Most household appliances work on 120V or have a built-in transformer to operate using 120V.

You might want to use a line voltage thermostat with benefits such as easy installation without a transformer. But line voltage thermostats don’t necessarily work for all HVAC setups.

Line Voltage Thermostat

When looking for a thermostat in a heat exclusive system, a line voltage thermostat might suit your needs. If your thermostat connects to more than heaters, a line voltage thermostat might not work.

Appliances such as wall, baseboard, or ceiling heaters operate with line voltage. A compatible thermostat can connect to the heaters without the need for a transformer. Some areas where you might use thermostats specifically for a heating system would include garages, basements, or workshops.

Low Voltage Thermostat

While most homes run line voltage, they commonly use low voltage thermostats (12V-24V). Typically, they pair with a furnace system, heat pumps, or air conditioning. SMART technology heating and air also commonly operates with low voltage thermostats.

But how do low voltage thermostats connect with line voltage appliances? Relays and transformers allow for different voltages to connect safely.

If you plan to upgrade to a line voltage thermostat, consider if it is compatible with your current HVAC system. Most furnaces don’t require much voltage, so a low voltage thermostat is all that is necessary.

As a rule of thumb, replace your thermostat with a similar voltage. If you plan on installing a separate heat system with an exclusive thermostat, consider a line voltage thermostat.

Remember to check your thermostat and HVAC system voltage or ask a certified electrician or HVAC technician if you cannot determine for yourself.

Recommended Reading

Line voltage or line voltage wiring refers to the amount or number of volts that a circuit or socket has. Line voltage thermostats often work with electric space heaters, including direct-wired electric furnace or baseboard heaters, while a low voltage thermostat works with many kinds of systems, like furnaces, boilers, radiant heaters, air conditioning, and more.

Mark Watola
Mark Watola

Mark graduated with a B.S in Communications from Kennesaw State University in 2020. Enlisted in the United States Marine Corps from 2012 to 2016, Mark operated as a Photojournalist and Correspondent at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Public Affairs Office. Learning from his time in the military, Mark prides himself on having an adaptable and mission-based mindset with a willingness to work cooperatively to craft quality content.

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