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

By Mark Watola on 11/30/2020

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.

If you want to know more about line voltage and low voltage thermostats read more about them here.

Sources:

http://cadetheat.com/blog/line-voltage-or-low-voltage/

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