They're not just round and one-dimensional anymore

March 31, 2000
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DALLAS, TX — It used to be easy. You just turned a circular dial and set the temperature for the whole house — give or take a few degrees … and regardless of humidity levels, number of rooms, cooler outside temperatures at night and warmer temps during the day, usage, etc.

You get the picture.

Our lifestyle makes it almost impossible to rely solely on one temperature setting to provide adequate comfort throughout the day and night. That’s why we depend on manufacturers to continually bring new thermostat products to the table which are designed to produce new comfort levels to homeowners and businesses.

At the IAHR Expo, thermostats were out in force. For instance, at A-1 Components, the catchword was “ease.” This is how the company described its line of “Cam-Stat” thermostats. These two thermostats feature large, easy-to-read LCD panels; slim, low-profile design; soft rubber buttons; and a neutral color. (Now doesn’t that sound pretty laid back?)

The company touts the thermostats as “high-tech electrical operations at electrical/mechanical prices.” They are available in standard and programmable versions plus are easy to install. Additional features include English-metric operation, built-in auxiliary heat indicator, compressor protection timer, and optional power stealing operation.

High tech, name change

High-tech has arrived with the introduction of the Personalized Intelligent Control System (PICS) from PSG Controls, Inc. The company said PICS can be preprogrammed by contractors according to their customer’s specific comfort needs.

By using a plug-in module which can be programmed with a PC using Windows®-based software, contractors can do exactly what their customers, the building owners, want them to do.

“The module plugs into the back of a PC and can set a number of functions, such as heating, cooling, and humidification,” said PSG’s H. Nelson Bender.

The thermostat can be programmed to tell a customer when it is time to schedule a service call. It also lists the name and phone number of the installing contractor. PSG Controls believes PICS gives building owners “un-intimidated” control of their hvac system without “hassling” with complex programmable buttons or with complex energy management systems.

Meanwhile, Research Products Corp. spent a great deal of time getting people used to their name change, Aprilaire® products.

“For more than 40 years, the name Aprilaire has been synonymous with the best in whole-house humidification,” said company spokesperson Larry Olsen. “Now it’s also synonymous with a whole indoor comfort system.”

In regard to thermostats, the company said its new line of electronic thermostats are designed to be energy saving, easy-to-use, complimentary to a home’s décor, and have an important safety function.

“These thermostats communicate with one another through a link to a PC,” said Joe Hlavacek. “Unlike other communication thermostats, if the system crashes, the standalone thermostats will continue to work and no hvac functions will be jeopardized.”

And there's more

An adjustable knob and a circular wall thermostat ... sound familiar? Well, Systems, Controls & Instruments, L.L.C. has added a slight variation to that structure: a round dial on a rectangular box.

The company’s “ComforTrol” series of digital thermostats are low-voltage and designed to compete with conventional bimetal thermostats. Slide switches are used along with an LED, always glowing. Indicator lights turn on when the hvac system is energized.

SCI also offers a logarithmic program called “Smart Sensing,” which the company said adjusts the temperature differential in order to maintain close room temperature, without rapid cycling the equipment.

White-Rodgers/Division of Emerson Electric Co. believes it has a “smart idea.” That idea is a smart thermostat called the Comfort-Set® Digital Thermostat. Homeowners can program the thermostat and see the results, 24-hours a day. That’s because the display is soft backlit, designed to end a lot of groping in the dark to make sure the thermostat is set and running correctly.

“This solves the problem of setting the thermostat in the dark after coming home,” said George Muehlemann.

Although not part of the thermostat line (but with direct connections), White-Rodgers touted its Intell-Ignition™ Silicon Nitride System as one of the newest and best technologies to hit the hvac industry. Muehlemann said the ignition system could operate when directly exposed to water, condensation, bleach, or electric shock. Its silicon nitride composition makes it virtually indestructible and capable of outlasting any system it is installed in.

“Some of the testing showed that the igniter can last up to 93 years,” said Muehlemann.

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