What Is a Single Stage Thermostat and Do I Need One?

July 20, 2023

Single stage HVAC systems are still the most common systems used in the United States. A single stage heating or cooling system means your furnace or air conditioner has only one level of heat or cold output. Single stage thermostats are used to control single stage HVAC systems—thus, if you have a single stage heating and cooling system, your home needs a single stage thermostat. Keep reading to learn more about single stage thermostats and the many features that various models can offer you.

Single Stage vs. Multi Stage

Single stage HVAC systems generally consist of a heater (e.g., a furnace or boiler) and an air conditioning system. By comparison, multi-stage heating and cooling systems include more than one source of heated or cooled air. For example, a multi-stage heating system may use both a furnace and solar panel to provide heat. These systems require a multi-stage thermostat because multiple inputs must be managed. Single stage thermostats control only two systems—one heating system and one cooling system—and have inputs for six or fewer wires. Because single stage heating and cooling systems are the most common form of HVAC system, chances are that your home already uses a single stage thermostat. If you aren’t sure which kind of HVAC system and thermostat your home uses, an HVAC professional can perform a quick inspection to let you know. Single stage thermostats can be used to control gas-, oil-, and electricity-powered forced air furnaces, boilers, central air conditioners, and more. As long as you have a single stage HVAC system in your home, you will need to use a single stage thermostat to control it.

Single Stage Thermostat Options

Single stage thermostats are available in a variety of styles and options. The oldest single stage thermostats are mechanical systems that use a mercury switch or metal coil to measure temperature and prompt heating or cooling based on your settings. Such thermostats typically have a dial or lever that is used to set the temperature. More modern digital single stage thermostats use a device called a thermistor to measure temperature changes and turn your HVAC system on and off. These thermostats display your temperature settings and the current temperature in your home using a digital display and may use buttons or touchscreen technology to adjust the temperature. Programmable single stage thermostats offer you the option to create one or more programs for your heating and cooling system. This allows you to set the temperature differently at various times of the day or different days of the week without the need to constantly adjust your thermostat. Programmable thermostats can help you heat or cool your home more efficiently by allowing you to set the temperature either higher or lower when your home is unoccupied, thus using less energy in both the summer and winter. Because you don’t need to constantly access your thermostat, you won’t need to make a concentrated effort to conserve energy each day—once programmed, your thermostat will perform this function for you.

Upgrading your thermostat can help you save money and increase the longevity of your home’s HVAC system. You can find out more about the HVAC products we offer, including air conditioners, air handlers, ductless systems, thermostats, heat pumps, generators, and thermostats, by clicking through our extensive website. Don’t forget to check out our latest blog articles for up-to-date tips on HVAC maintenance and upgrades!

Call or Book Today

Experts are standing by to help you. We’re available 7 days a week.

Last Updated: May 22, 2024