The Best Location for a Thermostat in a Two-Story House?

Thermostat on the wall

You may have had the thought cross your mind wondering if your thermostat is in the right spot in your house. Some areas of your house might be cooler than other areas of your house. Maybe you are wondering if there is a right or wrong spot. Some places will benefit you and your energy bill. So, what is the best location for a thermostat in a two-story house? 

Even though there are many dos and dont’s about thermostat placement, when talking about a two-story house, it is ideal to have it higher on the wall on the first floor of the house. You want the thermostat to be in the most central area of the house to get the best reading. Some people have two thermostats for a two-story house, and others have one. It depends on how big of a house you have.

Where To Place Your Thermostat

There are really only a few best locations for a thermostat:

  • 5 feet from the floor any higher and it could pick up too much heat since heat rises
  • The center of the home in a common room you are constantly in
  • It does not need to be, but it is ok and recommended to place it above any return intake vent (the vents that don’t blow air out but suck in to circulate the air through the system)

Where NOT To Place Your Thermostat

Many places are not only not recommended but could make your energy bill skyrocket, keep your house at a temperature that isn’t comfortable, or even causes your system to break down:

  • On an exterior wall – The walls can be hot in the summer and colder in the winter, interfering with your temperature readings
  • Near/Above an air vent – Even though it seems like common sense, it is a very easy mistake to overlook. The cold or hot air blowing right up to the thermostat with trick it into thinking it meets the correct temperature causing it to shut off and on far more than it should. It can cause a lot of issues with your system.
  • Windows and doors – If your thermostat is near a drafty door or window, it can pick up the temperature triggering the system to turn on/off.
  • Hallways or other places that are occupied often – Many people place their thermostats in their hallways. Surprisingly isn’t a good idea. With their low airflow and narrow space, it can stay very cool or warm there. 
    • The rest of the house will not be close to the right temperature. Your system will turn off more often, and you’ll be stuck hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
  • Near areas of the house that tend to be warm – Bathrooms and kitchens are not ideal spaces for a thermostat. 

Should You Have Two Thermostats?

You don’t need to have two thermostats, but some homes do have one on each floor. Keep in mind that you will need to do electrical work or hire an electrician to add a thermostat. Having two thermostats requires both to be connected to the same control panel. 

The control panel works to operate dampers inside of the ductwork of your forced air unit. They will open and close inside the ductwork to get the temperature to the correct reading of each thermostat. If you do not already have two, it is completely fine to just keep one.

What Height Should the Thermostat be at?

For a two-story house, the thermostat should be placed on the first floor fairly high up onto the wall. Keeping it in the most central part of the whole house helps keep the temperature the most regulated. 

For a single-story home, the recommended height from the floor to place the thermostat is 60 inches/5 feet above the floor. It gives an accurate temperature reading while still being at a height the average person can reach and out of reach of most younger kids’ little fingers.

What is the Best Temperature to Set Your Thermostat to In a Two Story House?

In a two-story house, it’s recommended to set the upstairs thermostat to the temperature you would like, then set your downstairs temperature to a few degrees warmer.

This method and the fact that heat will rise will make a nice balance in your house, leaving you with the two floors of your home comfortable.

You could also install a multi-room whole-house fan in the attic to pull heat out of the house and get your temperature at the desired level.

What is the Best Temperature to Set Your Thermostat to in a Single Story Home?

In a single-story home, it depends on what you are comfortable with and what you can afford. However, the U.S. Department of Energy says that during the summer, your thermostat should be set at 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) 

For some, that is the normal temperature of what they would set it at for others. You are probably sweating reading that. 

During the winter months, it is recommended to set your thermostat to 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celcius) Its also recommended to lower it even more at night.

It comes down to where you live and what climate you are used to. Someone with winters in the negative teens could easily be hot at 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter

Those that live in warmer climates in the triple digits could easily have their inside temperature higher while still being comfortable.

It is all about your induvial needs, your comfort level, your budget, and the area you live in to get the ideal temperature. Don’t worry if your temperature is way off from those listed above. 

Is it Hard to Move the Thermostat in a House?

In almost all cases, you will be dealing with electricity, wiring, and some potentially hazardous steps. If you are knowledgeable about electricity, there are people out there that have moved their thermostats. 

Moving and replacing are two very different things. Almost anyone can replace their thermostat with very few steps and finish safely. 

When talking about moving it all together now, you’re talking about finding wires behind your wall, having power shut off, possibly needing to open one of your walls to get to the wires, then moving them to somewhere else behind a different wall. 

It has quite a few steps, and it is probably easier to call an electrician. 

Is it Worth Moving the Thermostat?

It is fairly easy to see that moving your thermostat may not be worth it. If your thermostat is in a kitchen, it would be worth it. If yours is in a less-than-ideal place and triggering your system all day/night and raising your bill, a call to an electrician will cost less in the long run. 

The small one-time visit of an electrician will be far lower than the extra cost and wear and tear on your system in the end.

If it is in a place that is not bothering your system, and you just want it moved for convincing, then just take into consideration the cost of moving it. If you can afford it and it’s an easy job, then go for it.

How Far Should the Thermostat be From the Return Register

An accurate thermostat will know when to start the heating or cooling system, making your home energy-efficient and comfortable. The placement of your thermostat is essential to keeping its records accurate, so you’ll want to place it in the most neutral part of your home.

The best location for your thermostat is near the air return register since it is usually at room temperature. Usually, the return air register is in the ceiling of a hallway. You could install your thermostat below the return register about 5 feet above the floor. This is the ideal height to prevent temperature readings from getting too low or too high.

What Are Some of The Best Brands of Thermostats out There?

Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostat E

Nest Thermostats are becoming a very popular brand, with many people loving the new-age technology and modern look. Being able to program your thermostat while you are away from home can cut the cost of your energy bills drastically.

They cost under $200 and have a great sleek design to add a modern touch to your home.

Once it is connected, it automatically programs itself. It will pick up on your habits (times you aren’t home, the temperature you like it set to at certain times.) 

The app lets you keep track of your energy savings. Overall a great thermostat with lots of extras.

You can find it here – Nest Thermostat E

Orbit 83521 Thermostat

Orbit 83521

Under $50, making it extremely affordable. Nice and sleek looking with a large number display making it very easy to read.

You can program it for every day of the week to fit your needs. It’s a pretty simple thermostat and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the nest, but for the price of a little over $50, you can’t beat it.

You can find it here – Orbit 83521

Sensi Touch Wi-Fi Thermostat

Sensi Touch Wi-Fi

The cost is a little lower than the nest thermostat. It has a very simple-looking design to fit with any home style. It can be installed in under 30 minutes.

You can create a 7-day schedule on your phone. It is also compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. Being able to use your voice to change the temperature is very convenient. 

At about $150, the simple design and added features still make it a great contender.

You can find it here – Sensi Touch Wi-Fi 

Honeywell T5 Thermostat

Honeywell T5

It is rated as one of the best wi-fi compatible thermostats out there. You can control it from your smartphone. You can preset a 7-day routine to have your house fit your needs or program it to set the temperature based on your location. 

At a little over $100, the design and features are well worth the price.

It is harder to install than the rest but worth it in the end.

You can find it here – Honeywell T5

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best location for the thermostat in a two-story house?

The best location for the thermostat in a two-story house is on the first floor, near the stairs. This way, the thermostat can easily be reached and adjusted as needed. Additionally, placing the thermostat on the first floor will help to ensure that the temperature in the house is evenly distributed.

How many thermostats do I need in a house?

The number of thermostats you need in a house depends on the size and layout of your home, as well as your personal heating and cooling preferences. A good rule of thumb is one thermostat for each floor or zone in your house. If you have a large or complicated floor plan, you may need more than one thermostat to maintain comfortable temperatures throughout your home.

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