Which Thermostat do you Need - Line or Low Voltage Thermostat?

How do I know if my heater uses a line voltage thermostat or a low voltage thermostat? Is there a difference between the two? Which should I use for my home? With the dramatic drop in temperature this winter season, questions about thermostats are increasing. Before you turn your heating curiosity into a heating catastrophe, make sure you understand some basic facts about line voltage thermostats and low voltage thermostats.

What is a line voltage thermostat?

Directly responsible for operating your heater’s electricity, a line voltage thermostat works on baseboard heaters, electric wall heaters, and other similar devices. These high voltage thermostats – typically powered by 120 or 240 volt ACs – are of two types:

  • Two-wire (single-pole) and
  • Four-wire (double-pole), the more common of the two

What’s the difference?

Four-wire line voltage thermostats have an “off” setting, while two-wire line voltage thermostats can only turn to the lowest setting, not off.

Generally used on electric heating systems, line voltage thermostats are not commonly found in US homes.

What is a low voltage thermostat?

The low voltage thermostat is the one found in most homes. Their voltage usage is much lower than that of line voltage thermostats, hence the name. Low voltage thermostats run off of voltage somewhere around 6-30, with 24 being the average. They come in a variety of types, such as bimetallic, digital, or electronic programmable.

How do I know if I have a line voltage thermostat or a low voltage thermostat?

Line voltage thermostats have very thick electrical wires, while low voltage thermostats have wires much like telephones. Another place to check would be on the inside cover of your thermostat; there you will find the voltage listing.

Do popular brands carry both line voltage thermostats and low voltage thermostats?

Yes, they do. Brands such as Aube Thermostats (now a part of the Honeywell thermostats family), Globe, and Lux Thermostats come in both low and line voltage varieties.

Be sure to keep the above information in mind as you look for the right thermostat for your home.

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