Home temperature control

Figure 1. Digital thermostats can help to reduce energy costs in a home.[1]

Home temperature control refers to the process of keeping the interior of a house at a comfortable, uniform and regulated temperature. Having a uniform temperature means limiting how much temperature changes throughout a room or house. In developed countries temperature is controlled with a thermostat to turn on a furnace or the air conditioning. This thermostat is then hooked to the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system to distribute warm or cool air throughout the building.

Movement of Heat

One of the main purposes in controlling a homes temperature is preventing the loss of heat to the external environment or the intrusion of cold into the home. This transfer of heat is promoted by three main heat transfer mechanisms. The three types of heat transfer are:[2]

These three methods of heat transfer allow external heat to enter the inside of a home through minuscule gaps between windows and walls or on seals, as well as radiating through window glazing and transferring through walls.

Controlling Temperature

The main key in maintaining a comfortable temperature is having a number of different components in the home that all contribute to a secure building envelope. Undesired heat transfer must be minimized between the exterior and interior space in order to keep the internal climate at a comfortable level. As well, preventing the undesired movement of treated air can reduce the strain on heating or cooling devices, reducing heating and cooling costs and saving money in the long run. Therefore proper home temperature control is vital to energy efficient building design. As well, a lack of temperature control inside of a home can promote environments that allow mould to grow and condensation to form, damaging the building envelope. Along with creating a comfortable home, properly regulating temperature and humidity can reduce damage to a home.

Along with methods of heat transfer that promote exchange between internal and external environments, there are several sources of heat inside the building, such as human and appliance activities, and ways to prevent the generated heat from escaping. The use of high quality insulation in walls, windows, and doors prevents warm, treated air from inside the home. Insulation in the walls, floors, ceiling, basement and attic help to prevent heat loss by decreasing the amount of heat that can be radiated outside and prevent heat from being conducted to the cooler air outside.[3] Conversely, good insulation can also keep the heat out during warm seasons. Along with this, proper fenestration techniques prevent untreated hot or cold air from entering the home from the outside.

Home temperature control has led to increased energy consumption in Canada and much of the world. Existing technology can be implemented to dramatically reduce this increase in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.


  1. "Homeywell Thermostat".Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Homeywell_Thermostat.jpeg#/media/File:Homeywell_Thermostat.jpeg
  2. The Physics Classroom. (March 24, 2015). Methods of Heat Transfer [Online]. Available: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/thermalP/Lesson-1/Methods-of-Heat-Transfer
  3. GSCE. (March 24, 2015). Reducing Heat Loss [Online]. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa_pre_2011/energy/heatrev3.shtml