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Digital Thermostats: How to Use and Set

Thermostat by ATN Mechanical Systems

Digital thermostats come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have the same function. They do as they’re told to maintain a certain temperature in your home. Temperature is important for keeping you and your family comfortable. No one likes being too hot or too cold. Digital thermostats ensure that the temperature is consistently just right for you. Having a basic overall understanding of your digital thermostat, and learning how to use it should be a priority for you. It is not as intimidating as it may seem!

The majority of digital thermostats have the following buttons: Run, Hold, Time or Clock, Mode, Fan, and Program or Plan. In the hopes of bridging the distance between the homeowner and the automated thermostat, let’s explore each of these buttons and their purposes.

Mode Button on Digital Thermostats

Let’s start with the MODE button. “Heat”, “Cool” or “Off” are selected by pressing the MODE button. In the MODE settings, some digital thermostats can have an ‘AUTO’ feature. Simply put, you’re granting your thermostat permission to use the heat or air conditioning on any given day. Many homeowners thoroughly enjoy using the AUTO feature. This is because the thermostat is able to adjust itself as needed to your desired indoor temperature.


The blower (fan) in your furnace is powered by the FAN button on your thermostat. On a standard digital thermostat, you can choose between ON and AUTO for this configuration. “On” means that your furnace’s blower will be turned on all of the time.

There are a variety of reasons that anyone would choose to run their blower constantly. The most logical one is to maintain a consistent temperature in the household. Without a fan, the air would stratify, which means all of the hot air would rise and all of the cold air would fall. Resulting in a lot more opportunities for uncomfortable living spaces in the house.

If you live in a single-story house, you may notice that some places or spaces aren’t as cozy as others due to temperature fluctuations. A thermostat setting of ‘FAN ON’ will help you achieve more stable temperatures in your house.

When you turn ‘FAN ON,’ the furnace will circumvent the ON speed of the blower and ramp-up to the set speed for hot or cool to meet a set temperature on your thermostat. For example, let’s say your FAN ON is usually set to a low fan speed and your home needs to be cooled. A higher, more efficient fan speed will momentarily bypass the lower speed before your thermostat hits the correct set temperature.

Program or Schedule / Run

This is where the bulk of people feel challenged. Not all digital thermostats will require the same amount of programming. Once you figure out how to set one timeframe, the rest is only a matter of repetition.

Trust me when I say it’s not as complicated as you would imagine. The PROGRAM setting essentially causes your thermostat to lower your home’s temperature at pre-set times to save you money. It’s a cost-effective way to heat and cool your house while reducing wear and tear on your appliances.

A time and a temperature are required when creating a program. Follow the flashing prompts by pressing PROGRAM or SCHEDULE. When you click the arrow keys, the hour, minutes, or day that is flickering will change. Adjust the desired settings for the time or temperature by pressing the ‘up’ or ‘down’ arrows. To advance to the next desired day, hour, or temperature, press the TIME, Software, or SCHEDULE button.


The TIME can be scheduled to a certain day and is adaptable to your schedule. When you have a fixed routine in your life, this is oftentimes desirable. If you don’t, try using a software like setback. This is a lower temperature setting that you can set during the night while you sleep. It will then return to normal right before you usually wake up. This will presumably only need two TIME settings a day, while other days can require four different time setpoints.

For example, you can program your thermostat to run Monday through Friday during the week. While having another TIME setting for Saturday and Sunday during the weekend. On weekdays, you may want to turn on the heat when you wake up before you leave for work. You would then have it turn off until you get back home again. The furnace would maintain its daily temperature until bedtime, at which point it would lower the temperature setpoint until morning. On weekends, you can only use two of those options.


The HOLD button keeps the temperature set and overrides the program/schedule. If you walk up to your digital thermostat and switch the heat up past the usual set-point when pressing HOLD, the thermostat can maintain the temperature forever. Or until you press RUN to continue running the program again. If you increase the temperature without pressing the HOLD button, the temperature can only change for a short time. At the next time set-point you have set in that program, the temperature will immediately return to the set PROGRAM.

Smart Home by ATN Mechanical Systems

Top Digital Thermostats

There are many flashy and high-tech thermostats available nowadays to relieve you of the mundanity of turning a key. Some of them can also help you save money on your energy bills. By changing the temperature automatically when you’re away or learning your household habits. The distinction is based on your personal preferences and financial constraints.

Check out the following link for a list of the best-rated thermostats in Canada, as well as their benefits and drawbacks! https://energyrates.ca/product-reviews/best-thermostats/

This blog discusses the most popular thermostat buttons and functions. However, you might have a unique setup that you’d like to talk about or ask questions about. Please contact us via email or phone. We are always more than happy to help! Contact us at 519-884-6366 or via our website’s contact form https://www.atnmechanicalsystems.com/contact-us/.


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