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Smart Thermostats Offer New Features

December 13, 1987|Dale Baldwin

As cooler temperatures arrive, it's time to turn on heating systems--and to discover that maybe your thermostats are out of date.

No wonder, since thermostats, like many other electrical devices, have gotten smart. Many of the new mechanical and electronic models, which can be installed by "savvy" do-it-yourselfers with just a screwdriver, will do things the old ones couldn't.

Providing energy savings and convenience and enhancing interior design, today's thermostats range from advanced electronic push-button models to basic controls, matching your life style and budget. There are models to control most heating and/or cooling systems.

Robertshaw Controls Co. manufactures a number of useful models. Their electronic Energy Manager model offers push-button programming for multiple daily periods with a digital display window to guide homeowners.

The unit will automatically regulate temperature as desired to provide economy while your family sleeps or is away from home, returning to the comfort level when you want it.

Programs to suit your needs for an entire week can be entered quickly on the T60 Deluxe styles. These money-saving schedules can be repeated automatically or easily altered with different timing and temperatures on weekends or whenever desired.

The T50 Standard model offers up to two economy periods daily, and these settings will run automatically or can be quickly changed. Both T50 and T60 models have battery backup to retain your programs during a power outage.

The Robertshaw Econotrol also comes with automatic setback savings. It features a quartz movement for accurate, quiet control.

Both Deluxe and Standard models offer two economy programs daily, which can be repeated, skipped or easily changed. Most models are available at hardware and home products stores.

Robertshaw thermostats come with installation instructions and a toll-free number to call for help, should it be needed. Some do-it-yourself experience is desirable, according to company representative Chuck Little, and he suggests checking around for the lowest prices, since they may vary from store to store.

While the thermostats are adapted to most furnaces and air conditioners, they cannot be used with cable heating, Little said.

The same company has come up with a new idea--do-it-yourself replacement knobs designed to fit on most gas and electric ranges. At last you can inexpensively replace heat-stained, cracked or dirty knobs on your range.

The kits, marketed at home products stores, are packaged on cards with illustrated installation instructions. Top burner and oven knob kits are color coded--blue for gas and red for electric.

The knobs come in chrome, white or black, with dial overlays to match your old knobs. A good way to brighten up your range and eliminate expensive service calls.

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