Parallel thermostat question (again but different)

Old 01-17-09, 11:22 PM
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Parallel thermostat question (again but different)

The low down:
Bought a house built around 1970. Ranch with finished basement. It originally had exclusively electric ceiling heat (which I never have tried to use). Electric base board heaters were then installed in one room and a wood stove in the basement. This was the original owner. Then the second owner built a one room addition and installed electric baseboard heat. OK so far all electric and wood to cut the electric bills down. He also installed a forced air oil furnace. Since the basement was finished the ductwork is confined mostly to the basement where they could run the duct easily. From the furnace to a storage room, finished game room wall, along the steel beam chase into the laundry room, cut into the upstairs into the master bedroom and the upstairs hallway. The bedroom, hallway, and laundry have no cold air returns. only the storage and the game rooms in the basement have cold air returns.
The Problem:
I try to use the electric heat as little as possible. The meter spins way to quickly for my wallet. Using the oil furnace (thermostat located in the basement game room which is where 3/4 of the ductwork operates) heats the downstairs great and the bedroom and hallway upstairs also. Now when using the woodburner in the basement it heats the whole basement with no problem but the upstairs bedrooms and hallway get chilly even with fans trying to circulate the air. Of course the oil furnace doesn't come on because the thermostat is located in the basement with the wood stove. I then have to turn the thermostat up over 80 degrees for the furnace to heat the bedrooms and hallway. When I let the fire die down in the wood stove I have to set the thermostat back down to normal.
The Question:
Can I add another thermostat in parallel upstairs in the hallway near the bedrooms? This would enable the wood burner to heat the basement and with the aid of a fan the addition. The thermostat in the basement would be set at 68 degrees and not calling for heat and the thermostat upstairs in the hallway would be set at 68 degrees calling for heat as needed. When the fire goes out in the wood stove and the basement cools down the basement thermostat would then call for heat and the thermostat upstairs would be satisfied because 68 degrees downstairs is 70 something in the bedrooms and hallway. The other advantage is when the wood stove is kicking at 80 degrees in the basement the forced air oil furnace will recirculate that warm air through the cold air returns in the basement and require less fuel to be burned to heat the upstairs bedrooms and hallway.
Is this a legitimate use for two thermostats in parallel?
Old 01-18-09, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mspyder
Is this a legitimate use for two thermostats in parallel?
Perhaps someone who has tried this can chime in but I see no reason from a purely theoretical standpoint why this wouldn't work unless there would be a problem with the heat anticipators. In mechanical (bimetallic) t-stats, heat anticipators are in effect electrical resistors inside the thermostat that give off a tiny bit of heat during a call and fool the furnace into shutting off a little early so that the residual heat in the furnace won't increase the room temperature beyond the temperature setting. Paralleling resistance-type anticapators might cause transformer loading problems or otherwise complicate things. Most electronic thermostats use either thermistor devices or integrated logic elements for the anticipation function so if you use electronic thermostats there shouldn't be a problem.

Might be a good idea to use identical thermostats.

Click here for a good article on thermostats.

Last edited by xpogi; 01-18-09 at 08:24 AM.

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