Do you have a reliable heating and cooling system in your home? You must pair it with an equally reliable thermostat. But what kind of thermostat do you need? It depends on the type of HVAC unit you have. Some people use single-stage systems. Others prefer multi-stage devices. Your contractor will advise you accordingly.
Stage 1 Thermostat Meaning
Single-stage systems use one heating and cooling output level. As such, they use single-stage thermostats. It uses two-thirds of the compressor capacity while stage two uses the full compressor.
But that description of the differences between stage 1 and stage 2 thermostats won’t help you unless you know what single and multi-stage systems do.
Single-stage heating and cooling systems have one heating source and one cooling source, such as a heater and an air conditioner. They don’t have multiple heating and cooling systems like multi-stage devices.
Single-stage thermostats are the most common variety. They are less sophisticated than their multi-stage counterparts because single-stage systems have two primary modes. They are either on and at full capacity or off.
These systems do not offer the same flexibility as two-stage furnaces and HVACs. Because they work at full capacity when switched on, single-stage equipment cannot warm large homes evenly, not immediately. The areas closest to the HVAC will heat up quickly.
The rest of the house will catch up gradually. But based on the temperature of the areas next to the vent, the HVAC could shut down because it thinks the rest of the house has attained the relevant temperature.
Despite common assumptions, some digital single-stage thermostats have sophisticated features. You can program them to switch the HVAC on and off in your absence.
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Thermostat Stage 1 Flashing – Why?
A thermostat’s LEDs will flash if the exterior unit develops a malfunction. Look for signs of dirty condenser coils, leaking freon, loose wiring, lack of lubrication, and the like.
If the flashing is not connected to a unique feature in the stage 1 thermostat, you can look for some obvious causes of flashing in a thermostat. I suggest you check the battery.
This is a great starting point because thermostats require a power source to run. If the battery is low, they will warn you by flashing.
A layperson can probably troubleshoot a thermostat. However, if the issue is isolated to the outside unit, you need a professional to diagnose the problem.
The reasons thermostats flash will also depend on the model.
- This Emerson guide mentions a snowflake icon on their model that will flash when the thermostat enters lockout mode.
- Lux has heating pumps and thermostats with icons that blink and flash when you program them.
How To Fix It?
- Check the battery. If it develops a defect, replace it. Any homeowner with a passion for DIY projects can easily unscrew the thermostat to access the battery. If you have a rechargeable battery, charge it. Don’t attempt to charge a non-rechargeable battery.
- If the outdoor unit malfunctions, shut it off and check the breaker. Don’t disassemble the device unless you know what you’re doing.
- Thermostat also flash on short cycling, a scenario where the HVAC cycles faster than usual. Short cycling can damage the unit. The thermostat will shut the HVAC off while flashing to alert you about the problem. It will restart the system every few minutes until you solve the problem. Potential solutions include performing basic maintenance, changing the filters, fixing the flame sensor, eliminating airflow blockages, etc. You need a professional to perform these tasks.
- Sometimes, the thermostat is simply defective. If you replace it, the flashing may stop.
Stage 2 Thermostat Meaning
Stage 2 systems have multiple heating and cooling levels. It can switch between low, medium, and high stages depending on the ambient conditions.
A two-stage or multi-stage system is flexible.
Such units are energy efficient because they don’t have to run at full capacity every single time, even when your house doesn’t require heating on such a level. Two-sage systems will adjust their output to match your needs.
Naturally, they work with two-stage thermostats. Two-stage systems have wires connected to the W1 and W2 terminals. If you make this observation, you can comfortably conclude that the thermostat is also two-stage. Single-stage units have one wire for heating (W1).
Thermostat Stage 2 Blinking – Why?
The thermostat is more likely to blink for reasons such as a low or defective battery and a poor network signal. The thermostat will also flash to remind you of a program you set or alert you to the fact that it has performed the task you wanted.
Admittedly, two-stage thermostats are more intelligent. They have an additional set of features.
Simply put, blinking is not necessarily a negative sign. If you look at your manual, it will tell you to expect some blinking when you perform certain tasks.
Though, Sansone air conditioning warns homeowners to watch out for thermostats that flash ‘Cool On’ because of your system’s time delay feature. If your home’s temperature matches the programmed temperature, the thermostat will stop generating cool air, flashing ‘Cool On’ in the process
In the absence of an obvious explanation, ask an expert to troubleshoot the system. They can pull the outdoor unit apart to find the problems you missed.
How To Fix It?
- Make sure the thermostat is blinking ‘Cool On.’ You can test the theory by reducing the thermostat’s programmed temperature. The best-case scenario is for the thermostat to respond by eliminating the blinking message and allowing the HVAC to activate. If the blinking persists, you have a problem, probably short cycling. Take your system to an expert that can perform the necessary repairs.
- If the batteries are low or defective, you can change or charge them.
- Check the circuit breaker. If it has tripped, reset it.
- Don’t hesitate to call an HVAC expert if the thermostat is still blinking despite all you’ve done.
Difference Between A 1 Stage and 2 Stage Thermostat
Two-stage HVACs are more expensive, which is why financially constrained homeowners prefer single-stage products.
But two-stage options are better because they are more energy-efficient. Not only are you guaranteed greater comfort because the HVAC adjusts the temperature automatically, but these products will cut your energy bills.
You can recognize single-stage heating and cooling by the fixed valve and single-speed blower motor. The two-stage option features a two-stage valve and variable-speed motor.
If you want to differentiate between single and two-stage units using the thermostat, look at the wires.
Single-stage systems have one heating and cooling wire (W1 and Y1). A two-stage model uses multiple heating and cooling wires (W1 and W2, Y1 and Y2).
Unscrew the thermostat and look at the wires behind it. This is the most significant difference. You could base your interpretation on the functions of the thermostat. Because two-stage HVACs have different cooling and heating levels, their thermostats have a more comprehensive array of functions.
Contractors are more likely to add a smart thermostat to a two-stage unit. But single-stage thermostats have become quite sophisticated over the years. Therefore, the layperson is unlikely to differentiate between one-stage and two-stage thermostats by simply looking at them.
Thermostat Blinking Stage 1 and 2 – Why?
A two-stage HVAC works just like its single-stage counterpart. You can use the thermostat to set the temperature. The heating and cooling system will do the rest.
It will use a percentage of the HVAC’s capacity at the start. If it fails to create your desired temperature in the house, it will initiate the second stage, using the high setting to cool or warm your home.
The system performs this task automatically. But depending on your model, the thermostat may blink to alert you that it has transitioned from one stage to the other.
Pros of Flashing Thermostat Stage 1 and 2
- You want the thermostat to blink when it switches between heating modes. This will enable the homeowner to keep track of their energy consumption.
- You can use the thermostat’s warning to determine why the system’s initial mode couldn’t heat your home adequately. This feature doesn’t have a downside.
- If the thermostat is blinking because of a defective battery or a malfunction in the outside unit, this is a good thing because it allows you to take action before the HVAC suffers lasting harm. This mechanism doesn’t have any downsides either.