How to wire multiple thermostats


I would like to have two thermostats controlling a single furnace. However I'm not 100% sure how I would need to wire everything to achieve the correct effect.

Assuming a thermostat simply acts like an on/off switch, I think that I could run another set of wires in parallel to the existing ones. I believe the current thermostat simply uses two wires. Would this work? Are there considerations as to the type of furnace or thermostat?

I'd add the second thermostat in the basement and normally keep it at a low temperature unless I'm in the room. As it is now with the thermostat upstairs, it's very difficult to keep a consistent temperature below.

I don't want to move the upstairs thermostat because if I'm not in the basement I don't care how cold it gets and the upstairs would become inconsistent.

Best Answer

I'm going to go ahead and say that YES, you can do as you propose, wiring the two thermostats in parallel.

While, as others have correctly pointed out, this will not let you achieve temperature control in both the upstairs and downstairs simultaneously, I'm going to take you at your word that you simply do not want it to be uncomfortably cold in the basement when occupying the basement, and infer that you don't care what happens upstairs during those times.

In this case, go for it--install the second thermostat.

The upstairs area of the house will in fact be over-heated when you use this basement thermostat, but you may still consider the result to be an improvement over the current situation. Just remember to reset the basement thermostat to cooler temperature before you leave to go back upstairs or you will find yourself having to make the trip back down later.

The "correct" way to solve the problem is to split your system into two zones, which requires installing baffles/valves on your heating ducts/pipes, which would allow independent control of upstairs and downstairs.

If you are using traditional thermostats, then adding a thermostat in parallel will change the heat anticipator function in both of them. This is a function that reduces furnace run times to improve temperature stability. If both are always connected, lower the HA settings in each to fix.