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My thermostat is in the sitting room and I have an open fire, so as soon as the room is nicely warm and cozy, the central heating goes off and the rest of the house is cold. I have heard about WiFi thermostats. Might this be the answer and would it mean taking out the original thermostat? I rent the house.

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You've got a few options:

  • Stop burning fires. Even without throwing off the thermostat, they tend to make the house colder, not warmer, because all the heat is sucked up the flue. The exception to this is a high efficiency wood stove.

  • Turn up the thermostat to compensate. You'll end up constantly adjusting it as the fire dies down.

  • Replace your thermostat with a wireless sensor. This is wired either at the furnace or where your existing thermostat is located, and can be easily undone when you move out. The level of effort is no different than replacing your thermostat (several wires to attach and not accidentally lose in the wall).

  • Move the thermostat. Since your renting, this can be difficult, but the landlord may be willing to do this as gregmac and bcworkz mention below. If all you're doing is moving the thermostat to the other side of the wall, this is an easy change.

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(Ask your landlord to) move the thermostat permanently. If it's a problem for you, it's a problem for anyone else in the future having a fire. – gregmac Dec 18 '12 at 22:53
To expand on gregmac's comment, if moving the thermostat to the other side of the wall at it's current position would improve the situation, this is very easy to do. The hardest part is patching the small holes left from it's current positioning. – bcworkz Dec 18 '12 at 23:09
I'm intrigued by the notion of using a roaring fire to cool my house down in the summer, rather than my expensive air conditioner. – Aric TenEyck Dec 19 '12 at 22:24
@AricTenEyck The fire heats up air the air around it, and especially above it (it also depletes the oxygen in that air, and fills it with combustion products). That hot air—which was in your house—rises out of the chimney. Your house now has a very slight vacuum in it, so outside air comes in to replace it. In the winter, that outside air is very cold—hence it cools your house down. If you tried that in the summer, the outside air would be hot, and would heat your house up. – derobert Dec 20 '12 at 21:34
I don't think moving the thermostat is going to help you. Let's say you do, and the thermostat calls for more heat. And your fire is still roaring. Your sitting room is going to become quite uncomfortable, as the heat from the fire is supplemented by that of your furnace. Sure the rest of the house will warm up nicely, but you'll be sweating by the fire. – Mike Dec 21 '12 at 1:17

WiFi thermostats allow you to control them remotely (they connect to your LAN via WiFi); they are not wirelessly connected to the furnace.

Another option is upgrading to a thermostat that supports multiple temperature probes. You would leave the thermostat where it is but add a remote probe in another location. The thermostat will take an average which should improve the situation. This might be a bit easier to install since you only have to run a wire for the new probe versus running a new wire all the way back to your furnace.

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Right - you don't so much need a wifi thermostat as you need a thermostat with a remote temperature sensor. You set the temperature and wire to your furnace at the existing thermostat location, but the thermostat reads whatever temperature is at the sensor's location, not the thermostat's location. You can have a thermostat with a wireless sensor that isn't wifi-enabled. – Shimon Rura Dec 21 '12 at 16:04

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