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I'm currently designing a system to replace my room thermostat. In looking for parts/modules I came across several options for measuring temperature:

  • Fairly accurate temperature
  • Temperature (fair bit less precise) + barometric pressure
  • Temperature (less precise) + relative humidity

Which got me thinking:

  1. Is temperature (electronic measurement) an absolute thing? Or is it influenced by relative humidity? Or barometric pressure for that matter?
  2. How big an influence is relative humidity on the human sense of temperature? My intuition says it can't be ignored. If I am correct, how should I incorporate this into the algorithm that controls the central heating system? (Just enough to put me on my way, I'll work the details out myself if need be.)
  3. How big an influence does relative humidity have on a house's heating curve (relative to the heating system's curve)? Is it negligible, or should I account for it?

Where do I ask these questions?

  • 1 is something for both the physics site (the theoretical side) and the electrical engineering site (how these sensors work, and how other factors affect its accuracy), I think. Am I correct?

  • 2 calls for someone familiar with biology, who also has an understanding of algorithms (maybe mathematics, or IT?). What site can I find someone like this on?

  • 3 is a thermodynamics thing I guess. Is this for the physics site as well?

The answers to these three questions will help me determine what to buy.
Thank you!

  • 1
    It sounds like your first question is "what makes air in a room comfortable?" If you have lingering physics or engineering questions on how to achieve that, get to those later. – djechlin Jul 16 '14 at 0:04
  • That actually seems like an apt summary of my questions, thanks! Though I wouldn't have any idea of where to ask that question either.. – DaJF Jul 16 '14 at 0:19
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I can address this from the perspective of the physics site, to say that question #1 seems like it could be on topic for us but #3 is probably not. Thermal properties of a real house are a matter of civil engineering. If you were to ask about the effect of relative humidity on heating of an object, without getting into too much detail about what that object is, then it would be, um... less unlikely to be on topic at Physics, but I could see that going either way.

Naturally this can depend on how exactly you phrase the questions. In particular, if it comes across as though you're looking for a shopping recommendation or design/construction advice, that's probably going to be off topic.

  • So your suggestion is to split up the questions? Asking about the effect of relative humidity on heating an object (#3) would be the best way to go about this then, as it seems there's no SO site where the civil engineering part would be a fit? (maybe the diy site, but that seems like a long shot) Do you have any advice for #2? – DaJF Jul 15 '14 at 18:37
  • Yeah, definitely split up the questions. The way SE sites work, you should only be asking one question per post anyway. (Also note the clarifying edit I just posted.) I don't know anything more than you do about where #2 would go, sorry. – David Z Jul 15 '14 at 19:39
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  1. Physics as already stated.
  2. Cognitive sciences perhaps?
  3. Home improvement seems a likely choice.
  • #2, cognitive science because of the neuroscience part? – DaJF Jul 16 '14 at 0:16
  • @DaJF Yes, general psychology stuff. – C. Ross Jul 16 '14 at 12:50
  • Intuitively I wouldn't say how a human experiences climate is entirely a psychological thing. – DaJF Jul 16 '14 at 16:00

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