The thermostat is the nerve center of your HVAC system. It’s responsible for heating your home in the winter and cooling it down in the summer. It’s a small and simple little unit that works hard to maintain the overall comfort in the home.
It does this by monitoring the temperature and when it senses that the room has become too warm or cold, it triggers the heating or cooling system to switch on and regulate the temperature to what is most comfortable based on your initial setting.
Since the thermostat is such an integral part of your system, any major heating or cooling issues can usually be traced back to the little unit tasked with its successful operation.
But, like with any complex electronic gadget, diagnosing the exact causes of the problem could take some trial and error. If you think you may be having some thermostat problems, we’re going to help you troubleshoot those issues and locate the problem before you resort to calling an HVAC service.
Sometimes all you need to do is make some adjustments and check some overlooked basic issues and your thermostat will be working just like new again.
Check the Batteries
This one couldn’t be more obvious or fundamental, yet so many homeowners don’t even think to give the batteries a look before doing anything else.
Dead or dying batteries are usually one of the most common reasons why a thermostat isn’t working properly and putting in a fresh pair may be just what you need to get your HVAC system fully operational once more.
The way to do this is very simple, just remove the baseplate of the thermostat unit and locate the housing for the batteries. Pop them out and put in brand new ones, when that’s done try using the thermostat as you normally would. If everything is responding properly again, congratulations, it’s fixed!
Okay, so the batteries were fine and it’s something else that is preventing your thermostat from working properly. Now is the time to do some real detective work by trying a few readjustments. For starters you need to shut the power to the heating system off.
Take off the thermostat cover and brush away and dust or dirt, paying close attention to the metal sensor strips within. Be careful they are delicate and could get easily damaged.
Check for any signs of corrosion inside the thermostat, this could provide a false reading when the thermostat is trying to operate. Should you come across any corroded parts or components, simply clean them up with a contact cleanser. If you’re having difficulty with the task or the unit is just simply too corroded to clean, it may be time to get a new thermostat.
In order for your thermostat to work correctly, it must be mounted properly on your wall. That means the unit must be perfectly level and so you need to check if it is seated evenly by using a standard torpedo level to ascertain if the unit is off by a few degrees.
If everything is okay there, then you must next check to see if the unit is mounted roughly 5 to 6 feet from the floor. If there isn’t sufficient enough room for air flow to reach the thermostat then it won’t be able to get a clear reading of the room temperature.
When that ability is hindered, the unit will not work correctly. So you must make sure the thermostat isn’t located close to a corner of the room or stuck behind a door or inside of a closet. Units that are too close to windows or doors that open and close often could also be malfunctioning due to their position to these things.
If you suspect the unit is not working because of its placement, move the thermostat immediately and relocate it some place more suitable. Once that is finished, try performing these troubleshooting steps once again. Chances are the unit will work better this time.
Replacing the Thermostat
If you’ve exhausted all of your options and nothing seems to work no matter how hard you try, it could be an indication that your thermostat has finally conked out. Thermostats are like any other major electronic item, they have an expiration date that comes around eventually.
The good news is that new models are being made every day with better technology, faster processors, and more features. Maybe it’s time to buy a new thermostat instead of fixing the old one.