If your home never seems to heat or cool correctly, it’s understandable to want to call Ace Plumbing for HVAC repairs. Before you pick up the phone, however, we’d like you to do something else first: check your thermostat. Sometimes the problem is simple and doesn’t require a service call or major repairs.
First things first: a quick refresher on what your thermostat does. Thermostats measure temperature like a thermometer would, but they also help you control that temperature. You choose a temperature, called a set point, and your furnace or air conditioner cycles on when the temperature goes out of bounds, cycling back off when the desired temperature is reached. Older thermostats used bimetallic strips or mercury capsules to work, but newer models do their job electronically, with a higher degree of accuracy and efficiency.
What might seem like a problem with your HVAC system might be your thermostat. Here’s how to tell.
- Your room temperature is always “off”
- Your system short-cycles or just runs continually
- It’s much colder or warmer than your set point, but the system hasn’t turned on
Time to call us? Maybe not. Follow this checklist first.
Thermostat Troubleshooting Checklist
Check Your Settings
In a home with multiple occupants, it’s not uncommon for someone to change the settings. See where the thermostat is set first.
Check the Batteries
Digital thermostats run on either 12v or 24v power with a battery backup. As the batteries die, the system may act up or simply stop working. Your thermostat will let you know if the batteries are low; change them if necessary.
Make Sure the Thermostat is Clean
Grime and dust can undermine the function of electrical components. Using compressed air, clean all thermostat surfaces and contacts. If there’s anything really stuck on there, clean gently with a soft brush.
Check the Connections
Sometimes things come loose, so check the connections when you’re done cleaning (especially if you’ve used a brush). Tighten anything that’s come loose.
Check Your Switches and Breakers
Your thermostat may not use much power, but your furnace and AC certainly do. Check to make sure a breaker hasn’t tripped, and reset them if needed. While you’re at it, we also suggest checking the emergency shutoff to ensure it hasn’t accidentally been turned off.
You may have made it to this point and still found you’re no closer to a solution. If that happens, call Ace Plumbing. Your furnace or air conditioner can be tuned up or fixed, but a thermostat is usually better off replaced. If your existing model is old, replacing it with a newer smart thermostat often results in enough of an energy savings that it pays itself off quickly. And take advantage of our visit to schedule an HVAC tune-up while you’re at it!