Thermostat malfunctions can make you think something is seriously wrong with your HVAC system. Learning some basic thermostat troubleshooting methods may save you the cost of having an HVAC technician make the diagnosis. Here’s how to investigate three common thermostat problems.
HVAC System Suddenly Quits Working
If the thermostat’s display is dark, a lack of power may be the issue. Try replacing the batteries, then check for a blown fuse or tripped breaker in the electrical panel. If the thermostat is still unresponsive, make sure the breaker is shut off and remove the cover. If it looks dirty inside, use canned air or a soft artist brush to clean away accumulated grime that may be affecting its functionality. Then look for issues like loose wiring or terminal screws and tighten them up. If the wiring looks corroded, consider replacing the thermostat.
Thermostat Setting and Room Temperature Don’t Match
Dirty thermostat components can cause this issue, so clean the inside as per the above instructions first. A jarring bump can throw a non-digital thermostat off level and cause setting and temperature discrepancies too. To fix it, place a carpenter’s level just above the device and make adjustments until it’s level again.
If you have a mechanical thermostat, a frozen anticipator is another potential culprit. Locate the arm that’s attached to a round dial and try gently pushing it either direction to get it unstuck. If these fixes don’t work, consider the thermostat’s location. It may need to be moved if it’s exposed to heat sources, direct sunlight or drafts or installed far from the main living areas.
Non-Stop HVAC Operation or Short Cycling
An off-kilter or dirty thermostat can cause this, so troubleshoot those issues first. Another possibility is an improperly calibrated anticipator. You may be able to lengthen the cycle by adjusting the anticipator lever one notch at a time toward the word “longer” on the dial. If this doesn’t work, it may be time to upgrade to a programmable thermostat.
For expert help troubleshooting thermostat problems in your northeast Ohio home, contact the pros at Stack Heating & Cooling.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about thermostats and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Mark Hayes/Shutterstock”