Any time your air conditioner or furnace doesn’t deliver the desired temperature, it could mean your home has a broken thermostat. A broken thermostat is more than an annoyance – it could quickly cause your house to get uncomfortably hot or cold, and it often leads to substantial energy waste as well.
However, similar problems can occur if the AC unit or furnace has an issue or if the ductwork in your house is leaking. That’s why we recommend some simple DIY steps to determine for yourself whether the thermostat is broken – and possibly fix it in minutes.
How Do You Know If a Thermostat Is Broken?
The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home is controlled by your thermostat. If your thermostat isn’t working, your furnace, whole-house fan, and AC unit are probably not functioning correctly, either.
The most common signs of a broken thermostat are:
- The thermostat display is off or is non-responsive when you try to adjust it.
- The display on the digital screen is faded or incomplete.
- The furnace or air conditioner does not respond when you adjust your thermostat.
- The heat or AC stays on without stopping once the desired temperature is reached. This could be a problem in the wiring or faulty thermostat calibration.
- The heat or AC cuts out before your home reaches the set temperature.
- There are temperature differences from one room to the next.
How to Troubleshoot Your Thermostat
For most of these steps, we’re going to assume you have a digital thermostat. However, we’ll also cover tips for the older thermostats below if you haven’t made the switch from analog to digital.
Here are steps you can take yourself to try and fix a broken thermostat before calling the pros at Ambient Edge:
Check the Power Circuit
Are your HVAC system components receiving power? Check your circuit breakers and make sure they have not been tripped. If so, switch them back on and see if your thermostat functions properly again.
Try Replacing the Batteries
Many digital thermostats are powered by AA or AAA batteries. If the thermostat batteries are worn out, they will need to be replaced with a fresh set. This simple step alone resolves many thermostat issues.
Clean Your Thermostat
Dust, nicotine buildup, and other dirt inside can all affect your thermostat’s performance. Some thermostats open easily so that you can clean the inside. Others will require that you unscrew the faceplate.
To clean your thermostat, brush the inside gently with a dry, clean paintbrush or similar soft tool. Compressed air also works if you follow all safety instructions on the can. Always cut power to the thermostat’s circuit and remove batteries before doing this.
Troubleshooting an Analog Thermostat
If your older electromechanical thermostat (usually controlled by a dial) is not working, there are extra steps you might take to find out why. When you open it up, you’ll see a metal strip, often in the shape of a circle or coil. Try lightly pushing it in either direction to see if that solves things.
You may also need to follow additional instructions in your user’s manual, specifically for setting it to the proper amperage setting. This may not sound easy, but it only takes a few minutes.
Can I Replace My Thermostat Myself?
If your thermostat is irreparably broken, or you just want to upgrade to a smart thermostat with updated technology, it is time to get a new one. Homeowners with some electrical knowledge and an understanding of how thermostats work might be able to save some money on installation costs by putting it in themselves.
However, there are several reasons why it may be better to leave thermostat installation to the professionals.
- Potential for expensive errors: If your thermostat is installed incorrectly, it may not work reliably. It could cost you more, in the long run, to have a technician come out to repair and reinstall the thermostat than the initial installation would have required.
- Wiring safety: Newer, high-tech thermostats often have complex wiring setups. If you don’t have at least a passing knowledge of wiring and electricity, you could injure yourself or damage the thermostat.
- Warranty requirements: Your new thermostat may come with a warranty that requires installation by a certified HVAC technician like those at Ambient Edge. In this case, you will void your warranty if you try to install it yourself.
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Is Your Thermostat Not Working? Ambient Edge Can Help!
If your thermostat still seems broken, there’s a good chance it’s a bigger problem than you initially thought. It could be a wiring issue or a problem with the furnace or AC itself. Let Ambient Edge help you.
We can get a professional to you quickly, give you a flat rate estimate on the spot, and get your home heating and cooling working swiftly and smoothly. Our work is 100% satisfaction guaranteed. So, give us a call or contact us using our online form and talk to a pro today.