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10 Signs Your Thermostat Is Not Working Properly

An Ecobee smart thermostat in a home

Your home’s heating and cooling system relies on the thermostat to tell it when to turn on and off. When you have problems with your thermostat, it can affect how your home heats and cools and whether the furnace or air conditioning runs correctly.

Knowing what signs to look for when things are not running how they should can help you determine if you need a new thermostat or if something is wrong with your air conditioner or furnace.

What Does a Thermostat Do?

A thermostat is connected to the heating and cooling system in your home. It monitors the indoor air temperature and turns on whenever the temperature gets above or below your preset preferences.

When it does, the thermostat electronically sends a signal to the air conditioner or furnace to start the cooling or heating cycle. It then monitors the cycle and sends another signal when the indoor temperature reaches the desired setting for the air conditioning or heating system to shut off.

While a thermostat looks like a basic electronic device, it is very complex. If you were to remove it from the wall, you would see different colored wires connected to specific terminals on the thermostat. Additionally, the thermostat’s wiring configuration is equally essential to ensure your system operates correctly.

Why Is My Thermostat Not Working Properly?

Man adjusting room temperature with electronic thermostat at home

#1. Installation Location

Your thermostat needs to be installed along an interior wall out of direct sunlight and away from potential heat sources. For example, if your thermostat is in a location where it is in direct sunlight, it will think it is hotter. As such, your air conditioning will run longer and more often.

A similar problem can occur when it is installed under an air duct. As the hot or cold air blows out, it will alter the temperature readings and cause your heating and cooling system to short cycle.

#2. HVAC System Won’t Turn Off

Once the desired indoor air temperature is reached, your thermostat should signal the HVAC system to shut off. When the shut off signal is not received by the system, there is something wrong with the thermostat. If it turns on without any issues, then it could be a bad board connection, a loose wire, or a broken wire.

#3. HVAC System Won’t Turn On

Another problem that can occur is when your thermostat is not able to communicate with your HVAC system to tell it to turn on. The issue could be a loose wire, a broken wire, or a faulty temperature sensor.

#4. No Power to the Thermostat

If you have a digital or smart thermostat and it does not have power, your heating and cooling system will not run. You should check your breaker box to see if you have a circuit breaker that needs to be reset. If the breaker blows after resetting it, then there is an electrical problem. So, you should call your HVAC technician for assistance right away.

#5. Will Not Respond to Changes in Temperature Settings

Whenever you turn the thermostat up or down below the current indoor temperature, the HVAC system should respond within 30 to 60 seconds. If it does not, or there is no response at all, your thermostat probably needs to be replaced.

#6. Inaccurate Temperature Readings

As thermostats age, the internal temperature sensor wears out. As a result, your thermostat may think the indoor temperature is from the actual temperature. When your thermostat cannot sense correct temperatures, your home will not be heated or cooled to the desired temperature.

#7. Increases in Your Energy Bills

As HVAC systems age, they lose their efficiency, and your energy bills will increase. The same is true with your thermostat. When it starts to wear out, it becomes less efficient and can cause heating and cooling cycles to run much longer and increase your energy usage.

#8. The HVAC System Short Cycles

Short-cycling is when the system turns on, runs for a short period, and shuts off. As a result, the system can never complete a full cycle, so your home is never able to reach the desired temperature. Short-cycling can be caused by a dirty air filter or problems with your thermostat.

#9. The Thermostat Keeps Resetting Itself

If you have a digital or smart thermostat and notice your program settings are being deleted or reset, the problem could be with the internal backup batteries. First, try replacing the batteries to see if that resolves the issue. If this does not resolve the issue, then you need to get a new thermostat.

#10. The Thermostat Is a Decade Old or Older

Thermostats are designed to last around ten years on average. So, if you notice problems with your thermostat, now is an excellent time to replace it with a new digital or smart thermostat. Upgrading to a newer model helps ensure your HVAC system runs more efficiently and helps reduce your energy usage.

Features to Look For When Replacing Your Thermostat

When replacing your thermostat, you will soon discover a wide range of options and features. Some of the favorite features most homeowners enjoy are:

A happy plumber fixing thermostat

  • Easy-to-Use Controls
  • Wi-Fi Enabled
  • Mobile App for Remote Control
  • Automatic Temperature Adjustments
  • Automatic Reminders
  • Smart “Learning”
  • Automatic Changeover from Heating to Cooling

Get a New Thermostat Installed Today

Have you noticed any of the signs mentioned above? If so, you may need a new thermostat if it needs to be replaced. The best way to find out is to contact Christianson Air Conditioning & Plumbing and have one of our experienced HVAC technicians diagnose your existing thermostat thoroughly.

Should you need a new thermostat, we provide access to the latest digital and smart thermostat models. Call us at 512-246-5400 to schedule thermostat repair and installation services in San Antonio or the Austin Metro area today!

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