It can be really annoying if the heater is not working in your home. There can be multiple reasons for this but the thermostat is a common one. Let’s take a look at some things that you can do to fix this and get a comfortable home again!
How Can You Tell If a Thermostat Is Broken?
Many factors can cause your home to become excessively hot or cold. Still, there are clear indications that the issue at hand is caused by a broken thermostat.
Thermostat Is Unresponsive
One clear sign that the thermostat is malfunctioning is if it doesn’t respond when you try to change it. When you make changes to your thermostat, it should make a small clicking noise, and the HVAC system responds immediately.
If no clicking sounds or temperature changes occur, the batteries may be flat. It can also be a wire connection issue in the thermostat.
HVAC System Short Cycles
Short cycling occurs when an HVAC system cycles on and off too frequently, failing to complete a heating or cooling cycle. The inability to heat or cool normally strains the system and creates an uncomfortable indoor environment.
A broken thermostat can cause frequent short cycling.
HVAC System Runs Constantly
An HVAC system should turn off when the desired temperature is reached. If your heating or cooling system is constantly running, it could be due to a faulty thermostat calibration or a wiring issue.
Room Temperature Fluctuations
If your home isn’t zoned and you notice temperature differences from room to room, the thermostat may be malfunctioning.
What Does Hold Mean on a Thermostat
Any time you have problems with your home’s heating or cooling systems, you should first check the thermostat before looking for other possible causes.
A thermostat directs how the HVAC system operates. If it fails, your home may become uncomfortably hot or cold. A faulty thermostat can also result in significant energy loss.
Before you call a technician, you should inspect the thermostat for any problems. With the right guide, you have a good chance of troubleshooting the issue on your own.
In this post, we’ll go over signs that your thermostat is broken and how to troubleshoot a malfunctioning thermostat.
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at what the hold setting on a thermostat is and how it can affect how the thermostat functions.
What Is the Hold Button on a Thermostat?
A thermostat’s hold button is a feature that allows you to set a temperature that is different from the standard settings. It essentially allows you to override pre-set temperatures permanently or temporarily.
There are two types of hold settings on most thermostats: permanent hold and temporary hold. The permanent hold option keeps the temperature settings you set until you change them manually.
On the other hand, the temporary hold option, sometimes labeled “Hold Until,” keeps the temperature settings for a predetermined amount of time. The thermostat resumes its regular temperature settings thereafter.
Before you begin any inspections or troubleshooting, you should make sure that the thermostat isn’t set to either hold settings.
When you choose either hold options, it locks the temperature in place. Trying to adjust the thermostat while on hold may cause some confusion unless you undo the settings.
If that’s the case, all you need to do is press the “run” button to resume the previously programmed temperature setting.
How to Test a Thermostat
There are a few steps you can take to test a broken thermostat before deciding whether or not to call a technician.
Check Circuit Breakers
The first step that you should make is to check the circuit breakers. If the thermostat isn’t working, it could be that it’s not receiving power.
Check the HVAC breakers and the main circuit breaker to make sure they haven’t tripped. Look for a handle that isn’t aligned with the others and push it to reset the breakers.
Test the thermostat and HVAC system to see if they’re working properly again.
Replace Thermostat Batteries
Most digital thermostats are powered by batteries. If the screen is faded, blank, or unresponsive, replacing the batteries with new ones may fix the problem. Flat batteries can also lead to other problems with the heating or cooling system.
Thermostat batteries typically last eight to twelve months, so you should replace the batteries in your thermostat once a year.
Dust, dirt, and small debris can accumulate inside a thermostat. Over time, they start to impair the device’s performance.
To clean a thermostat, turn off the power circuit and remove the batteries. Remove the thermostat cover and gently brush the inside with a small, dry brush.
Change Thermostat Location
The location of your thermostat can have an impact on how well it works. Placing a thermostat in direct sunlight or near a draft, for example, will cause inaccurate temperature readings.
You can place a thermostat on an interior wall or near the center of your home, where the device can measure the average temperature.
Check Thermostat Wire Connections
While it’s unlikely, a thermostat’s wire connections may become loose. Remove the thermostat cover and gently tug on the wires to ensure they’re all securely connected.
Troubleshoot Analog Thermostat
If you have an analog thermostat, you should examine its components. When you open it, you should see a metal strip in the shape of a circle or a coil. Lightly push the strip in any direction to see if the thermostat works.
You can also try setting the thermostat to the correct amperage setting, which can be found in the user’s manual.
In the end, if all else fails, you should have a certified HVAC technician inspect the thermostat and the HVAC system in your home.
If it comes down to it, you should know that thermostats are readily accessible and relatively affordable to replace.
Knowing how to tell if a thermostat is broken and how to test it for issues can help you figure out as well as resolve any related issues quickly without having to call someone in.
Most often, thermostats malfunction due to flat batteries or a tripped circuit breaker. Some wire connections may become loose, but it’s nothing a screwdriver can’t fix.
That said, if your thermostat still appears to be broken after you’ve tried everything, there’s a good chance it’s a bigger problem than you first suspected. In this case, you should consult with a professional to determine what the problem is and how to resolve it.