Troubleshooting a Furnace Thermostat
As winter approaches, it’s important to make sure that your furnace is in its best condition. The last thing you want in the dead of night is for your furnace to go out. However, many times what appears to be a heating and cooling issue is actually a thermostat issue. Sometimes, faulty or aging wiring, dust accumulation, extreme temperature changes, and other issues can cause your thermostat to malfunction, rendering it unable to properly communicate with your heating equipment and regulate the temperature of your home. Many electronic thermostats claim to be simple and user-friendly, but anyone who has gone toe-to-toe with their thermostat and lost would probably disagree. The truth is, sometimes they aren’t simple! Is it freezing in your house, and you’re sure it shouldn’t be? Let’s check out the thermostat.
Common Issues with Digital Thermostats
Are the batteries in your thermostat working?
Let’s get the simplest fix out of the way first -- do you have bad batteries in your thermostat? Sometimes, cheaper batteries do not hold their charge and are likely to die on you. If your thermostat is not working or appears broken, try the batteries first. Replacing them with name-brand batteries may increase its lifetime use and reduce time spent in front of the thermostat, wondering why the temperature is not correct. Additionally, check the power switch. It can be easy to press an on/off button on a digital thermostat, especially when the buttons are not labeled. If you’ve changed the batteries and ensured that the thermostat is on, it could be the electrical wiring.
Does the type of thermostat match your furnace?
Thermostats and furnaces should complement each other. They need to be properly matched for their type, capability, and capacities. If your thermostat or furnace is too high-tech or low-tech for its partner, it can induce miscommunication between the two systems. This miscommunication results in heating and cooling systems that don’t work properly. To be sure of a proper thermostat/furnace match, contact an HVAC professional and have them inspect and repair your furnace.
Take a look beneath the hood
Excess dirt and dust on the thermostat can negatively impact its function. Set the thermostat to it’s lowest function, and then remove the cover. Gently clean the inner workings of the thermostat with a soft brush or compressed air--a soft-bristled tooth-brush or canned air can be found at most supermarkets and works well for this purpose. Next, set the thermostat to its highest function, and clean it again. When you’re finished, reset the thermostat to your preferred temperature.
Inaccurate temperature readings
If your furnace is not kicking on it when it should, an inaccurate temperature reading to your thermostat may be to blame. Heat from direct sunlight or other sources can trick your thermostat into thinking it is much warmer in your home than it is. Ensure that your thermostat is installed away from windows and doors leading to the outside and that there is not a draft near your thermostat.
Thermostats can be tricky to handle. Following these troubleshooting steps may avoid a call to an HVAC professional, but one of the best tips for managing your home’s health and comfortability is to know when to give up. A qualified HVAC professional can inspect your system and return your home to its proper comfortability in no time, with less headache for you.
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