Can Thermostats Really Go Bad? Fast and Easy Ways to Test Yours
It happens every winter. You turn on your furnace and adjust the thermostat to your desired temperature. You expect that wonderful warm air to start circulating around you, but nothing happens. Every single year, our customers call us and explain that their furnace, idle for months, is not working.
Guess what? Sometimes it’s not the furnace that doesn’t work. It’s the thermostat!
Can thermostats really go bad? You bet.
The lifespan of a thermostat is about ten years, so if yours is older than that, it may be the problem.
Don’t worry. You can test your thermostat with these fast and easy tactics:
Check the breaker
Usually, a furnace has its own breaker. That breaker can be tripped, usually because of an electrical surge, lightning strike, an overload, or a short circuit.) If the breaker trips in that in-between season in Florida where you don’t need air conditioning or heating, then you might not even know it’s tripped.
Check the breaker to make sure that it’s on. If so, you’ve done the first diagnostic. If it’s tripped, flip it back on and verify that it stays on. (If it trips again after you’ve reset it, you’ll need to call an electrician because there may be a dangerous fault.)
Check the batteries in your thermostat
We’ve had the problem at home where all of a sudden, the television won’t work. The cursor just won’t move and the tv is stuck. It dawns on us that it’s been a while since we put new batteries in the remote.
That’s a problem with thermostats, too. Often, the only problem is that the batteries in the thermostat are dead. Insert new ones, and you’ve just solved your problem!
Try resetting the temperature by at least 5 degrees in either direction
A thermostat in good working order will respond almost immediately to a demand for a change in temperature. If you raise your temperature demand by five degrees or more, you should hear your furnace kick on immediately.
If it kicks on immediately and stays on, it’s obvious that the thermostat is working because the furnace is responding to the request for increased heat.
If it kicks off after just a few minutes, your furnace is doing what is called “Short-cycling,” meaning that it doesn’t run long enough to reach the desired temperature. This is often the result of a faulty thermostat.
Run a temperature check
One easy thing you can do to check the accuracy of your thermostat is to do a temperature check. See what your thermostat reads. Then use a portable indoor thermometer to compare the temps.
Another good way to do the temperature check is to download one of the many free apps that allow you to check indoor temperatures. Open the app, read the temp, and compare to what your thermostat shows. If there’s a big discrepancy, your thermostat might be giving up.
Thermostats really can go bad
Thermostats, like every other mechanical or electrical part, can go bad. Old age and daily wear and tear shorten the lifespan.
Here’s the good news.
Thermostats have come a long way in the last ten years. Today’s thermostats increase efficiency and lower your costs by letting you turn them on and off so that your home is ready when you arrive, but not heated or cooled the whole time you’re gone, wasting both dollars and energy.
You can now get thermostats that can be controlled with an app from your phone, from anywhere in the world.
Today’s thermostats increase efficiency and lower your costs by letting you turn them on and off so that your home is ready when you arrive, but not heated or cooled the whole time you’re not there.
Here’s more good news.
ServiceOne Air Conditioning and Plumbing is a family-owned, trusted and respected dealer with expertise in all kinds of furnaces and air conditioners. If you think your thermostat is shot, we can come out and verify that. Then we can help you choose the thermostat that best suits your needs, your system, and your budget.
Whether you want to be hot, or cold, or somewhere in between, we’ll make sure to put you in your comfort zone.