Man-using-smart-thermostat-at-homeAll the hot and cold air you need is yours with one click of a button.

Until it isn’t.

When your thermostat stops working, it’s a little unsettling – especially when the weather outside is creating some extremely uncomfortable temperatures inside.

Before you start to panic, use our tips to figure out if your thermostat is broken and what you can do to fix it.

Your thermostat may be broken if…

1. Nothing Will Turn On

This one is a pretty obvious – and pretty problematic.

If your digital thermostat is giving you a black or blank screen, you need to have someone come in and perform an inspection.

2. The Temperature Won’t Change

Your furnace or air conditioner may be running, but they don’t seem to be listening to your thermostat.

This can be tricky to spot at first, especially if you only make minimal changes to your temperature settings throughout the day.

That’s why we recommend you try the 5°C test.

How to Perform the 5°C Test

It’s exactly what it sounds like.

In the summer, set your thermostat 5°C cooler than the current temperature. In the winter, set your thermostat 5°C higher.

After waiting a few minutes, you should be able to notice a change in the air coming out of your vents.

If the air’s temperature doesn’t change, or your furnace/AC doesn’t even turn on, the next step is to call us. This could be a problem with your thermostat or a problem with your heating or cooling system. Either way, we’ll be able to diagnose the source of the issue.

3. The Setting and the Room Temperature Don’t Match

Does your thermostat seem to be a little off?

It’s incredibly frustrating when your thermostat appears to be working and communicating perfectly, but the temperature just isn’t matching up.

You can check this by getting a room thermometer at your local hardware store. Set it near your thermostat and compare readings.

If you’re getting two different numbers, that’s a problem.

There Could Be a Location Problem

Now, this doesn’t mean your thermostat is broken and you should switch into panic mode. You could have a bit of a mechanical problem, or you could have a location problem.

If your thermostat is located in direct sunlight or in close proximity to anything that affects temperature, it could be reading the temperature of the overall room incorrectly.

For example, a thermostat that is always coated in warm sunlight will think it’s warmer than it is, meaning your furnace won’t kick on. You’ll be wandering around in two pairs of wool socks, wondering why it’s so cold when the thermostat says it’s warm.

If you suspect that your thermostat’s location is causing problems, ask us about your options. We can help you select a spot for your thermostat that will give you the most accurate reading.

What’s Wrong with My Thermostat?

Now that we’ve confirmed your thermostat is broken – what broke it in the first place?

Most importantly – can you fix it?

1. There’s No Power Coming to Your Thermostat

If your thermostat won’t turn on, or won’t communicate with your heating and cooling systems, it may not be getting any juice. This could be caused by a number of problems.

  • The batteries are dying: Thermostats that run on batteries may start malfunctioning before the low-battery warning comes on, leaving you frustrated and confused. That’s why if you are having thermostat problems, putting in a fresh set of batteries should be the first thing you do.
  • There’s a flipped breaker: This relates specifically to wired thermostats, and is something you can check yourself. You just have to head down to your electrical panel and look at your labelled breakers. If nothing seem amiss, trying switching the one labelled ‘thermostat’ on and off anyway.
  • There’s a wiring problem: Eroded, damaged, or faulty wires will definitely have a negative effect on your thermostat’s performance. If you’ve checked everything else (including the switches for your furnace or air conditioner), it’s time to call us. Wiring inspections should be left to experienced professionals.

2. Dust is Affecting the Interior Mechanics

You know how we’re always saying how bad dirt and debris is for your furnace and air conditioner? It’s the same for your thermostat.

Any dust or debris that works its way into a mechanical thermostat will cause performance issues over time.

Make sure your thermostat is turned off, and carefully remove the cover. Use a small brush, dry cloth, or compressed air to wipe/blow away any debris buildup. Remember – this is an electrical appliance, and should never come in contact with water.

3. The Anticipator Needs to Be Adjusted

You won’t find this in newer digital thermostats, but if you’re still kicking it old-school, your thermostat anticipator could be off.

When you remove the cover of your thermostat, you should see a metal tab. This is the anticipator. It’s generally accompanied by labels like ‘longer’ and ‘shorter’ cycle. This lets you manually make adjustments to the length of a furnace or air conditioner cycle.

While this is a short term fix, a system that is short-cycling or never shutting off could be symptomatic of a sizing problem, not a thermostat one. When you book a maintenance appointment, make sure to let us know this has been happening and we’ll be able to investigate further.

4. Your Thermostat Has Reached the End of Its Days

As with all electrical appliances, thermostats don’t last forever. If you’ve had your thermostat for more than 10 years, it may stop working.

When that happens, you’ll have to look for a replacement.

Husky Has Exactly What You Need

If your thermostat is broken beyond repair, we have a wide variety of thermostats that will actually get you excited about using your furnace and air conditioner.

That’s because we carry top-of-the-line programmable models that let you customize your schedule, optimize your zoning, and save more on heating and cooling.

Check Out Our Thermostats