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3 Thermostat Problems That Can Stop Cooling in Its Tracks

Your home’s thermostat is an indispensable tool when it comes to keeping your home comfortable throughout the year. So imagine the frustration that could result if your thermostat suddenly stops working. Unlike other HVAC components, there’s little to no chance of the thermostat going out in a blaze of sparks and smoke. Instead, the vast majority of thermostat problems occur with relatively little fanfare. The following are three of the most common thermostat problems, along with tips on how to solve them.

The HVAC System Won’t Start

If you can’t get your home’s HVAC system to start, begin troubleshooting by checking for power. Simply locate your home’s circuit breaker or fuse panel and check the appropriate circuit breaker or fuse for the HVAC system. A blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker can easily cause a no-start condition for a cooling system.

If the circuit breaker or fuse panel checks out and you still can’t start the HVAC system, check the thermostat’s battery. Most modern thermostats are battery powered and will fail in the event the battery loses charge. Replace the battery according to the thermostat manufacturer’s instructions and test the unit again.

You may also want to check for any loose or corroded wires inside the thermostat, as well as any loose terminal screws. With the power to the HVAC system turned off at the circuit breaker or fuse box, tighten the screws and secure any loose wiring you find. Corroded wiring may need to be taken care of by a qualified technician.

The Room Temperature and Thermostat Setting Doesn’t Match

If the thermostat shows one temperature while the actual room temperature is much warmer, then you may want to check the accuracy of the thermostat itself. First, make sure the inside of the thermostat is free of any dirt and debris. You can either use a soft, clean brush or a can of compressed air to get rid of any dust, spider webs, dirt and other debris you encounter.

Next, grab a bubble level and make sure the thermostat sits perfectly level on the wall on which it’s mounted. An accidental bump or careless installation can leave a thermostat slightly off, making it read inaccurately. Don’t forget to make sure the thermostat is also free of any dirt, dust or debris.

Most importantly, look around and take stock of where the thermostat is currently located. If the thermostat is located in an area where it’s exposed to direct sunlight or a draft emanating from a window or door, you may want to consider relocating the thermostat. Ideally, it should be mounted on an inside wall closest to the main return air vent with no light or heat sources nearby.

The Unit Won’t Shut Off or It Turns On and Off Constantly

If the HVAC system constantly cycles on and off or it refuses to turn off, you may need to adjust the thermostat’s cycle rate. If you have a non-electronic thermostat, you can do so by locating and adjusting the thermostat’s anticipator arm. Keep in mind that the vast majority of modern digital thermostats may not have an adjustable anticipator arm for you to adjust.

Simply move the anticipator arm one notch toward the “longer” position to allow it to run for a longer amount of time during its cycle. If the room temperature doesn’t reach what’s indicated on the thermostat, move the arm one notch away from the “longer” position.

You should give the thermostat the next two to three hours to acclimate to this new adjustment. If you’re still having the same thermostat problems or you have a programmable thermostat without an anticipator adjustment, then you may want to consider having the thermostat replaced by a qualified technician. Before you do so, however, try cleaning the thermostat and making sure it sits level.

The next time your HVAC system has thermostat problems, check out the latest in controls and thermostats from Nicholson Company, or call us today at 828-697-2638.