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Why Is My Thermostat Not Working?

Thermostat Troubleshooting Tips 

Modern HVAC systems give homeowners exceptional control over their comfort, energy expenses, and indoor air quality. The thermostat serves as the brain of the entire system, monitoring and controlling our indoor environment 24/7. At some point, you’re bound to face one of these common thermostat problems; here’s how to make the fix.

Like all technology, traditional and smart thermostats rely on a power source, information input, and maintenance. Those three factors are at the root of most thermostat failures.

These are some of the most common thermostat problems our customers face. Give these quick repairs a shot and contact your local One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning for further assistance.

Why Does My Thermostat Read the Wrong Temperature? 

If your thermostat is reading high or low, or if your thermostat is not reaching the set temperature you’ve set, it’s usually a sensor issue. All thermostats rely on internal sensors to measure the room temperature and humidity. Sensors can fail over time or when exposed to moisture, dirt, or dust.

You can attempt to reset your thermostat to resolve the problem. In most cases, faulty thermostat sensors will require a complete replacement of the entire unit.

More Reasons Why a Sensor Can Fail 

Below we've listed out three things that can compromise the accuracy of your thermostat by damaging the sensor. 

  • Extreme Environment: Too much heat or cold can do damage. 
  • Physical Damage: One too many wrestling matches where your thermostat gets body slammed may render it dysfunctional. 
  • Aging: Older thermostats have a 10 year lifespan. If your unit is from the 2000s or earlier, it's probably time to upgrade. 

Why Does My Thermostat Change By Itself? 

Programmable and smart thermostats offer a range of temperature settings that can be set on a schedule or controlled from anywhere by an app. There are a few explanations for why your thermostat is changing on its own.

You Have Pre-Programmed Settings 

If your thermostat temperature is changing consistently, check to see if you’ve inadvertently set it on a programmed schedule without realizing it. Smart thermostats allow homeowners to set multiple schedules and change between them easily. Your thermostat may have simply switched to a different schedule. Try setting a new program and consider deleting those you no longer need.

You Have an Energy-Saving Feature Enabled 

Some energy companies allow homeowners to join an automated energy-saving program. This gives the utility company control of your thermostat setting during peak energy demand in your area. On especially hot or cold days, this may result in the company automatically nudging your temperature higher or lower. If this is a problem, ask to opt out of the program.

Accidental Adjustments (Someone Else Is the Culprit)

It's pretty common for kids to sneakily make adjustments or for people in the same home to be on a different page about what the temperature should be. Sometimes people don't understand how to operate newer models and may accidentally make a change while they interact with the unit. If you want to prevent other people from making changes, you can set a passcode on your programmable thermostat to keep unwanted changes from happening. 

Your Thermostat Is Broken or Malfunctioning

Lastly, if none of the other reasons are the cause, you may have a bad thermostat. Faulty wiring, deteriorating sensors, or general wear and tear may be preventing your thermostat from operating as it should. If this is your situation, you will likely experience unpredictable changes to settings or a lack of consistent temperature. If you suspect something there's a technical problem going on, consult with an HVAC tech for a professional opinion. They can let you know if replacement is necessary. 

Why Does My Thermostat Say “Wait” or “Delay”? 

Thermostat manufacturers use variations of “wait, “delay” or “pause,” but they mean the same thing. This message is a heads-up that your thermostat is deliberately keeping your HVAC system from turning on. A “wait” or “delay” message can last up to five minutes and is designed to protect your heating or cooling system from turning on too quickly, which is known as short cycling.

The reason why your thermostat wants to protect your system from short cycling is to prevent unnecessary wear and tear over time. On hotter or colder days where there is higher demand on your system, a short break between cycles can also give your system a chance to rest and prevent overheating. Therefore, a wait message can often be a good sign because you want your thermostat to protect your system from the damage caused by short cycling.  

Why Does My Thermostat Say “Recovery”? 

Recovery mode is a factory setting on smart thermostats that are triggered in a few scenarios, including:

Loss of power

Smart thermostats will enter recovery mode after a power outage. This is to help the system gradually return to the desired settings without an abrupt start up that could damage the HVAC system.   

Transitioning from energy-saving mode to normal use

When you are away from home or asleep, most smart thermostats have programming to maintain energy-efficient temperatures. During the transition out of this mode, the system will enter "recovery mode" to change the temperature gradually with minimum strain on the system.

Electrical glitch 

Sometimes, problems with wiring, electrical interruptions, or just a programming glitch will cause the thermostat to reset. As the system reboots, it will enter recovery mode to return to its programming safely. 

Call a professional if your system is stuck in recovery mode 

Like “Wait” or “Delay” messages, a recovery message is a sign that your unit is slowly adjusting to your programmed temperature. In most cases, recovery mode is a signal that your thermostat has lost power. If your unit stays in recovery mode for several minutes, you may need to try resetting it or call an HVAC professional.

Thermostat Troubleshooting Basics 

Not all thermostat issues fit neatly in a box. When in doubt, keep these three things in mind:

  1. Electricity – Always check the power supply. If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them before changing other settings. If a hard-wired thermostat is going haywire, look at your appliances; if they’re flashing or showing the wrong time, a power outage may have also affected your thermostat. Try to reset the unit.
  2. Controls – Check the program settings, app settings, and those with access to the temperature controls to see if it has been adjusted without your knowledge.
  3. Maintenance – Look for signs of dirt, dust, or moisture on the unit that may be causing problems. While infrequent, damage from dirt and water can be a surprising cause of thermostat issues.

When All Else Fails, We Won’t

If the tips above don’t resolve your thermostat troubles, we can. Our trained and friendly technicians can help you diagnose all your HVAC troubles, make the repairs, and show you how to avoid problems in the future. We’re here to help. Call (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today!

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