If you’ve been googling your furnace lately, you probably know that the thermostat is a well- known troublemaker with a bad reputation.
But before we start throwing around labels like ‘Bad’ or ‘Unreliable’ at your Thermostat, it’s important to troubleshoot a few things and be absolutely sure your thermostat is in fact the problem-child.
The good news is that if your thermostat proves to be the problem, they are easier and far less expensive to replace than your HVAC systems.
But before you run off and buy a new, shiny, top of the line thermostat, let’s start with a simple 5 STEP THERMOSTAT CHECK
Step #1: While some thermostats are wired, a lot of modern thermostats run on battery power. Naturally, the first step is to check the battery on your thermostat.
Thermostat batteries need to be changed around once a year and if we are being honest, most of us forget often. Check your thermostat screen. Is the low-battery symbol flashing? If yes, easy fix. New batteries, new life!
Step #2: Start raising the thermostat heat settings slowly. Your thermostat should make a clicking sound and the furnace should also make a few sounds of its own.
If the furnace does not make a sound, the thermostat is not sending a signal to the furnace and may need replacing.
Step # 3: Thermostats can accumulate dust and debris over time which can interfere with their proper operation. Open the thermostat and gently blow any dust or debris that may have clogged it. Be very gently when cleaning the internal components of your thermostat so to avoid causing damage.
Step #4: Furnace Troubleshooting | Common Problems & Easy SolutionsStep #4: Check your furnace switch and electrical panel.
Step # 4: Check the furnace switch located near the furnace to see if it has been accidentally turned off. Flip it back on and if that doesn’t work, head to the electrical panel and make sure power is turned on at the breaker box.
To reset your breaker, flip the switch all the way off before flipping it back on again. You should hear a click.
Step#5: Check the date and time settings on your thermostat. Are they set correctly?
Modern technology has made thermostats even more finicky. While you may not know it, the system may be on a timer and explain why its not responding to you they way you expect.
Many homeowners are surprised to learn that incorrect thermostat settings are reeking havoc on their furnace operation. For example, a common question asked by our customers is whether it is normal for a furnace fan to blow air constantly. The straight answer is NO.
If the fan is blowing constantly, then it could mean a thermostat problem, such as:
- The thermostat is set too high
- The incorrect thermostat fan setting has been chosen
- There is an electrical snag or shorted wire in the thermostat
- The fan limit switch may be set to manual override
The bottom line, if your thermostat settings are set to automatic, then the fan should only be blowing when the thermostat is in the midst of a heating cycle.
It is common to blame the thermostat when the furnace doesn’t heat your home to your expectations and raising the thermostat temperature is our ‘go-to’ move when the house is uncomfortably cool.
While sometimes, the difficulty may be a defective thermostat sending the right signals to the furnace system itself, the problem could also be other components ranging from air filter/heat exchanger issues to intermittent pilot ignition issues or breaker or fuse issues or even leaky ductwork.
Before you spend hundreds of dollars on a new thermostat, we recommend you follow the trouble-shooting guidelines above to make sure you know the exact cause of your heating issues.
A trained, well-experienced technician is your best bet to diagnose furnace problems.