Is Your Thermostat Broken? Solutions to 3 Common Thermostat Problems

Your thermostat is the brain of your heating and cooling system. It tells your unit when to turn on, for how long and when to shut off. Newer, programmable thermostats go a step further by allowing you to control your comfort system based on the time and day. 
So, when your thermostat isn’t working correctly, it’s obvious. It either won’t turn on at all or shuts off before you feel comfortable. Here are the three most common reasons we’ve found for your thermostat problems.

Bad Positioning

By far, the biggest problem with thermostats is improper placement. It sounds minor, but where you place your thermostat in your home plays a large role in the comfort level of your home and your system’s efficiency. If a thermostat is placed too close to a vent or in direct sunlight, it will give inaccurate readings or cause your heating and cooling system to work harder than it needs to.
Where to place your thermostat:
  • Out of direct sunlight – If the thermostat is getting a lot of direct sun, it will register a higher temperature than the rest of your home. That means during the day your heater won’t turn on in the winter, and your air conditioner will work overtime in the summer.
  • Away from vents – Thermostats that are placed too closely to vents often shut off your comfort system prematurely. For example, a thermostat may turn on your cooling system, but the vent quickly cools the area around the thermostat, causing it to turn off the air conditioner before the rest of the home is cooled.
  • Near the center of your home – Ideally, your thermostat should be reading the median (average) temperature of your home. This ensures more even heating and cooling throughout your home. Hallways just outside bedrooms are usually good places. Keep it away from kitchens and any appliances that give off heat.

Accumulation of Dirt or Dust

Over time, dust and dirt accumulate on the inside of your thermostat. This can lead to inaccurate temperature readings that cause your cooling and heating system to function incorrectly. To fix this common thermostat problem, remove the housing and use a soft brush to gently clean the moving parts.

Old, Inaccurate Model

It may be that your thermostat problem is simply a result of an older thermostat that could benefit from being replaced. Older mercury-based thermostats are less accurate than today’s digital, electronic thermostats. Modern programmable thermostats regulate your temperature within one or two degrees of accuracy and help you save money by only running your system when you are home and awake.
If you are still having problems with your thermostat or heating and cooling system, contact the professionals at O’Connor’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

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