Go Back

5 Ways to Tell if Your Home’s Thermostat is Malfunctioning

If you’ve been feeling a bit like Goldilocks and are either too hot or too cold in your Albuquerque home, your thermostat may be to blame. The thermostat reads the temperature in your home and tells your furnace or air conditioning to respond accordingly. If it malfunctions, things can get uncomfortable in a hurry.

Here are five things you can check on your own to determine whether or not you need a thermostat repair or just have a minor problem you can tackle yourself.

 Albuquerque, NM thermostat-repair-2Check the Power

If you have a digital or programmable thermostat, the problem may simply be a lack of power at the unit. Pop the cover off and try changing the unit’s batteries. Make sure, too, that you are using AA lithium batteries and not alkaline. Alkaline batteries will run out of power extremely quickly in a programmable thermostat.

Some thermostats also contain a small fuse that may have blown. If that is not the case and you have power at the thermostat, grab a flashlight and head to your breaker box. It is possible that a circuit breaker was tripped, preventing the furnace or air conditioner from receiving the signal sent by the thermostat. If your thermostat is hard wired into the wall and you feel comfortable doing so, use a voltage meter to make sure it is receiving power. If it’s not, it’s time to call the repairman.

Make Sure the Thermostat is Level

Some older thermostats use a mechanical system involving a mercury bulb to trip a switch and turn the furnace off and on. These devices won’t work if the thermostat isn’t level. If your thermostat is loose, hanging off the wall, or was shifted and bumped, it may fail to respond to temperature changes. In most instances, a thermostat that looks level will be close enough, but some more sensitive units require more than an eyeballing. You’ll need a level to make sure more finicky units are truly straight.

Location, Location, Location

Location is as important in thermostat installation as it is in real estate. Thermostats located on or near windows, doors, exterior walls and other drafty locations will register a temperature that may only represent one part of the home. A newly installed thermostat may have been placed in a bad location while an older thermostat may be situated next to a window or door that is becoming increasingly drafty with age. Either way, a thermostat repair call may be in order so that a professional can assess and move the thermostat.

Remember to look at the location of the furniture as well as that of the thermostat itself. Your thermostat may be perfectly placed but have a lamp, television or another heat source underneath it as a result of some decorating decisions. In this case, a quick furniture rearrange is an easy and inexpensive fix.

 Albuquerque, NM thermostat-repairAre you insulated?

If your thermostat seems to be kicking on too quickly, a lack of insulation may be to blame. Ideally, your thermostat was installed on your wall using the smallest hole necessary to run any wires to the unit and mount it.

If all went well, the hole that was left behind and any wires were safely wrapped in insulation to prevent drafts or bursts of warm air from affecting your thermostat’s accuracy from behind. Unfortunately, not every thermostat has historically been installed this way.

To check yours, pop the thermostat off its mounting plate and then unscrew the mounting plate from the wall. If you see plenty of insulation your thermostat likely needs to be repaired. If all you see is a gaping hole, however, you can try fixing the problem yourself by adding some insulation.

Consider adding a small drywall or plaster patch over part of the opening to make it smaller, as well, if you have the skill set required to do so.

Cleaning Up

There are some places in your Albuquerque home that quietly collect dust and dirt that nobody thinks much about. The amount of dust hiding under the couch, for instance, probably doesn’t concern most people until it’s time to retrieve a lost cat toy. The same is true of thermostats. Though people don’t often look inside of them, they do gather dirt and dust particles over time. This dirt can be enough to prevent metal contacts from connecting meeting in older thermostats. If your thermostat is giving you trouble, simply remove the cover and sweep out the dust with a soft-bristled brush. This may be enough to get things functioning properly again.

Whatever the problem with your heating or cooling system, the easiest way to confirm that there is a problem is to change the setting on the thermostat by five degrees. This should be enough of a difference to trigger the heat or air conditioning, depending upon the season. If this change fails to trigger a response, use the tips above to try correcting the problem.

If they fail to resolve your issue in Albuquerque, NM, it’s time to call Daniels Heating and Air, LLC at (505) 898-8860 for a professional assessment of your situation.