September 1, 2016
When your heating or cooling system isn’t working, your home could be freezing cold or stifling hot, and it feels like there’s nothing you can do. Before you decide to replace your HVAC, check your thermostat to determine whether it’s the culprit.
This device controls the central heating and cooling system for your home. Frequent setting changes can cause these devices to wear out, but accumulated dust, wiring problems and other factors may also cause a thermostat problem. Fortunately, faulty thermostats can be repaired or replaced at a fraction of the cost that a new HVAC would entail!
Follow these 10 steps to check if a thermostat problem is causing fluctuations in indoor temperatures:
- Change the Setting – In summer, change the thermostat setting to 5 degrees lower than you normally would, and set it to 5 degrees higher than normal in winter. Wait a few minutes and check whether the air conditioner or furnace kicks on in response.
- Check for Other Problems – Ensure that the main circuit breaker for the AC or furnace is in the “On” position. Also, double-check that the thermostat is set to “Cool” or “Heat” depending on the season. If it uses batteries, replace them.
- Turn Off the Power – If there’s no other reason affecting the performance of the device, then it’s time to troubleshoot it. Start by flipping the circuit breakers for the air conditioning and furnace systems to the “Off” position.
- Pry Off the Cover – Gently remove the thermostat cover, by prying it off the front of the device with your hand. Check if there’s any accumulated dust, especially around the contact switches.
- Clean the Inside –Use a soft brush to clean inside the thermostat, making sure your hands don’t touch any of the surfaces. Slip a piece of paper between contacts, and lightly move it back and forth to dislodge any debris.
- Inspect the Wiring – Make sure that the wires inside the thermostat are firmly attached to their mounting screws. If any of them have come loose, reattach them and use a screwdriver to tighten loose mounting screws as well.
- Repeat Step 1 – Switch on the circuit breakers supplying power to the air conditioner and furnace, and then repeat the first step (lowering/increasing the temperature). If the appropriate device isn’t running, flip the breakers back off.
- Select the Right Wires – If your air conditioner is the device that’s not running, select the green and red wires inside the thermostat. If the problem is with the furnace, select the white and red wires.
- Disconnect the Wires – Firmly grip the wires you’ve selected in the previous step, to prevent them from slipping out behind the wall as you loosen them. Unscrew them from the terminals that connect them to the thermostat.
- Connect Them Together – Wrap the ends of the two wires together (ensure the exposed wiring isn’t touching any others). Flip on the breaker for the AC/furnace, and if the device comes on, your thermostat needs repair.
Your family members and housemates may fight over the ideal thermostat setting, but everyone suffers equally when it stops working. If your HVAC or thermostat is giving you trouble, call the professionals at Service Champions right away!