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Common Thermostat Issues That Cause More Than Discomfort

The modern air conditioners are technologically very superior, but they have not yet developed the power to communicate directly with the user or the homeowner. It is the thermostat that serves this purpose. Therefore, the thermostat is a vital component of every HVAC system. The sad part is that it is so important; it is still neglected quite often.

What Happens If The Thermostat Is Neglected?

It’s a good question – “Why so much uproar around taking care of the thermostat? What will happen if you ignore it?” Any device, if not properly maintained, will fall into disrepair. When a device like thermostat malfunctions, it will stop communicating with the HVAC system. So what will essentially happen is:

  • The HVAC system will not be able to maintain proper temperature.
  • The HVAC system will stop working altogether.

Both these scenarios are not acceptable. The good news is that they are entirely avoidable. Even if you don’t take care of the thermostat, as long as you are taking care to schedule timely maintenance of your heating and cooling system, everything is good. As a part of the maintenance schedule, the thermostat is also given a thorough inspection.

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Common Thermostat Problems

A few common thermostat problems that result from neglect are:

  1. Software Issues – Smart thermostats often suffer from software glitches. These happen because the installed software is not upgraded whenever there are new bug fixes or versions. The other reason is that it may just happen due to an instruction or programming overload. All that needs to be done in this case is a “Reset.” Software malfunctions may seem like a dire problem, but they are often the most simple to address. 
  2. Choosing The Wrong Location – The perfect place for installing the thermostat is in the center of the house, away from any doors and windows that open outside. This way, the ambient temperature sensed by the thermostat will be more accurate. Choosing the wrong location is a grave mistake. The thermostat will sense the temperature wrong and convey the same misinformation to the heating and cooling system. As a result, the indoor temperature will always feel off. Until your thermostat judges the indoor temperature correctly, it cannot tell the HVAC unit when to start cooling and when to stop.
  3. Problem In Wiring – Wires may become loose or get disconnected. There’s nothing alarming about that. Typically a thermostat has four wires:
  • One each for turning the furnace or AC “ON” and “OFF.”
  • One each for switching the blower “ON” and “OFF.”


If one of these wires gets damaged or disconnected, it will break the communication chain between the thermostat and the HVAC system. Figuring out the precise cause for damaged wire is tricky. Only an experienced technician can do its root cause analysis and pinpoint a reason. Therefore, when you suspect such an issue, it is best to leave the problem in capable hands and let them tackle it. Do keep in mind ignoring the issue at hand will only make the HVAC system unresponsive, which is as good as having a unit that does not work.

  1. Calibration Issues – Calibration is the method of configuring a device, tool, or instrument to deliver a result within an acceptable range. Since the thermostat communicates with the HVAC system, its calibration needs to be as accurate as possible. If it varies widely, it means the device is not communicating correctly. It follows that your home or office will not feel comfortable temperature-wise. Therefore, the calibration of the thermostat needs to be checked at least annually. Although if there seems to be a problem, one can do it more often. If the calibration is found to be off, the HVAC technician will recalibrate the thermostat to bring its performance within the acceptable range.
  1. Dirty Thermostat – Dust can get in anywhere. It just needs a small inlet. Once it finds its way inside any device, it deposits on the components. If dust settles on the electrical contacts or the thermostat’s circuit board, it acts as an impediment to the smooth functioning of the device. When grime settles over the sensors, the thermostat fails to gauge the indoor temperature correctly. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the thermostat clean. If it’s spic and span on the outside, very little dirt will find its way inside.
  1. Mercury Imbalance – This is a problem unique to old thermostats. They have a mercury bulb thermometer inside. As your house shifts and settles, or rather its ground does, the mercury thermometer becomes imbalanced. This shift makes for incorrect temperature readings by the thermostat, and, in turn, the HVAC unit is unable to maintain the temperature as you desire.
  1. No Batteries – Usually, the thermostat gives a low battery indication when its batteries are low on juice. But, you will notice it only if you keep an eye on the thermostat from time to time. If you fail to do that, you will come to know of dead batteries only when your heating and cooling system stops working. Changing the thermostat battery is simple. Take off the thermostat’s cover, pop out the drained batteries and replace them with new ones. That’s all it takes.


Before We End

The thermostat installed in your home is not a device to be neglected. How well your HVAC system performs depends mainly on it. Moreover, if used correctly and to its full potential, you can even know your energy consumption and reprogram the thermostat to increase savings. Thankfully, in terms of care, a thermostat demands very little. Once every few months, check its battery status, and when you clean the rest of your house, give the thermostat a good wipe as well. Apart from that, the rest will be handled by the technician during the HVAC maintenance.

Aztil Air Conditioning is a premier HVAC contractor in West Palm Beach, Florida, specializing in all things HVAC. From installations to repairs and maintenance, our team can do it all for any brand and type of HVAC system, residential or commercial. All our services are pocket-friendly, and we don’t ever compromise on quality. So, if you feel your heating and cooling system’s thermostat is not functioning properly, give us a call at +1-888-729-8452, and we shall come post-haste to correct the issue.