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Thermostat not working? Try these quick fixes

Photo of woman bundled up with blankets

It can be a huge inconvenience or even dangerous to find your thermostat not working properly, especially when we experience extreme temperatures. 

The last thing you want to do is pay somebody to find a simple solution. 

Luckily, you can take some easy steps to try and fix the problem before calling in a professional. 

Here are some DIY quick fixes for your thermostat problems.

Check the Batteries

One of the most common reasons a thermostat won’t work is that its batteries are dead. This could be the issue if you’ve recently had your power cut off or if it’s been a while since you’ve changed them. 

Modern thermostats will display a low battery indicator for up to a couple of months before they fail. If your thermostat screen is blank, you should definitely try replacing the batteries.

To replace your thermostat batteries:

    1. Removing the thermostat cover should be easy, but you can look up instructions online for your thermostat model if gently pulling on the faceplate doesn’t do the trick.
    2. Take note of which direction the batteries are facing.
    3. Replace them with the same type of batteries. Make sure you place them correctly according to the diagram inside the cover.

    If replacing the batteries doesn’t help, you can try a few other things before calling a technician. 

    Check the Circuit Breaker and Fuse

    If your thermostat is still not working, it could be due to a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. To check this, go to the circuit breaker box in your home and look for a switch labeled HVAC, thermostat, or furnace that’s been flipped off. If so, reset it and see if that gets things running again.

    It’s also possible that a fuse may have blown – especially during power surges or storms. Check the fuse box to see if any fuses show signs of damage, like discoloration or burnt marks. Replace any old or damaged fuses with the same type and size as indicated on the label inside the fuse box cover.

    Programming Issues

    If you have a digital thermostat, check to ensure all of the settings are correct, specifically the temperature and fan settings. You should also ensure the time and day of the week are accurate and that a schedule hasn’t overridden the temperature that you set.

    Check the Air Filter

    If you notice that your HVAC system isn’t hitting the right temperatures, then it could be due to a dirty air filter. Over time, a dirty filter can cause your system to slow down and not function as efficiently.

    Replacing your air filter is easy. Just follow these instructions.

    Remove Any Extra Sources of Hot or Cold Air

    Your thermostat should never be installed too close to a heating or cooling source, as this can cause it to malfunction. Heat sources like lamps, radiators, and appliances like stoves can generate enough heat to make your thermostat think the room is warmer than it is.

    We’ve actually had customers call us because their air conditioner was overcompensating while they were cooking large meals only a few feet away from the thermostat.

    This will cause your HVAC system to shut off or run more often than necessary.

    If you’ve already installed your thermostat too close to a heat source, you should discuss the possibility of moving it with an experienced HVAC technician.

    Check for Air Leaks

    Air leaks in your home can also affect how your thermostat works. If there are air leaks near your thermostat, it won’t be able to read the temperature accurately and you should notice a distinct difference between the temperature near your thermostat and other areas of your home.

    Inspect windows and doors for gaps or cracks, and ensure all weather stripping is in good condition. You should also check other openings, such as pipes and wires that go through walls or floors. Fixing these leaks can help improve the accuracy of your thermostat.

    Is Your Thermostat Not Working Still?

    These are just a few troubleshooting tips if you’re having trouble with your thermostat not working correctly. If none of these quick fixes work, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to inspect and repair your HVAC system. With their help, you can get your thermostat back up and running in no time!

    If you’re in Pittsburgh or Washington County, PA, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help!