Furnace Thermostats: Problems & Solutions

Posted on: November 3, 2020

What's wrong with my furnace thermostat? Thermostat issues are one of the most common culprits of furnace malfunctions. If your furnace isn’t working as well as it should, and you’ve determined that other issues such as a faulty furnace heat exchanger or dirty air filters aren’t to blame, you should inspect and troubleshoot your thermostat.

We understand the importance of indoor comfort. Ensure your heating system stays in good condition, including on nights Riverside and other inland cities are colder during winter months.

What’s wrong with my furnace thermostat?

Thermostats are complex devices designed to control the operation of your furnace.  Learn about thermostat operation and what you can do to effectively resolve issues.

Unfortunately, there are a number of frustrating issues that may make your furnace malfunction or even fail. Here are five common causes of thermostat failure:

1. Dead batteries

Like any other electrical device, your thermostat needs batteries to work. If the batteries are dead, the thermostat won’t monitor the temperature and won’t instruct your furnace to turn on. If you notice a low power warning on your thermostat, try opening up the cover and replacing the batteries. Note that you should try using AA batteries instead of alkaline if you notice inconsistent performance. This is because alkaline batteries tend to drain quickly and cause failures in your heating system.

2. Grime buildup

Your thermostat may struggle to reach the set temperatures because dirt and grime have accumulated inside of it. If this is the case, your thermostat will be unable to accurately gauge the temperatures in your home.

If your thermostat is old, you should try dusting inside its cover and use a bit of paper to remove the grime from the contacts. However, the easiest and safest way to make sure your thermostat is clean and works well is to rely on professional HVAC technicians to inspect and maintain it.

3. Aged thermostat

You are likely to experience more issues with an old thermostat than you would with a modern device. Naturally, thermostats are prone to wear and tear, and there is a greater chance of breakdowns if your thermostat is reaching the end of its lifespan. If that’s the case, consider purchasing a programmable thermostat that will ensure the optimal performance of your heating system.

4. Loose wiring

Improper installation can often result in loose wiring inside of your thermostat, and in turn, weak performance and even severe electrical issues. It is essential that you don’t try to fix wiring problems in your thermostat yourself as this may cause even more damage to your heating system. Instead, contact your go-to technicians to fix or replace your thermostat.

5. Incorrect placement

Proper positioning is crucial for ensuring good thermostat performance. In order to work properly, your thermostat shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight or next to a heat source and should be within 5 feet of any doors. This is important because it can cause your thermostat to read incorrect temperatures inside of your home.

How do I know if my furnace thermostat is broken?

Not sure if your thermostat is causing issues with your furnace? Here are some telltale signs of thermostat problems:

  • Your furnace won’t turn on. When a thermostat works properly, it allows you to turn on your HVAC system and change its settings. If you get no response from your heating system, it may mean that your thermostat is faulty.
  • The thermostat doesn’t acknowledge setting changes. If you attempt to change the temperature settings on your thermostat, it should respond to the changes almost immediately. If it doesn’t respond after you make the changes, you may need to have the thermostat fixed or replaced.
  • Your furnace short cycles. If your furnace turns off before finishing a full heating cycle, this means that it’s short cycling and might result in inconsistent or ineffective heating. If this happens, make sure to have your furnace inspected by professionals.
  • Your thermostat “forgets” programmed settings. If you have a programmable thermostat, it should be able to remember any programmed settings for long periods of time. If your thermostat forgets these settings, you may have to replace it.

While some thermostat issues can be replaced simply by replacing the batteries, it is always a good idea to contact HVAC professionals if you notice unusual behavior with your thermostat or heating system. This way, you’ll minimize the chances of severe breakdowns and keep your unit in good condition throughout the year.

How do you reset a furnace thermostat?

The procedure for resetting a thermostat may vary by model. While you can (and should) refer to your thermostat manufacturer’s resetting instructions, most thermostats can be reset in one of the following ways:

  • Flip the batteries: Installing the batteries backwards for five seconds and reinstalling them can be an effective way to reset your thermostat.
  • Flip the circuit breakers: Turn off the thermostat on the device itself and go to your circuit breaker box and flip the HVAC system breaker. Wait 30 seconds before you flip it back on and check if your thermostat is working properly.
  • Paperclip method: Use a paperclip to press the recessed reset button on your thermostat, if it has one. Hold the clip in for 5 seconds before releasing it.

Get in touch with the leading heating experts in Riverside

How do I know if my furnace thermostat is broken? Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar is a long-standing HVAC company offering reliable installation, repair, and maintenance services to customers across Riverside and the area. We are at your service whether you’re experiencing delayed ignition problems with your furnace or wonder if your heat exchanger can be replaced.

No matter the exact issue with your heating system, you can count on our experienced technicians to address it with precision and efficiency. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us whether you’re located near the Riverside Art Museum or anywhere else in the area. We’ll arrive at your location fully equipped to effectively resolve your heating problems and ensure your comfort. Give us a call!