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Signs of Thermostat Issues

Problems with the heating and cooling system can be among the most frustrating and confounding aspects of home ownership. Not only can they make the house uncomfortable, but tracking down the underlying cause of the issue isn’t always easy. But even some of the most confusing heating and cooling problems can be traced back to something as simple as a faulty thermostat!

The thermostat is like the brain of the entire HVAC system, so if something goes wrong there, it can cause all sorts of issues for the rest of the system. Fortunately, there are a few ways to tell if the home’s thermostat is failing. So read on to discover three common signs of a broken thermostat and what to do about them.

Unusually High Energy Bills

billOne of the most common signs of a broken thermostat is an unexpected increase in energy costs. This can occur when the thermostat is reading the home’s temperature incorrectly and, in turn, causes the system to work harder than it should. In some cases, this may result from a dirty sensor or an incorrectly calibrated thermostat, which can both be resolved fairly easily by a professional. 

But in many cases, especially if the thermostat is older, it may be necessary (or more economical) to replace it altogether. If homeowners find themselves with higher energy bills than normal, they should contact their local HVAC company to determine if the thermostat is the culprit.

Thermostat Shows the Wrong Temperature

readingsA thermostat reading the home’s temperature incorrectly may also display the wrong temperature on the thermostat's face. A faulty thermostat can not only make the home uncomfortable but can also drive up energy costs and put undue strain on the HVAC unit. 

Homeowners can test the accuracy of their home thermostat by placing a simple portable thermometer near the thermostat or taping it to the wall with a cloth or paper towel behind it to prevent direct heat transfer from the wall. Suppose there is more than one degree (Fahrenheit) of difference after letting it sit for about 15 minutes. In that case, the thermostat is likely showing incorrect temperatures, which is another sign it may be time for a replacement.

System Is Short-Cycling

Another possible indicator of a broken thermostat is if the heater or AC “short-cycles.” Short cycling is when the system frequently turns on, runs for a short period, then turns off again, only to turn on again moments later. This means that the unit isn’t completing its full heating or cooling cycle and is being shut off prematurely. 

Short cycling could indicate that the area around the thermostat is reaching the desired temperature before the rest of the house has a chance to do so. This could be caused by a dirty air filter, problems with the ductwork, or an oversized HVAC unit, but it often points to a faulty thermostat. In some cases, the thermostat may have been installed in a poor location and needs to be reinstalled somewhere else with fewer temperature fluctuations.

Short cycling consumes more energy, puts undue stress on the unit, and makes for uneven temperatures throughout the home, so it’s always best to address this problem as soon as possible with the help of a trusted professional.

About Laney’s Inc.

Laney’s Inc. has over 60 years of experience serving the community of Fargo, ND, and the surrounding areas. They provide competitive pricing, honest advice, and free second opinions. Call them today for expert thermostat services in Fargo, ND.