A warm and cozy home during the chilly months is something we all cherish. 

Thankfully, we don’t get too much super cold weather here in the Ozarks. 

But when those temperatures do drop down into the lower digits, it’s always better to have a heating solution that we can trust to get the job done.

But what happens when it doesn’t? Winter-time comfort issues may be the result of a problem with the furnace itself, but more commonly are the result of thermostat-related causes.

In part one of this two-part series, we’re going to dive into some common thermostat-related issues and explore their possible causes. In the next article, we’ll go over the ways you can solve these problems.

We here at F&S Master Air are quite well-versed in diagnosing thermostat issues. And since we’re located right here in Springfield, MO, we’re also quite well-acquainted with how cold it can get here in the Ozark mountains.

If your thermostat does misbehave this season, this guide will (hopefully) give you a bit more insight into how you can successfully diagnose the problem. 

Let’s dive into it. 

1. Heater Can’t Reach Set Temperature

Have you ever set your thermostat to a comfortable 70°F (21°C) only to find that your heater struggles to get the room anywhere near that warmth? This is a common issue homeowners face. There are a few reasons this might happen:

  • Calibration: Sometimes, the thermostat may not be accurately calibrated. This means it thinks your desired temperature is different from what you actually want.
  • Placement: Thermostat placement plays a significant role. If it’s in a drafty or sunny area, it might sense the wrong temperature.

2. Heater Keeps Running After Reaching Set Temperature

On the flip side, you may have experienced a situation where your heater just won’t quit, even after the room is comfortably warm. This can be both frustrating and costly. Common culprits for this issue include:

  • Thermostat Settings: Incorrect thermostat settings can lead to continuous heating. This may seem obvious, but make sure it’s set to “Auto” instead of “On.”
  • Wiring Issues: Faulty thermostat wiring can cause miscommunication between your thermostat and heater.

3. Thermostat Short Cycles

Short cycling occurs when your heater turns itself off and on more frequently than it should. This not only impacts your comfort but can also wear out your heating system prematurely. Causes of short cycling may include:

  • Thermostat Location: If the thermostat is placed too close to a vent or drafty area, it may sense temperature fluctuations more rapidly than desired.
  • Thermostat Sensitivity: Many thermostats allow you to adjust their sensitivity. A setting that’s too “touchy” might cause it to react to temperature changes too quickly.

4. Uneven Room Temperatures

“It’s way too hot in the living room, but way too cold in the bedroom!” 

Does this sound familiar? Uneven room temperatures can undoubtedly be a source of frustration. To combat this issue, consider:

  • Thermostat Zoning: Explore thermostat zoning solutions that allow you to control different areas of your home independently.

5. Thermostat Displaying Incorrect Temperatures

Lastly, your thermostat might display temperatures that don’t match the “real” temperature in your house. This can definitely affect your comfort level! Various reasons can cause this to occur:

  • Recalibration: Check your thermostat’s user manual for recalibration instructions to ensure it’s reading the temperature correctly.
  • Maintenance: Dust and dirt can affect your thermostat’s accuracy. Regular cleaning can help.

What Would Cause a Home Thermostat to Stop Working?

Several factors can cause a home thermostat to stop working:

  1. Dead Batteries: Many thermostats rely on batteries for power. If the batteries are dead or low, the thermostat may stop functioning. Replacing the batteries is a simple fix.
  1. Electrical Issues: Problems with the electrical supply, such as a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, can disrupt power to the thermostat.
  1. Dirt and Dust: Accumulated dirt and dust on, around, or even behind the thermostat can affect its sensors and cause it to malfunction. Regular cleaning can help resolve this issue.
  1. Wiring Problems: Loose or damaged wiring within the thermostat or the HVAC system can prevent proper communication and lead to a malfunction.
  1. Calibration Issues: Thermostats need to be correctly calibrated to accurately read and control the temperature. If calibration is off, the thermostat may not function as expected.
  1. Age and Wear: Over time, thermostats can wear out or become less reliable. If your thermostat is old, it may be time for a replacement.
  1. Software or Firmware Problems: Smart thermostats, in particular, can experience issues related to software or firmware updates. Resetting or updating the thermostat’s software may resolve these problems.
  1. Compatibility Issues: If you’ve recently upgraded your HVAC system or thermostat, compatibility issues may arise, causing the thermostat to stop working correctly.
  1. Mechanical Failures: Internal components of the thermostat can fail due to wear and tear, leading to malfunctions.

When troubleshooting a thermostat that isn’t functioning the way it should, it’s essential to identify the specific issue and, if necessary, seek professional assistance for repairs or replacement to ensure your home remains comfortable and energy-efficient.

For a premium thermostat upgrade that combines modern features with convenience, consider a new smart thermostat, like the Rheem EcoNet Smart Thermostat

Conclusion

These common thermostat problems can disrupt your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. 

Understanding their potential causes is the first step toward resolving them. 

And of course—if you do experience some kind of issue that’s keeping your home from getting as warm as it’s supposed to this winter, don’t hesitate to let us know. We’d love to come out, take a look, and can definitely get you back up and running in no time. 

Watch for our next article in which we discuss further options for common thermostat issues. In the meantime, consider regular thermostat maintenance and calibration to keep your home cozy throughout the colder months.

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