Does it shut off before reaching the desired temperature? Does it continuously continuously turn on and off in short cycles? Don’t immediately blame your heater or air conditioner. The true culprit could be your thermostat.
Although small, your thermostat plays a significant role in your home’s comfort and it could be the real issue is one of these three common thermostat problems.
By far, the most common thermostat problem is improper placement. It sounds minor, but where you place your thermostat in your home plays a large role in your comfort level and your system’s efficiency. If a thermostat is placed too close to a vent or in direct sunlight, it will give inaccurate readings or cause your heating and cooling system to work harder than it needs to.
Where to place your thermostat:
Out of direct sunlight – If the thermostat is getting a lot of direct sun, it will register a higher temperature than the rest of your home. That means in the winter during the day your heater won’t turn on, and in the summer your air conditioner will work overtime.
Away from vents – Thermostats that are placed too closely to vents often shut off your comfort system prematurely. For example, a thermostat may turn on your cooling system, but the vent quickly cools the area around the thermostat, causing it to turn off the air conditioner before the rest of the home is cooled.
Near the center of your home – Ideally, your thermostat should be reading the median (average) temperature of your home. This ensures more even heating and cooling throughout your home. Hallways just outside bedrooms are usually good places. Keep it away from kitchens and any appliances that give off heat.
Accumulation of Dirt or Dust
Over time, dust and dirt accumulate on the inside of your thermostat. This can lead to inaccurate temperature readings that cause your cooling and heating system to function incorrectly. To fix this common thermostat problem, remove the housing and use a soft brush to gently clean the moving parts.
Old, Inaccurate Model
It may be that your thermostat problem is simply a result of an older thermostat that could benefit from being replaced. Older mercury-based thermostats are less accurate than today’s digital, electronic thermostats. Modern programmable thermostats regulate your temperature within one or two degrees of accuracy and help you save up to 15% on your energy bills by only running your system when you are home and awake.