3 Common Problems A Faulty Thermostat Can Cause

Posted on: 14 November 2018

If the furnace represents the heart of your home's heating system, then consider the thermostat as the brains behind the entire operation. Your thermostat not only provides the necessary controls needed to actually run your furnace, but it can also control how and when your furnace provides heat throughout the day -- that is, if you spent the extra money on a programmable thermostat.

A sudden thermostat failure can easily leave your furnace non-operational, leaving your home literally in the cold. Unfortunately, diagnosing thermostat failure can be a challenge simply because the symptoms often are shared with other HVAC issues. The following highlights three common problems that could happen due to a faulty thermostat.

No-Heat Condition

Any of the following thermostat problems can create a no-heat condition, as explained below:

  • Dead batteries - Dead batteries are usually the most common source of no-heat conditions caused by a thermostat. If the digital display is blank, that's usually a sign of a dead battery. Swap the dead batteries for fresh replacements and test the thermostat to ensure it works.
  • Wrong setting - Double-check your thermostat and make sure you didn't set it to "cool" when you actually wanted "heat."
  • Corroded contacts - Corrosion from leaking alkaline batteries can prevent the contacts between the thermostat and battery from working properly. After disposing the batteries, use a paper towel to wipe away loose corrosion and use a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar to thoroughly clean off the contacts.
  • Damaged wiring - Burned, frayed or corroded wiring can also prevent your thermostat from working properly.

Incorrect Temperatures

Ever wonder why your home feels hotter or cooler than it should be? If your home still uses an older thermostat, those temperatures may be inaccurate. Older thermostats require calibration to work properly, otherwise the thermostat's temperature settings can drift colder or warmer than your desired setting. The simple solution is to replace your old thermostat with a brand-new one.

If you have a newer thermostat, then it may be installed in an improper location, such as an exterior wall, or installed too low on the wall to properly read the room temperature. Correcting these issues can help restore your thermostat's -- and your furnace's -- functionality.

Short Cycling

A faulty thermostat can also cause your furnace to start up and shut down in rapid succession. This problem, commonly known as short cycling, can cause serious and potentially expensive damage to your furnace. Most short cycling problems that involve the thermostat are usually caused by faulty wiring and poor thermostat placement. 

For more assistance, get in touch with a company like HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric.