When problems arise with your cooling system, your comfort level can plummet quickly. While there are many possible causes, it is a good idea to start with the thermostat. Sometimes just a simple adjustment can resolve thermostat problems, restore comfort and save energy.

Cooling System Doesn’t Start Up

Your cooling system’s failure to start could be the result of something simple that you can handle, or may be the sign of a major system problem that will require expert services.

  • If the display on the thermostat isn’t lit, the device isn’t receiving power and cannot signal for the air conditioner to cycle on at the right time. Try installing new batteries or look for a blown fuse or tripped breaker in your main electrical panel.
  • Alternatively the thermostat could be affected by an accumulation of dirt, dust, soot, cigarette smoke or cobwebs which can coat the electrical and mechanical components. Shut down the thermostat at the breaker so you can remove the thermostat’s cover to check for any particles that might be interfering with normal function. Any buildup will need to be carefully and thoroughly cleaned. Many systems, intelligent or smart thermostats in particular, might have very delicate or sensitive panels or circuits, so it is best to leave maintenance tasks to the professionals to prevent damage to the system. Your professional HVAC technician will have the right tools to perform delicate work.
  • It is not very likely that parts within the thermostat will come loose, but if that should happen, it could interfere with its ability to function effectively. Your HVAC technician will tighten any component that has come loose, or replace any corroded parts.

Thermostat Setting and Room Temperature Don’t Match

There are times when the temperature of the room may feel different than what the thermostat is reflecting. This can make it very difficult to find the right settings for comfortable indoor temperatures. In addition, this inefficient cycling can result in an increase in your energy bills.

  • Once you are sure the thermostat components are clean, verify that the thermostat is level on the wall by using a carpenter’s level just above or below it. Whether the thermostat is not straight because of poor installation or an accidental bump, or loose screws, a simple adjustment may be enough to correct the temperature inaccuracy. This is generally the case for older thermostats and those that are mercury-based.
  • The thermostat’s location could also be a possible factor. Your thermostat must be placed in an area where it does not receive direct sunlight, is not exposed to a heat source or cold drafts, or dust. These conditions will cause the thermostat to give incorrect readings. For example, if the thermostat is receiving direct sunlight, it will register this as the room temperature and cycle on for cooling. However other parts of the home might already be cool, and would not need any further cooling, resulting in energy being wasted. If your air conditioner is in an area where it is exposed to elements that affect its reading, it is a good idea to consider changing its location so it can accurately regulate the temperature and no longer waste energy.
  • An old thermostat is also likely to function inefficiently. An upgrade will improve comfort and also give you access to a variety of new features with many practical capabilities. Features such as remote access, vacation programming, and energy use tracking, are designed to make the systems more user-friendly and functional.

Frequent On and Off Cycling

Depending on the type of thermostat you own, it could be a matter of the thermostat’s settings. Some thermostats allow for cycle rates to be set for a certain number of cycles per hour. The heat anticipator regulates the cycling of the heater, shutting off the heat at a certain point. This is to prevent the rest of the house from reaching undesirable temperatures before the thermostat is able to reach the set temperature. If the anticipator is not properly calibrated, it could also affect the cycling periods. The anticipator can be ideally set to prevent your house from being too hot or too cold for long periods, and to prevent frequent on and off cycling.

When a thermostat needs to be cleaned or isn’t sitting level, it can malfunction and signal the air conditioner repeatedly as well. Similarly, any loose or worn connection will affect the thermostat’s ability to cycle effectively.

To prevent damage to your thermostat, it is best to contact a professional. Routine maintenance is one effective way to keep your thermostat in good condition.

Contact Air Specialty at (251) 545-3337 if you need to have your thermostat replaced or repaired. We have been providing service to the Mobile, Alabama area since 1993, and have developed the expertise and knowledge to provide solutions you can count on every time.

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