How To Repair or Replace Your Thermostat

Fix the Thermostat, STAT!

If you’ve ever watched one of those doctor shows, you’ve probably heard the phrase “Dr. So-And-So needed in ER–STAT!” STAT means the good doctor is needed immediately. And if your thermostat doesn’t work, you want it fixed immediately.

You learned a little about thermostats and how they work in part one. Here in part two, we’re going to cover how to repair or replace your thermostat when it stops working. If there’s something wrong with your thermostat, it’s usually all-too-easy to notice. Here are several problems that might indicate there’s something wrong with your thermostat, and why:

Problem 1: No heat from the furnace.

In this case, the first thing you want to check is the electrical panel. Check to see if any breakers are off or tripped (or a fuse is burnt out).

If you can’t find any tripped breakers, then you should check your thermostat next. Loose connections, dirty mechanisms, or bad batteries can all interfere with your thermostats’ ability to interface with the furnace.

Loose connections
Remove the cover from your thermostat and make sure all the wires are all connected to their terminals. Carefully inspect each wire for damage or loose connections. Tighten these connections or replace the wires if you need to–after turning off the power to the device, obviously.

Dirty thermostat
If your thermostat is dirty, get a can of compressed air and a soft brush. Turn the thermostat to its lowest setting and clean the bimetallic coil. Then, turn the thermostat to its highest setting and clean the coil again. When you’re finished, set the thermostat to your desired temperature.

Bad battery
The best way to troubleshoot this problem is just to replace the battery.

If none of these solutions works, you probably need either a new thermostat or a new furnace. It might be time to call in a professional.

Problem 2: Heat doesn’t reach the programmed temperature.

A thermostat isn’t going to work properly if it’s crooked. Use a torpedo level and make sure it’s level. Leveling out your thermostat should solve this problem. If it doesn’t, check to make sure all your air vents are unobstructed and functional. As strange as it may sound, you could also check for drafts that may have opened recently. If you’ve tried all this with no luck, give us a call.

Problem 3: The furnace quickly turns on and off.

You probably have a loose connection or a dirty thermostat. You already know how to deal with those two problems (see above). Those issues are the most common sources of this problem. Luckily, they’re also easy to fix.

If cleaning the thermostat or tightening its connections doesn’t fix the problem, consider replacing the thermostat. We recommend switching to a smart digital thermostat. Digital thermostats help keep your home more comfortable and even reduce your heating or cooling bills. According to Energy Star, you can save $50 a year on your energy bills with a smart thermostat.

Often, the easiest and most effective way to solve a thermostat problem is simply replacing the thermostat entirely. Here’s how to start that process:

What should I know about replacing my thermostat?

First thing’s first: you have to decide what kind of thermostat you want.

If you want a conventional, mechanical thermostat you can still buy the famous round thermostat with a dial. Today’s models have bright displays and easy to use interfaces.

The next step up is a programmable thermostat. It doesn’t connect to the internet, so you’ll have to set the temperature and the heating or cooling cycle. Programmable thermostats are cost-effective and let you control when your home is heated or cooled. The downside is they’re not automatic and you can’t control them remotely or with voice activation.

With smart thermostats, you can remotely control your HVAC system. If your plans change suddenly, for example, you could use your phone to change your home’s temperature immediately. Some smart thermostats even have multiple sensors to facilitate more balanced heating or cooling throughout the house. Some can even track your preferences and use that data to optimize your heating and cooling schedule.

Smart thermostats are energy-efficient, reduce your carbon footprint, lower your home’s energy usage, and save money. They’re also more convenient because you can automate your heating and cooling with little to no manual input. The only main problems with smart thermostats is that they’re expensive and they don’t work with every HVAC system.

If you need a new thermostat, you can probably replace it yourself. Unfortunately, however, we can’t give you step-by-step instructions on how to do that. There are simply too many models, options, and variables.

When you’re installing a thermostat, make sure you follow the specific instructions that came with it. If you find those instructions too confusing (we don’t blame you!), consider calling a professional electrician.

Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you always do the following two things. First, properly dispose of your old thermostat. Mercury is toxic and needs to be specially processed when it’s disposed of. Second, turn off the electricity to the thermostat before you work on it. This is important. Working on any electrical equipment while it’s live is how you get shocked.

Good luck! Remember, if you have thermostat questions or need any kind of electrical help EarlyBird is always available. Our experts will make sure everything’s working exactly as it should be.