Does Your HVAC Thermostat Need Fixing? Here Are a Few Troubleshooting Tips

Learn how to fix AC thermostat or the common HVAC issues with expert tips from Sandium. Whether it's a smart AC thermostat or traditional, we can help.

Updated on Oct 23, 2023
5 min read
Does Your HVAC Thermostat Need Fixing? Here Are a Few Troubleshooting Tips

You need a functioning HVAC system to deal with California’s temperatures. You should be concerned if anything changes in the way your air conditioner performs. Generally, thermostat is the most common issue in most HVAC systems. But, you don’t always need to call a technician whenever there is a problem. While minor thermostat issues can be the result of serious HVAC issues, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can take to avoid a costly and unnecessary service call.

Room Temperature Different than Thermostat Setting

Generally, inconsistencies between actual room temperature and thermostat temperature are caused because of a buildup of grime. Make sure you safely remove the cover and thoroughly clean the interiors. It is possible that your thermostat is off kilter because of an accidental bump or a poor installation job.

This can usually be corrected by adjusting the thermostat to sitting level by using a carpenter’s level. Stuck heat anticipator can be the reason of temperature discrepancies if the thermostat is a mechanical model. Remove the cover and look for a little metal arm on a circular dial. This is the anticipator. You need to wiggle it in each direction gently to have it come free.

Sometimes, temperature inconsistencies occur because the thermostat is installed in a bad location and is unable to accurately regulate the room temperature. You should consider whether the thermostat is exposed to direct sunlight or cold drafts that may cause the temperature difference. Relocating usually helps in such cases.

Air Conditioner Not Working

Check the thermostat to see if the display is lit. The thermostat may be unable to signal the air conditioner. Check for simple issues, such as dead batteries, blown fuse, or a tripped breaker. If you are absolutely certain the thermostat is receiving power, switch off the thermostat breaker to safely remove the cover and examine the components.

Check for dust, soot, or dirt since these can affect the way a thermostat operates. Clean all components carefully with a soft brush and canned compressed air. Check for other obvious problems, such as loose terminal screws or wiring. You may need to replace the thermostat if you see corrosion on the wiring.

Continuous Running or Short Cycling

Continuous operation or short cycling can be triggered by thermostats that don’t sit level or are dirty inside. This can erode your unit’s energy efficiency. Use the instructions mentioned above to ensure the thermostat is clean and sits level.

Poorly calibrated anticipator can also be a potential problem. You should try lengthening the cooling cycles by moving the arm of the anticipator up a single-notch. This should be towards the “longer” marking on the round dial. Make sure you allow the air conditioner to complete a full cycle before tweaking the anticipator again.

These are the usual issues with thermostat that can be fixed through DIY troubleshooting. However, if these tips don’t fix your problem, you should get an experienced HVAC professional take a look at your system to investigate probable cause of malfunction. It is also recommended that you upgrade to a new programmable thermostat from an old one to prevent future problems in your Northern California home or business.

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