The Importance of Checking Your Thermostat

The Importance of Checking Your Thermostat

During those hot summer days and those freezing winter nights it is essential to have an A/C and heating system that is working properly. This usually includes having a thermostat that is working properly and is sending the right signals to your cooling and heating system. While fights for control of the thermostat are common among large families, the truth remains that having a faulty thermostat will cause you and your loved ones a lot of discomfort.

If your cooling or heating system stops working all of a sudden, do not jump to conclusions and assume that you will have to shell out thousands of dollars to get it replaced. It may very well be possible that the only malfunctioning piece is your thermostat. If that is the case, the replacement entails a few minutes of work and substantially less money than it would cost to replace your entire cooling and / or heating system.

This is why it’s important to constantly check your thermostat to make sure it is still operating effectively. Plenty of people have gone ahead and replaced their house’s entire a/c unit, for example, when the problem was just that their mechanical thermostat was dusty and needed cleaning.

So how do you check our thermostat? The first step is to check if it is set to the “on” position and on the proper temperature setting (heat vs a/c). If you are trying to raise the temperature of your house, for example, and your thermostat readout says it’s set to a/c then a simple flick of a switch should get everything back in order.

If your thermostat is already on the proper setting but is still not working properly, then you must first identify what type of thermostat you have. If you have an old fashioned mechanical thermostat, it may simply be faulty because it has not been cleaned in a long time. If your thermostat is particularly dirty or covered in dust, take it apart and clean it. Then reconnect everything, making sure to match the cables to their proper colors and set or screw the casing back onto the wall. Check your thermostat again, this may have fixed the problem. If your thermostat still isn’t working, consider seeking professional help.

Most thermostats installed on modern buildings are electronic, which have various advantages over mechanical ones. One of the most important advantages is the ability to read the current temperature as well as the temperature the thermostat is set to. This will make it much easier to see if your thermostat isn’t working, since a large difference between the current and set temperatures usually indicates that something is wrong.

Electronic thermostats are also better at maintaining a particular set temperature since the readings are digital rather than mechanical. Mechanical thermostats have a piece of metal that is heated or cooled in correlation with room temperature and this is what is used to determine temperature, which means that the temperature may vary somewhat albeit slightly. Electronic thermostats on the other hand set to a particular temperature and do not fluctuate from it as a result of any mechanical pieces. Keep in mind however that getting an electronic thermostat replaced may cost substantially more than a mechanical one, for obvious reasons.

Regardless of the type of thermostat you have, checking your thermostat regularly (and cleaning it, if necessary) is an important yet underrated part of regular home seasonal maintenance. Experts recommend you check to see if your thermostat is working properly at least 4 times per year, around the transitions from one season to another when temperature changes are typically most drastic.