When many people think about an HVAC system, they picture things like ductwork, heat pumps, furnaces, and air filters. The majority of people don’t pay much attention to the thermostat inside of the home. These pieces of equipment, however, are essential. A thermostat is the homeowner’s direct line of communication with their HVAC systems. They ensure adequate temperatures throughout the entire home. When there is a problem with the heating or cooling system, many may overlook the thermostat as a potential issue.
Equipment failure is almost always the cause of heating and cooling issues within the home. While the furnace, heat pump, blower, or other equipment can be the source of system failure, it could be an issue with the thermostat. The biggest issue is that it can be difficult to diagnose thermostat issues, and they can present as a host of other problems. It usually takes the process of elimination to determine thermostat problems. Usually, before a system malfunction, there were some signs that could have indicated a thermostat issue. Let’s take a look at some signs that you may need to replace your thermostat.
Whether it is the heating or cooling system, a major sign that your thermostat is malfunctioning is sporadic system cycling. If your system turns on too frequently and starts and stops often, your thermostat is most likely to blame. When the communication between your thermostat and HVAC equipment is broken or shorted out, your system can respond with random cycling. This could result in uncomfortable temperatures and increased energy usage.
The average utility bill in the U.S. is around $115 per month, and your HVAC system could account for half of your costs. Random cycling could contribute to increased bills. Additionally, it may also lead to wear and tear on your HVAC system. If you notice sporadic heating or cooling cycles, you might get an HVAC technician to examine your thermostat.
Usually, when you adjust the setting on your thermostat, you will notice that the display lights up. A sign that your thermostat might be on its last leg is a malfunctioning display. While this could mean that you need to replace the batteries, it could also be a symptom of a wiring issue or an aging unit. If you notice an unlit display, you should have a service technician determine if a repair or replacement is in order.
Inaccurate Temperature Readings
Your thermostat has an internal thermometer that gauges the temperature of your home. This is how the thermostat knows when to cycle your system based on your desired setting. If the internal thermometer begins to wear out, it can give inaccurate readings of indoor temperatures. As a result, you might have too much or not enough heating or cooling. If you notice that readings are incorrect, it might be time to replace your thermostat. You can verify the temperature inside your home with auxiliary indoor thermometers. A malfunctioning internal thermometer is most likely the cause of faulty thermostat readings.
On average, your HVAC system should last around 20 years. It is possible, however, given that thermostats last around 10 years, it probably won’t last as long as your HVAC. As the thermostat ages, the equipment and wiring inside will begin to wear out. You may notice several of the aforementioned signs, or it could go out all at once. If your thermostat is over 10 years old, you might consider upgrading to a newer model.
If your thermostat shows signs of age or wear, it might be best to get an HVAC technician to install a new one. Upgrading to new equipment could save you money and the hassle of system failure during the summer or winter.