It’s a hot day in Peachtree City, and you’re dying to crank up the A/C. But something’s wrong. The thermostat’s not working. There’s no display, and it won’t respond to any of your commands! Is it broken? Do you need to have it replaced? No. You just forgot to change the battery. Here are some thermostat maintenance tips to keep it from happening again.
When to Replace Your Thermostat Battery
As a general rule of thumb, you should change the battery in your thermostat every year, whether it needs it or not. Batteries are cheap, and it’s better to remove a good one than keep a bad one around until it causes problems. Set a reminder on your calendar, and try to choose a day for it that’s easy for you to remember.
Of course, it’s still possible for your battery to wear out before your scheduled replacement date. Signs your thermostat’s battery are dying include a faded or blank display screen, and problems with your HVAC system heating or cooling as it should. Your thermostat may also have a low battery indicator light, which will tell you that the battery is dying and in need of replacement.
From low tech to high tech, there’s an HVAC thermostat for every homeowner’s need and lifestyle. Maybe you’ve been thinking it might be time for a change. If so, here are some thermostat options that might appeal to you.
Analog thermostats are still available, minus the mercury that once was standard in the old-school models. They’re still inexpensive, but can end up costing you more on your utility bill, as they are not terribly accurate but provide temperatures within a range. Because they are mechanical rather than electronic, these thermostats are sometimes better for homes with an inconsistent power supply, such as those that are solar powered or ones with an inconsistent power supply. Electronic thermostats can get fried when power surges or wavers too much.
These are exactly what the name suggests. They need a battery for the readout, while temperature is controlled by buttons. Not particularly expensive, they are more precise than analog.
Programmable thermostats are challenging to operate, so when upgrading, many homeowners are skipping this technology and moving on to smart thermostats. That said, others are not ready to commit to smart technology running their HVAC systems.
When a programmable thermostat starts to malfunction, it can result in wasted energy, increased heating and cooling costs, and loss of HVAC system efficiency. Here are some of the reasons why your programmable thermostat might lose its scheduling function and what you can do to fix it:
Programmable Thermostat Scheduling
Programmable thermostats’ ability to precisely schedule the operation of your air conditioner, heat pump, or furnace is the main reason they are popular with residential and commercial customers. By using pre-programmed schedules called set points, you can reduce HVAC operation when it’s not needed, such as when you’re out of the house for the day. Other set points can automatically turn on your HVAC system to ensure your indoor areas are comfortable by the time you get back home. In total, this improves HVAC system efficiency and significantly cuts overall energy costs.
Resolving Scheduling Issues
If a programmable thermostat cannot maintain these set point schedules, the benefits of having a programmable model are lost. Some of the main reasons why the scheduling function might not work include:
With changes in the weather on the horizon, it’s time to take a look at your home’s thermostat. Although your thermostat might appear to be in good shape, there are plenty of signs that could indicate the need for a thermostat replacement as soon as possible.
Wild Temperature Swings
Over time, it’s possible for your thermostat to forget how to correctly sense the room’s temperature. The strange behavior often results in temperature swings that make your home feel too cold one minute, and then too hot the next. Here’s a quick way to check your thermostat’s operation:
Cut power to the furnace at the circuit breaker and then set the thermostat’s fan setting to “On” or “Run.” Remove the thermostat from the wall to expose the backing plate and wiring. Locate the red or “R” wire from its corresponding terminal and connect it to the white or “W” wire. Replace the thermostat and switch the power back on.
If the thermostat comes on, then the thermostat is bad and you’ll need a replacement. Don’t forget to put the wires back in their respective places.
Thermostats are usually good about taking the guesswork out of your HVAC system settings. All you have to do is put the temperature where you want it, and you get cool air on demand. There is one thermostat setting that’s a little more confusing. Many homeowners don’t know what to do with it.
The “on” or “auto” setting for your fan is designed to give you a simple option: either run the fan for your HVAC system constantly if you choose “on,” or only run it when needed if you choose “auto.” Most people assume that auto is the best selection. There’s a lot of truth to that assumption, but in some cases, you might be better off leaving the fan on the “on” thermostat setting. Here’s how to decide:
Think about how important air quality is to you.
For homes with allergy sufferers or people with respiratory problems, having high indoor air quality with fewer allergens and pollutants might be a high priority. For others, the air quality in their home may be fine as it is.