Signs To Lookout For If Your Thermostat Is Bad

HVAC systems are created to withstand the elements and provide a comfortable environment for you to enjoy in the home. However, there are many areas in which a heating or cooling system can break down. Sometimes, the problem is not gargantuan, and could be as simple as a bad thermostat. There are several simple steps to insure that your thermostat is working properly, such as: checking what type of thermostat is in use, checking the power source, checking electrical connections, checking cleanliness, and discerning if it is time to update the thermostat.

What type of Thermostat is it?

There are two different types of thermostats: electromechanical and electronic. The first kind is an older type of thermostat that either uses a bimetallic switch, or a bimetallic switch coupled with a mercury tube. The bimetallic switch acts like a light switch, letting your system know if the desired temperature has been met. The double method uses the mercury tubing to flow from side-to-side to let the system know if the desired temperature has been met. The electronic thermostat uses computer circuits and digital data to control the temperature readings, and can be programmed for day-to-day preferences. Knowing the different type of thermostats can help determine how to assess a problem with the thermostat.

Power Source

Heating and cooling units generate a great deal of electricity, and can sometime trip the breaker box that controls the furnace or central heat and air unit. There could be a bad fuse in the breaker box as well. If the thermostat is the electromechanical type, the batteries could be drained, or dead. To check the batteries always turn off the power going to the thermostat. Simply replace new batteries and check to see if thermostat comes back on.

Electrical Connections

The electrical wires in the thermostat can become dirty and corroded. Check to insure that they are clean and that they are connected properly. Remember that the power should be cut off before you check electrical connections. Always check the schematics that came with thermostat to insure proper handling.


If the thermostat is in a high traffic area, it is like to get accrue dirt build-up. Dirt build-up can over time cause the thermostat to not work properly. If the thermostat is beside a bathroom, moisture can contribute to the corrosion of wires inside the thermostat. To clean the inside of a thermostat, again, always remember to disconnect the power before cleaning.


As with all electronics and appliances, they can become outdated. If you decide that the thermostat needs updating, there are several things that need to be considered. The switch over from electromechanical to electronic is a bit different, but can be easier and more accommodating for all types of lifestyles. The electronic thermostat comes with a programmable remote. It can be programmed for different settings. The new electronic thermostat, can also help keep down utility bill costs. They also come with functions that help provide maintenance reminders. Contacting a heating and cooling technician can help ease the process of switching over from electromechanical to electronic.

These are simple steps to take before deciding that the heating and cooling system is kaput. These steps are less costly, and are easy to follow through. The thermostat is a vital importance to the heating and cooling system, and it is equally important to make sure that is working properly. Always remember that is easier to maintain and fix thermostat problems regularly, than paying service technician fees, and replacing entire units. In time, these habits will pay for itself.

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