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Heating problems caused by a faulty thermostat

Proper heating during the cold, winter months is not a luxury — it’s a necessity, which is exactly why experiencing problems with an HVAC system during these months becomes a much more serious issue. Usually, homeowners will check the furnace itself for issues, but the source may be in little box running the show in the center of the home — the thermostat. Acting as the heating and cooling “brain” for an HVAC system, issues with a thermostat can quickly create larger issues with the temperature throughout a home. Typically, this is most often seen in older thermostats, but even if the thermostat still seems relatively new, these are some common issues to be on the look-out for should the heat in your home start to waver without reason.

older thermostate on a wall with floral wallpaper

Wrong Temperature Readings

Depending on where the thermostat is placed, the internal thermometer may be producing an incorrect temperature reading. For instance, if the thermostat is placed in an area where it will be in direct sunlight for much of the day, this could cause the thermometer to have a warmer read-out than what is actually present in the home. Additionally, if the thermostat is too close to open windows or doors, a heavy breeze could be causing the internal thermometer to read cooler than necessary. Wrong readings will cause heating and cooling systems to trigger at incorrect times, throwing off the temperature of the entire home.

As such, it’s best to relocate a thermostat as close to the center of the home as possible, near the central return.

Wiring Woes and Thermostat Compatibility

As the thermostat gets older, it’s likely that the wiring within is breaking down. This will cause loose and faulty connections, leading to power issues between the thermostat and furnace. This can either cause the furnace or AC to run to little, or even too much, creating undue strain on the system’s fans and motors, leading to a malfunction.

These same issues could be caused by using a thermostat that is not correctly suited for the HVAC system it is trying to regulate, such as a thermostat having too low of a voltage to work properly with the HVAC system. The thermostat must be matched in type, connection, and power to ensure that it can properly run the system as necessary, without interruption. If you’re unsure about which thermostat is correct for you, or how to go about replacing the wiring within the thermostat, consult with a knowledgeable HVAC professional.

Dirt and Dust Build-up

It’s possible that the only issue with a home’s thermostat is that it hasn’t been cleaned recently enough. It’s the oldest issue in the book, but allowing dirt and dust to accumulate can cause issues between connections within the thermostat, causing the same inaccurate temperature readings and wiring issues as evidenced above. Of the potential issues, this is the easiest to fix, by simply dusting the outside of the thermostat, as well as removing the plastic outer housing and dusting the inside of the thermostat as well. Keeping it clean should keep a thermostat running better than before.

A thermostat doesn’t seem like a particularly tricky piece of technology, but it shoulders a large responsibility, maintain a comfortable temperature throughout a home. If you start noticing that the heating or cooling is suddenly off-kilter, and you’re unsure of exactly what to look for within the thermostat to diagnose the problem, consider reaching out to a licensed, professional HVAC technician, such as those at Duane Blanton Family Home Services. Our experts can help you find the exact issue and ensure the fastest fix to keep your home temperate and comfortable during any season. Available online or over the phone, reach out to the professional technicians of Duane Blanton at (815) 781-2567, or through their convenient, online scheduling portal!


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