Updating Your HVAC Unit

Are Faulty Thermostats Causing Your Home Air Conditioning Woes?

Summer is unmistakably here, and with many parts of the country already experiencing severe heatwaves, now is not the time for your home's air conditioning system to malfunction. At this time of year, any problems that do occur with your system must be fixed as quickly as possible to keep your home comfortably cool, and tackling thermostat problems quickly is especially important. 

How can thermostat problems affect your home air conditioning system?

The thermostat is one of the most important components of any air conditioning system. Thermostats contain temperature sensors that accurately gauge the temperature of the room they are installed in and automatically activate the air conditioning system when temperatures get too high. Many multi-room home air conditioning systems have separate thermostats for every room in the home.

If one or more of the air conditioning thermostats in your home malfunction, the air conditioning system may fail to activate at high temperatures, essentially making the system useless (at least in that room). If you are exceptionally unlucky, thermostats can also malfunction while an AC system is activated; this prevents the system from deactivating and can drive up your home energy bills very quickly.

Thermostat malfunctions can also cause air conditioning systems to 'short-cycle.' Short-cycling occurs when an air conditioning system activates itself then deactivates itself within a very short space of time. This phenomenon massively increases energy usage in your air conditioning system while decreasing its ability to effectively cool your home.

How can you tell if your air conditioning system has a malfunctioning thermostat?

Unfortunately, the aforementioned problems can be caused by other faults in your AC system besides thermostat problems. However, there are methods you can use to more accurately determine if thermostat trouble is the culprit.

If your thermostat is not receiving power and has a blank temperature readout, it is almost certainly malfunctioning. However, many older mechanical thermostats do not have digital readout screens and can be more challenging to diagnose. You can check these thermostats by adjusting their temperature settings down; if the system doesn't activate promptly, you may have a faulty thermostat on your hands.

If your thermostat appears to be functioning normally but you don't feel as cool and comfortable as you expect, use a conventional thermometer to independently gauge the temperatures in your home. If your thermometer displays different temperature readings than those on your thermostat(s), thermostat trouble may be undermining your AC system's efficiency.

How can faulty air conditioning thermostats be repaired?

Many mechanical thermostats suffer problems because of dust accumulating in their dials and internal components, which can interrupt electrical circuits. If you feel confident enough to do so, you can remove the casings from these thermostats to clean out the dust that has accumulated inside. Always make sure to completely disconnect the thermostat's power supply before you attempt this.

However, more modern thermostats are complex electronic components, which can be near-impossible to repair without specialist knowledge and equipment. If your home AC system has one or more faulty thermostats, call in a professional air conditioning service to have your thermostat(s) repaired and, if necessary, replaced.