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furance thermostate

There’s nothing quite so alarming as thinking your furnace isn’t working.

Especially in the middle of a cold winter.

But before you call out a repair person, you’ll want to be sure that it’s not just your furnace thermostat that’s the problem.

If that’s the case, you could be looking at a much easier – and certainly less expensive – fix. But how can you tell if your thermostat is faulty? We’ll take a look at a few different situations and how to troubleshoot them.

Does Your Furnace Fail to Turn on or off?

As we said before, when your furnace doesn’t turn on, it can leave you with a bad feeling.

But if you notice that it’s continually running, that’s not good either. It not only puts a lot of strain on your furnace but on your wallet too.

Plus, it’s a sign that something has gone awry in your heating system. But the problem may not be with the furnace.

There are several thermostat-related reasons your furnace may not start or constantly runs.

Fortunately, they don’t all mean that your thermostat is on the fritz either.

1. Your Furnace Thermostat Needs Cleaning

While you’re busy vacuuming floors and dusting surfaces, have you considered how filthy your thermostat might be?

If there is power coming to your thermostat but it is failing to do its job, you might have a dirty thermostat.

Just like with anything else in your house, your thermostat is prone to dirt, dust, and residue. If all of that builds up on the thermostat’s wiring and components, you’re looking at a possible malfunction.

So get in there and give it a cleaning. Just open up the box and wipe it down with a dry cloth.

Once the thermostat is clean, if your furnace is still not kicking on, then it’s time to look at the next issue.

2. Location, Location, Location

Consider which part of your home offers the ideal real estate for your thermostat.

If your thermostat is near a door or a window, then it’s going to “think” that your home is colder than it is. Even if there’s not a definitive draft coming in, it’s still going to be quite a bit cooler in that spot.

On the flip side, if your thermostat is in a spot where your home is warmer – such as a spot that gets sun exposure – it’s going to believe the house is warmer than it is and refrain from turning on the furnace.

So in this case, neither your thermostat nor your furnace needs replacing. But you’ll definitely want to relocate that thermostat. And your best bet is getting someone with the expertise to do it.

3. There Is No Power to Your Thermostat

Checking to ensure that your thermostat is getting juice isn’t quite as simple as seeing if it’s hooked up to an outlet. You can’t just make sure it’s “plugged in.”

If you have a wired thermostat, you could be looking at a tripped breaker. Hopefully, your electrical panel is well labeled so you can easily locate the one that supplies electricity to your thermostat.

You may see that it’s been tripped and you’ll just simply need to flip it back on. If you don’t see anything though, go ahead and switch it on and off anyhow. It might help.

On the other hand, if your thermostat runs on batteries, it’s possible that it’s time to change them. Even if the thermostat is not flashing the “low battery” indicator, some thermostats will begin malfunctioning before that time.

That’s because there’s enough power from the batteries to keep the low battery light off, but not enough power to keep it functioning properly.

If changing the batteries or flipping the breaker switch still leave your thermostat without power, then chances are there’s a bigger problem. It could be that you need a new thermostat.

You’ll want to find a professional to help you with this.

4. Wiring Problem

If you’ve determined that your thermostat is clean, appropriately located, and receiving power, but you’re still not getting any heat, then you might be looking at an issue with your wires.

If the wires in your thermostat are eroded or damaged, that could definitely have a negative impact on its performance. There’s a way you can check them.

1. Head to the electrical panel once again. Switch the appropriate circuit breaker that powers the furnace and air conditioning system to the off position.

2. Gently pry off the thermostat cover with your hands or a screwdriver.

3. Take a look at the wires that attach to mounting screws. Be sure that each wire is firmly attached. If you notice any that are loose, reattach them to the appropriate mounting screw.

4. Check to ensure that the mounting screws themselves are not loose. If they are, tighten them.

5. Return to the electrical panel and flip the breakers back on.

6. Turn up your thermostat 5 degrees and see if the furnace kicks on. If it doesn’t, flip off that breaker once again and return to the thermostat.

7. You’ll notice different color wires. In the case of the furnace, you’ll want to focus on the red and white wires. Unscrew the red wire and the white wire from their respective terminals.

8. Keep an eye on the loosened screws so they don’t fall behind the wall.

9. Wrap the red and white wires together, and turn the breaker back on. If the blower comes on, that means your thermostat has called it quits.

10. Call a professional to help you find a new thermostat and replace it before your house gets too cold!

Stay Warm This Winter!

Don’t let a malfunctioning furnace thermostat leave you in the cold.

Take advantage of the above tips to determine whether you can repair it yourself, or if you need a repair – in which case, we can help.

And even if you do need to replace it, don’t despair. There are all sorts of new models that can help make your house more energy-efficient than ever before.

Plus, it’s still a lot cheaper than getting a new furnace. So contact us today to find out what we can do to get your furnace back up and running.

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