Thermostat Repair

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You rely on your heating system on cold days to keep your home comfortable. Indeed, in the harsher winter months, you rely on it to keep you healthy. The thermostat, as the controller of your heating system, is just as important; if yours breaks, you're going to want to fix it as soon as possible. Read on to learn about the most common thermostat problems and how to fix them.

Furnace Won't Turn On

There are several thermostat problems that could cause this to happen. First of all, there may simply be a dead battery in the thermostat; these should be replaced regularly. The problem could also be a loose or dirty connection. After turning off power to the thermostat via the circuit breaker, remove the thermostat from the wall and, using a screwdriver, make sure the wires are tightly secured to the terminals on the thermostat. Dirt buildup could be another cause. If there's any dirt buildup, remove it using a can of compressed air.

Room Doesn't Reach Desired Temperature

The most likely cause of this problem is that the thermostat was not installed properly. If the thermostat isn't completely level, it will not work properly. The solution to this problem is simple: remove the thermostat from the wall and reinstall it using a torpedo level to ensure it isn't crooked.

The location of the thermostat could also be an issue. If it's too close to a heat source, it will get false temperature readings and shut your heat off before the room is at the desired temperature. There are two solutions to this problem: remove the offending heat source or relocate the thermostat.

Furnace Turns On and Off Rapidly

This problem is called "short cycling" and is most definitely caused by a loose or dirty connection. Follow the instructions above for tightening wires and cleaning the thermostat. This should fix the problem.

Replacing a Thermostat

If these repairs fail, and you're sure the issue isn't with the furnace itself or the electrical system, you should replace the thermostat. Replacing a thermostat is a simple process. First, shut off power to the thermostat's circuit. Then, take off the cover to expose the sub-base. Unscrew the sub-base and gently pull it away from the wall. Detach the wires from the terminals on the sub-base.

To install the new unit, reattach the wires to the appropriate terminals (they should be color coded). Then, drill screw mounting holes and push plastic wall anchors into the holes (these are to help the screws grip). Finally, screw the sub-base into place, put in the batteries (if necessary), and snap on the cover. Just like that, your thermostat woes should be over!

Adam Mandelbaum  Posted by Adam Mandelbaum on January 7, 2013

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