Many homeowners don’t think about this, but when you experience a heater problem, the first place you should look is the thermostat. You may do this naturally anyway, but with today’s programmable and digital thermostats, you might be confused as to what you’re looking for, and you may not understand whether or not your heater really is having trouble, or if it is a thermostat problem.
That’s what we are here for! Read on as we help you decipher what could be going on with your thermostat when your heating system doesn’t seem to be providing enough heat or a high enough temperature.
The Thermostat May Not Be on the Right Setting
First off, did you set your thermostat high enough to begin with? As long as you set it to a temperature of at least 2° higher than that in the room, it should be cycling on. Do wait a few minutes after you adjust temperatures, before assuming that something is broken. After all, some furnaces take awhile to heat up.
Another possibility is that your thermostat is in a mode other than auto heating. Be sure to take a second look to the switch on your thermostat to ensure it is set to heating. Then, make sure the fan setting is switched to “auto.” Many homeowners complain in the wintertime that their furnace is blowing out cool air. This can happen if you have your thermostat set to “on” instead of “auto,” as you’ll essentially just be running the fact and bringing cold outdoor air inside.
You Might Have to Reset a Circuit Breaker
Are you not getting anything on the display screen on your digital thermostat? It’s possible that you need to reset the circuit breaker that goes to the thermostat to make sure that power is getting to the components. If there is a display on the screen, you may want to try resetting the circuit breaker that leads to the furnace. Even a gas furnace needs electricity to run.
Your Thermostat Might Not be Adequately Installed
Thermostat installations or replacements should never be a “DIY” job for homeowners. Our professionals often find that the thermostat isn’t properly wired, or that the wires were switched so even though the thermostat may turn on, it might not properly “talk” to your HVAC systems.
Another problem with DIY thermostat installations sometimes put the component in the wrong spot—such as near a kitchen or somewhere that the afternoon sun hits it. This is going to affect the signal being sent to your heater (and your air conditioner, for that matter) on when to cycle on and off.
What If None of This Is an Issue?
So, what if your heater isn’t working properly, but you’ve checked on all the above for your thermostat, and the thermostat doesn’t seem to be the problem? Well, then you could be looking at a heater problem. It may be an issue with dirty burners, a broken blower fan, and a malfunctioning reversing valve in a heat pump—any number of issues are possible. The best thing you can do for your system and for your home comfort is to give the pros a call for expert service.