How To Troubleshoot A Faulty Thermostat

When your HVAC unit is acting up, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that something has malfunctioned within the unit itself. Before you begin to panic and dial an HVAC Specialist, take a deep breath and inspect your thermostat.

Thermostat Repair, Thermostat Troubleshooting
A Faulty Thermostat Can Lead To A Faulty Unit

Your thermostat acts as a communicator between your HVAC unit and yourself. When your unit is on the fritz, it could be that the communication channel has become cloudy or closed due to a thermostat malfunction.

What Are The Most Common Reasons For Thermostat Failure?

There are two major problems that can occur with your thermostat that would prevent it from doing its job. In order to better serve our clients, we have created a troubleshooting guide that helps explain the problem and how you could potentially fix it to get your HVAC unit up and running.

Thermostat Is Inaccurate About The Temperature In The House.

When your home feels like the Sahara Desert but the thermostat shows that it should feel like a cool day at the beach, then you know for certain that there is a problem with your thermostat. There are a few elements that can help factor in to prevent your thermostat from accurately reading the temperature in the room.

Blocked Sensors

Dirt and debris can block the sensors, which causes them to misread the temperature of the air in the room, as they are reading the temperature of the dirt and debris. The same can be said if your thermostat is tilted, as the sensors are now pressed against the wall and are taking the surface temperature and not testing the room. If the sensor is blocked then a proper reading becomes impossible, making the communication between your unit and the thermostat confused. Don’t panic though, as there are a few tricks you can try to help rekindle a proper communication channel between your HVAC unit and the thermostat.


Your first step is to turn your entire HVAC unit off, to avoid any damages or threat of electrocution. Once the unit is shut off, you need to remove the cover of the thermostat. Most of the covers are designed to simply slide or be pulled off. Though, to be on the safe side, it is always wise to check with your thermostat user’s manual to ensure that you are taking the cover off correctly. This will help you lessen the chance of breaking it.

When the cover is safely removed, you need to clean off the dust and dirt from the sensor and from the inner and exterior of the thermostat. You can accomplish this with a small bristled brush or even a small vacuum. If your thermostat has two metal panels on the inside, make sure to clean these off as well, using a soft cloth. This will not only help you remove all of the debris but it will also prevent you from scratching the panels. While you are cleaning your thermostat, it would be the perfect time to check it for damage or corrosion. Signs of major corrosion within your thermostat shows that it has reached the end of its life-span and it needs to be replaced.

When you have completed cleaning your thermostat, you can put it back together and test out the HVAC unit. If this troubleshoot didn’t solve your problem, this is the sign that your thermostat is reaching the end of its life and needs to be replaced. If you are ever unsure, it is best to check with an HVAC specialist, such as your team at Superior Comfort. We can help you ensure that it really is time for a replacement, keeping you from spending money on a replacement that you do not need. Call us today at 908-596-0153 to get started on your thermostat repair.

Unstable Temperature

If you are noticing that the temperature in your home is having major mood swings, or it seems like your unit is constantly turning off and on, it may indicate that your thermostat needs to be adjusted. In order to fix this problem, you need to turn your unit off and then remove the thermostat cover.


For those who have a mechanical thermostat, you will notice that there is a mercury switch. If your switch is not level to the wall and the ground, then the thermostat cannot accurately read the room’s temperature. This is due to the mercury being off balance before the reading is taken.

Thermostat Troubleshooting, Thermostat Repair
Remember To Wait A Couple Hours To See If Troubleshooting Did The Trick.

The heat anticipator is the small lever that moves along a set scale within your thermostat. It will be recognizable by the term “longer” engraved on the scale. If your heat is turning on and off too frequently, leaving your home feeling like a furnace, then it needs to be calibrated one click closer to the “longer” side. If the temperature is dropping too low, then it needs to be calibrated one click away from the longer side.

You will need to wait at least a couple of hours to allow the thermostat to adjust to the new settings. Once a couple of hours has passed, take a moment to study the temperature of your home. If everything seems to have returned back to normal then you have solved the problem, if not, then it is time to call an expert in. Your reliable team at Superior Comfort is more than able to help you install a new thermostat into your home.

Best Location For The Thermostat

Your thermostat is kind of a diva when it comes where it is located. Though it works hard to communicate with your HVAC unit, it needs to be in a place that fits all of the criteria of its optimal location. In order to get the most accuracy and best performance from your thermostat, you need to have it installed in an area that is open to air flow. It also should be at least five feet from the ground, to avoid the sensors picking up the temperature of the ground. Also, make sure to keep it away from doors and windows, bathrooms, and heaters to avoid drafts and heat. These both can cause your thermostat to get an inaccurate reading.

If you have a mechanical thermostat, it is important to keep it level with the wall. This way, you can ensure that all of its moving parts can work harmoniously with each other. A mechanical thermostat that isn’t level often finds that gravity is working against its parts, making it harder for it to do its job.

Contact Us

Thermostat Repair, Superior Comfort
Trust Us To Help You Repair Your Broken Thermostat.

If you have tried all of the above troubleshooting and it still isn’t working, or feel uncomfortable messing with your thermostat, then call Superior Comfort for help. We are the leading experts in Howell Township, NJ when it comes to anything HVAC. We know the difference between a struggling unit and a faulty thermostat. Don’t allow another moment of your life be affected by an uncomfortable temperature in your home. Call us today at 908-596-0153 to take back control over your home’s temperature.