woman adjusting temperature on thermostat

What Causes Your Thermostat to Read Incorrectly?

November 12, 2018

Every Raleigh homeowner wants their home comfort system to be as energy efficient as possible, which is what makes it so frustrating when your thermostat is giving incorrect readings. When it displays an inaccurate reading, it’s nearly impossible to effectively control the temperature in your home, meaning you’ll likely be wasting a lot of energy trying to keep your house at your preferred comfort level. Here are a few reasons that your thermostat might be showing the wrong temperature, along with solutions for each of these frustrating problems.

Issues to Check Before You Worry

When your thermostat isn’t working correctly, it can be a very worrisome situation, particularly if the malfunction is causing you to waste energy. Most problems, however, can be easily fixed and boil down to a few simple issues. So before you panic, here are some basic things that you can check:

  • Check your HVAC system’s air filter. If a filter is clogged, especially one near the cold air return, it can interfere both with your air conditioner’s ability to cool your home and your thermostat’s ability to read the air temperature.
  • Check the batteries. If the battery power is low, it will have trouble functioning the way that it should.
  • Take a look at your settings. It’s possible that your thermostat isn’t actually reading the temperature incorrectly. You may have simply forgotten the last temperature that you set.

Location, Location, Location

Something you might be surprised by is that the location of your thermostat can actually impact how well the device is able to function. It should never be installed in a location that’s subject to temperature swings, as this will make it nearly impossible for the device to read the overall temperature in your home. Installing your thermostat near a door or in a location where it will be exposed to direct sunlight means it won’t function correctly.

If you believe that your thermostat is in a poor location, you should get in touch with your heating or cooling professional. Your professional can relocate it so that the temperature can be accurately read in your home.

Keep It Level

If you live in an older home, it’s possible that your house is still equipped with a mercury-based thermostat. With these older models, it’s key that your thermostat remains level. A mercury one that has shifted out of position will not work correctly and will need adjustment.

If you have a level, measure your thermostat to determine its position. Should you find that it isn’t level, you have two different options:

  • Reposition your thermostat to restore normal functionality.
  • Install a new thermostat. This is generally the better option, as newer models aren’t vulnerable to this leveling issue and should be better able to control the temperature in your home so that your energy bills stay low.

Your Sensor Has Gone Bad

One of the most common reasons that your thermostat is incorrectly reading your home’s temperature is that the temperature sensor is malfunctioning or has failed completely. Replacing a temperature sensor can be very difficult, so there are a few things you should try before you schedule a replacement.

Cleaning the inside of your thermostat may fix the issue. If there is too much dust inside, the sensor will have trouble working correctly. After cleaning, if you’re still having problems, you may want to recalibrate your sensor. The recalibration method depends on the type of thermostat you have, so you should contact a professional for help. If none of these solutions work, then you’ll probably need to invest in a new sensor.

Get Help from a Professional

If your thermostat is no longer working properly, your best solution is scheduling a service appointment with Cape Fear Air Conditioning, Heating & Electrical Company, Inc. by calling (910) 216-9394 or (919) 246-5801. One of our experienced service professionals can examine it and quickly find the issue. If you need to install a new one, we can help you choose a model that will provide both comfort and efficiency.

Image provided by Shutterstock

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