According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), results from a 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that nearly 90% of American households are now equipped with an air conditioning unit. That percentage is likely even higher in 2022. It’s not surprising that A/C and HVAC units are some of the most common pieces of equipment in most households. They offer year-round relief from the elements, keeping us cool in the summer and warm in the winters.
One of the most integral pieces of any functional furnace or HVAC system is the thermostat. The thermostat is the central hub and communication center of your HVAC unit. As winter quickly descends on most of the country, forcing us inside to stay warm, it is essential that your heating system is in working order. And your heating system can’t function properly without a well-calibrated and accurate thermostat.
What most homeowners don’t realize is that thermostats can malfunction and it can impact the way your HVAC system operates, if it comes on at all. If your heater isn’t working properly, it could be due to a faulty thermostat. Knowing when you need to replace your thermostat could save you money and time during the coldest months of the year.
8 Signs You Need a Thermostat Replacement
Is your heating system acting up? Are you not greeted with that warm and cozy feeling when you walk through your front door on a cold day? Well, it may not be your HVAC system but rather your thermostat that’s acting up. Here are 8 signs you need a thermostat replacement.
1. HVAC Keeps Quickly Turning On and Off
As mentioned above, your thermostat acts like central command for your home’s HVAC system. It is in charge of sending the correct signals to your heating unit, telling it when it’s too hot or when the heater needs to kick-on to take the chill out of the room. If for some reason your thermostat isn’t communicating properly with your HVAC system, it will cause your unit to quickly turn on and then off again. This poses a serious problem, especially during a winter storm. You’ll need to hire a professional HVAC technician to diagnose the issue and confirm whether you need a thermostat replacement.
2. Thermostat Is Over 10 Years Old
They say that age ain’t nothing but a number, but when it comes to thermostats it is. Quality thermostats typically last up to 10 years. If your thermostat is over 10 years old and isn’t working you may want to consider upgrading the entire piece of equipment during the thermostat replacement process. Nowadays thermostats can be paired with your smartphone to program lifestyle patterns that can save you money on heating and cooling costs. With all of the amazing new thermostats on the market today, opting for an upgrade may be the way to go.
3. Your HVAC System Short Cycles
One of the top reasons to replace an old thermostat is short-cycling. This occurs when your thermostat isn’t communicating correctly with the HVAC unit which prompts the HVAC to stop short of completing a full cooling or heating cycle. If this continues to happen, it is time for a thermostat replacement.
4. Inaccurate Thermostat Readings
This is a common occurrence and one that is a little hard to put your thumb on until it continues to happen. Does it feel a little chilly in your house, but your thermostat keeps saying it’s 79 degrees inside? Well, that would be a false thermostat reading and an indicator that you need to replace your thermostat. You can test this with an indoor thermometer to be sure and then call a trusted HVAC specialist to fix the problem.
5. Increase in Energy Bill
Eek! Have you recently noticed an uptick in your home’s energy bill? Oddly enough, this may be your thermostat’s fault. When your thermostat isn’t accurately reading the temperature in your home it will force your HVAC to work harder than it has to, which will draw more electricity and energy from your utility meter.
6. Constant Temperature Fluctuations
When your thermostat is faulty, it will have a hard time maintaining its preset temperatures and settings. Have you noticed that your thermostat jumps to a different temperature without warning? Before calling a pro, do a test run. Set your thermostat for a lower or higher setting and see if it jumps back to a different temperature. If the problem persists, call a local HVAC company to help you diagnose the problem.
7. Thermostat Won’t Respond to Changed Settings
In most homes, you will hear a faint click when the compressor of your HVAC unit turns on. If you go to raise the temperature on your thermostat in an effort to turn on the heat and your HVAC unit doesn’t respond then you definitely are having an issue with your thermostat.
8. You Have an Analog Thermostat
Remember the old dial, lever, or toggle switch thermostats? Technically speaking they are called analog thermostats. If your home still has an analog thermostat it is likely past its prime. Replacing it with a new thermostat will not only save you money on heating and cooling costs but you will get accurate, digital readings so you can set the temperature in your home to just the right setting.
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