When you live in our area, something like a malfunctioning air conditioner can send you into a panic. But what if the problem isn’t actually with your air conditioner, but rather your thermostat? Issues often don’t originate in the thermostat, but something can be interrupting its performance, and therefore disrupting the communication between the device and your air conditioner.
We are here to help, of course. But before you contact a professional, we encourage you to try the tips we’ve outlined below. If you check all of this to no avail, then it could very well be an AC problem, and we encourage you to give us a call.
Double-Check Your Settings
Digital, programmable thermostats can be difficult to understand at times. In fact, according to the Washington Post, many people throughout the country don’t even know how to use their thermostat settings correctly. So, what should you check for?
Is your thermostat in “fan only” mode?
If you see these words on the screen of your thermostat, it means that the fan in your blower unit is on, but no actual cooling is going on. A fan alone cannot cool down your living space, and this setting should only be used when temperatures are mild, if at all.
Did the thermostat accidentally get turned to “off”?
This is probably the first thing most homeowners check. But sometimes new homeowners don’t realize that their existing thermostat even has an on/off switch on the side of their thermostat, so we feel this is worth mentioning.
Is your thermostat actually in cooling mode?
It’s possible, especially if you have a heat pump system, that someone in your household accidentally (or on purpose depending on their cooling preferences!) switched your system to “heating” mode. Be sure to check this isn’t the case.
Did preprogrammed settings cause the thermostat to switch off?
Some thermostats have the ability to temporarily suspend preprogrammed settings if the building is believed to be unoccupied. This is very convenient for when you aren’t home and forgot to turn up the thermostat or turn it off, but you’d be better off in most cases switching it to “automatic” mode, instead.
Possible Thermostat Problems
Thermostats aren’t complex devices, but they do serve a very important purpose. They’re essentially the “brain” of the HVAC systems they’re connected to. Sometimes, they really are at fault for the AC problems you might be having. The reason for this can be one of three possibilities:
If your thermostat is in an area of your home that is unusually cool or warm (such as too close to the kitchen), it might not get an accurate reading. This can cause temperatures to fluctuate dramatically, or it can lead to short-cycling (shutting off and turning back on again frequently).
If there’s no display on your digital thermostat, it may be that it just needs new batteries.
If there are electrical issues within your thermostat, it’s best to let a trained technician deal with it, as trying to manage it on your own can lead to injury, or at least thermostat damage.