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Residential Heating and Air Conditioning Blog

Possible Thermostat Troubles That Will Affect Home Comfort

The thermostat is critical for the comfort of your home. It’s where you interface with the HVAC system to set your desired temperature and to create a schedule for turning the heat on and off. 

Thermostats can malfunction in several ways, and often it’s difficult for homeowners to tell when the thermostat is at fault for a problem with the heating or cooling. To help you better understand when the thermostat is causing comfort troubles, we’ll look several malfunctions for thermostats in Minneapolis, MN.

Incorrect Temperature Readings

A thermostat may malfunction so that its temperature sensor picks up inaccurate readings. When the thermostat is reading the wrong temperature, you’ll have a harder time finding a comfortable level, and the HVAC system will waste energy.

Possible Causes and Solutions

  • Placement: The thermostat may be in a location where it picks up “ghost readings” from direct sunlight or drafts. The thermostat needs to be reinstalled in a better spot to fix this. 
  • Calibration: Some thermostats need occasional re-calibration to ensure accurate temperature sensing. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, call for HVAC technicians. 
  • Dirt and Dust: Accumulated dirt and dust can interfere with a thermostat’s sensors. Clean off the unit with a soft cloth to see if this improves performance. 

Short Cycling

This is when the HVAC system keeps turning on and off multiple times during an hour rather than going through complete cycles. Short cycling drains energy and increases the wear and tear on the HVAC unit, possibly leading to an early replacement.

Possible Causes and Solutions

  • Location: Again, poor thermostat placement may be behind this. The thermostat is picking up temperature fluctuations too quickly, causing it to end cycles abruptly. One way to get around this is with an upgrade to a smart thermostat that accounts for fluctuations and is programmed to avoid short-cycling.
  • Miscalibration: Short cycling may also be the result of the thermostat misreading the temperature by several degrees so it ends cycles abruptly. 


Plain and simple, the thermostat doesn’t do anything no matter how you set it. Or maybe it’s just not turning on at all.

Possible Causes and Solutions:

  • Dead Batteries: If your thermostat is battery-operated, check and replace the batteries if needed.
  • Electrical Issues: Tripped circuit breakers, blown fuses, or loose wiring can cut off power to the thermostat. You’ll need HVAC technicians or electricians to fix this.

Compatibility Issues

We never recommend homeowners purchase their own thermostat upgrade. If a new thermostat isn’t compatible with the HVAC equipment, it can cause plenty of headaches. 

Possible Causes and Solutions:

  • Wiring Compatibility: New thermostats may have different wiring that doesn’t match older equipment. HVAC technicians can handle the correct wiring.
  • Voltage Mismatch: The thermostat may require a different voltage level than the HVAC system. You’ll need to have the thermostat replaced with one that’s an accurate match

Connectivity Problems (Smart Thermostats)

Smart thermostats have many benefits, but they can also suffer from Wi-Fi connectivity issues that will interfere with their performance.

Possible Causes and Solutions

  • Wi-Fi Signal: A weak Wi-Fi signal will hurt communication between the thermostat and whatever device you’re using to control it. You’ll need to improve Wi-Fi coverage in the thermostat’s location.
  • Software Updates: To ensure continued compatibility with other equipment, regularly download firmware for the thermostat. The thermostat will notify you when you need to do this.

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