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How to Know If Your Thermostat Is Broken

August 9, 2021

Your thermostat is your direct line of communication to your air conditioning system. If it’s working properly, it will tell you everything you need to know about what your equipment is doing and even if there’s a problem with your AC system in your Los Angeles home. Unfortunately, sometimes the thermostat will malfunction. Here’s how to tell if the problem is the thermostat… or something else.

What To Look For If You Think Your Thermostat is Broken

When our customers call with thermostat issues, there are two main scenarios: the thermostat is blank and completely unresponsive, or it’s thermostat is acting abnormally. 

Is your thermostat display blank? Don’t be too quick to assume it’s broken. First, try pressing a button to see if your thermostat was simply conserving power and in sleep mode. 

If the display still appears to be off after pressing some buttons, make sure that there are no problems with power. Even if lights and plugs in the same hallway as the thermostat are working, that is not enough to verify that power isn’t the culprit. It is common for thermostats to get their power from the main air conditioning unit. So if your AC doesn’t have power, your thermostat won’t either. Check your electrical breaker box for any tripped fuses and reset them. If your thermostat comes back on, then there are likely no other issues. 

Is the thermostat is blinking, flashing, or displaying an error code? It’s possible that the thermostat is operating correctly and notifying you of an issue with the system. One common thermostat alert is a dirty filter that needs replacing. These notifications might have an unfamiliar icon, but a quick check of the thermostat’s owner’s manual can help you verify.

More sophisticated thermostats may even notify you it’s time to schedule annual or other regular maintenance on your unit. In these cases the thermostat is the opposite of broken, it’s helping make sure you stay comfortable moving forward! 

If you’re still not sure and cannot clear any messages or alerts, homeowners in Los Angeles are always welcome to call our team. We’re happy to help troubleshoot over the phone. 

My Thermostat Is Showing the Wrong Temperature

Many homeowners call us with concerns about the thermostat displaying the wrong temperature. This doesn’t always mean your thermostat is broken. An incorrect value on the thermostat could be one of many problems: 

  • The thermostat could be displaying the temperature setpoint and not the current temperature of the space.
  • If the rest of your home feels hot but the temperature on the thermostat shows that it’s normal, it could be the result of where it’s located in the home. Most homes only have one temperature sensor in their home: right at the thermostat. If you have hot spots, that’s something we have a lot of experience in troubleshooting.
  • If your temperature setting keeps changing, that could be a result of automatic programming or a temperature schedule. 
  • If you have verified all the thermostat settings are correct but your AC still isn’t working as expected, it could be a communication issue between the two devices. In this case, it’s best to call in a professional to diagnose where the problem lies exactly.

Brody Pennell Can Help With Thermostat Repair and Replacement

If you’re confident that the problem is a broken thermostat, it may be time for a new one. There are a lot of replacement thermostat options available today, including connected smart thermostats and traditional simpler devices. 
Our team of knowledgeable, NATE-certified technicians can help diagnose your thermostat problem and give you our honest opinion about repair or replacement. We know the needs of Los Angeles homeowners are unique, and we will recommend the best solution for you. No matter what you choose, the most important thing is staying comfortable in the LA heat. A thermostat problem could be an indicator of a larger issue, so if you are unable to resolve the problem on your own, be sure to call Brody Pennell right away!

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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