Know When to Get a New Thermostat
At first glance, the home’s thermostat is nothing but a little digital screen that reads the home’s temperature. However, there’s more to these complex devices than what meets the eye. Underneath the plastic faceplate, there’s a system of sensors, meters, and circuits that communicate with the AC system to cool the home.
But when do thermostats need replacing? Typically once every 10 - 15 years. Yet, a homeowner may consider prompt replacement even sooner if they answer “yes” to these questions:
Are the Energy Bills High?
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) notes that the average Texas homeowner spends around $132 on their monthly energy bill. One could find themselves paying even more with a faulty thermostat. That’s because:
- The AC unit may work overtime to cool the home.
- Homeowners may rely on external devices, like fans, to supplement their inadequate ACs.
- The AC system may never turn off because of a faulty sensor, expending energy.
Homeowners can track their monthly energy bills by visiting the Energy Texas website. If a homeowner notices sudden or gradual spikes in their energy bill, this could point to a broken thermostat in need of replacement.
Does the Thermostat Give Incorrect Readings?
The thermostat is useless if it gives incorrect readings and can lead to spikes in the energy bill and more wear and tear on the system. It may do this if:
- A sensor is damaged. It’s not worth spending money to replace a thermostat’s sensor. It’s more cost-effective to get a new device–preferably a smart home thermostat that pairs with users’ phones. These devices give homeowners more control over their indoor air quality, among other things, and have many energy-saving features that can save money.
- There’s a calibration problem. This could happen for many reasons, from frayed wires to old age. Just like with a malfunctioning sensor, it’s best to replace the device instead of pouring money into short-term repairs.
- There’s too much dust in the thermostat. This can prevent the sensors from working correctly, causing the AC system to continuously stay on or never turn off at all.
- A thermostat that is older and uses springs or mercury bulbs instead of electric sensors to register temperature changes.
If a homeowner isn’t sure whether the thermostat is giving inaccurate readings, they could measure the indoor temperature using an indoor thermometer and compare it with the reading on their thermostat. If they don’t match, there is a problem with the thermostat that could require replacement.
Is the AC Unit Short-Cycling?
An AC system regulates the home’s temperature by running in cycles. For instance, to maintain an indoor temperature of 70 degrees, an AC may turn on for 15 minutes, get the home to that temperature, and then turn off. It’ll turn on and off throughout the day, conserving energy yet keeping the temperature consistent.
When the AC short cycles, that means it turns on, then quickly shuts off––all without getting the home to the right temperature. This is a built-in failsafe that prevents the AC system from overheating and catching on fire. A short cycling AC system could mean that the thermostat is not effectively communicating with the AC unit, wasting energy as it quickly turns on and off all day. If someone notices any of these symptoms of a faulty thermostat, they should call an HVAC contractor to inspect it and determine if it should be replaced.
About A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions
A-Plus Air Conditioning & Home Solutions is a family-owned and operated company that has been serving Austin residents since 1977. They offer transparent pricing, financing, and a preventative maintenance agreement. Homeowners don’t have to feel at a loss when they notice the symptoms of a broken thermostat. Instead, they can call them today for a smart thermostat installation in Austin, TX.