Have you ever been sitting around your house and thought, “It’s pretty cold/hot in here”, just to find out your thermostat is nowhere near where you set it? It can be frustrating, especially when you don’t know why. At Wyckoff, we have been helping Iowa residents for over 70 years with problems just like this. While we would love to help, there are a few ways to solve an inconsistent thermostat all on your own!

Type of Thermostat

The first thing to note when trying to locate the problem is what kind of thermostat you have. Most thermostats can fall into two categories: programmable and non-programmable. 

At the very base level non-programmable thermostats, also known as manual thermostats, allow you control over basic thermostat functions such as turning on your heating or cooling system, setting temperature, and operating the system fan. 

Programmable thermostats allow a greater range of power such as setting specific schedules, with some even being Wi-Fi enabled to control remotely. Distinguishing between the two types of systems can give you a better understanding of the possible causes of a changing thermostat.

Possible Problems & Solutions

Once you’ve established the type of thermostat in your household it’s time to look at the possible range of problems and solutions that can help put the control back into your hands.

Common Programmable Thermostat Issues

Problem: Someone in your house is changing it.

This may be the most simple of explanations. We all remember being kids and waiting for our parents to be preoccupied so that we could change the temperature to our liking.

Solution: Set a passcode.

This can be as easy as having a conversation about the thermostat, but some newer programmable thermostats also have the option to set a lock on your system that requires a passcode to make any changes. Each system is different, but your thermostat manual should have a quick guide to put one in place.

Problem: You need to update programmed temperatures.

If you haven’t programmed the thermostat yourself, there’s a high probability that the manufacturer has a preset program in place. There should be a section on the default program setting in the manual. You can also keep track of when these changes are happening and if you notice they typically happen around the same time, this is likely your issue.

Solution: Program your thermostat.

If the programming isn’t updated by you, it doesn’t matter what you change the temperature to, it will inevitably revert back to the default settings. By taking the time to program your thermostat, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature of your home depending on your family’s schedule and time of day. You may like it warmer at night, so you have it set to be at a higher temperature around bedtime. Maybe you spend most Saturdays and Sundays away from home, so you set your system to be lower on the weekends. This creates a system automated to your needs, and is even more energy efficient! You should be able to find a guide for programming your specific thermostat in your manual, most of which should also be online.

If you do have a program set in place but want to change the settings for a temporary amount of time you can use the HOLD setting to override your pre-programmed schedule. Lock in your desired temperature by pressing HOLD or PERMANENT HOLD. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you will be stuck with that temperature forever; it prevents the thermostat from reverting back to the default temperatures. When you’re ready to resume your normal schedule, make sure to take off the HOLD feature before changing any settings.

Problem: You’re opted into an energy-saving program

For this, you’ll need to contact your energy company. If you’ve opted into an energy-saving program, this gives your energy company permission to adjust your thermostat as a response to high-energy demand across your grid. For example, on a day that is particularly hot, everyone has their A/C at full blast. This strains your energy grid more than usual, and in order to prevent problems companies take precautions by minimizing energy consumption where it can.

Solution: Opt out of your energy-saving program

As a homeowner, you are able to contact your energy supplier or utilities company to opt out of this program. Although, taking part in these programs usually leads to savings in energy costs, and some companies even offer rebates.

Problem: Old Batteries

Not all programmable thermostats have batteries. If you do have a system that runs on batteries, the batteries don’t need to be completely drained for them to start causing issues with your thermostat. Most newer programmable thermostats connect to your home’s electrical or HVAC system for power. 

Solution: Switch out your batteries.

It can be as simple as switching out the batteries on your thermostat device. This could also be the reason your screen can go blank sometimes. Thankfully, most thermostats should tell you when the time comes to replace them.

Problem: Outdated or Faulty Thermostat

It may just be time for a service check or a new thermostat. Over time wires can become worn out and systems become outdated, becoming less efficient and accurate.

Solution: Call your local HVAC professional

If you try to resolve the issue after checking for default programming, energy-saving programs, old batteries, and even if someone has been changing the temperature in your home it may be time to contact a professional. There may be an issue with old wires or software. Most problems should be able to be resolved relatively quickly. Depending on how old your model is, it may just be time for a new thermostat.

Non-Programmable Thermostat Troubleshooting

It is uncommon for non-programmable thermostats to change temperature on their own, but there are still a couple of issues that could cause these shifts in your home. 

Problem: Old Batteries

A majority of non-programmable thermostats are powered by batteries and do not have a low-battery warning. Although it can be frustrating, there should be little cause for concern, and this is the easiest problem to fix.

Solution: Put in new batteries.

It’s as simple as switching out the old worn-out batteries for a fresh pair. The hardest part is taking your system off the wall to figure out what batteries are needed. If you are having issues opening your system, your manual should have a guide to help.

Problem: Faulty/Circuit Issues

If batteries are not your issue, more than likely there is a circuit issue. Non-programmable thermostats are not generally used anymore, so it may be time for a new system.

Solution: Connect with a professional

Contact your local HVAC professional to locate the origin of the issue. Hopefully, they will be able to handle the issue then, if not you can discuss the best options for you and your home.

Des Moines Area Thermostat Repair & Replacement Resource

Still not able to figure it out? Wyckoff Heating and Cooling would be more than happy to help. Whether it be for a maintenance call, or emergency repair contact us today to get started!