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McDonald Home Services Blog

That Heater Problem Might Actually Be Your Thermostat

Your thermostat controls your HVAC system. That goes for your AC just as much as it does your heater. Since your heater can’t actually detect the temperature on its own, it relies on the reading from the thermostat and its signals to know when it should turn on or off.

You need heating repair in Sarasota right now–that much is clear. But now let’s clarify if the problem is coming from your heater, or if it’s the thermostat that’s making it look that way.

First, Let’s Understand the Relationship Between Heater and Thermostat

Your thermostat reads the room temperature. Your heater is located in a specific area so that it’s out of sight and out of mind, not interfering with your daily life. Your thermostat, on the other hand, has to be in a mostly central area of the home.

This is because it needs to find the most even temperature possible, otherwise it would gauge on and off requests to the heater incorrectly. When it detects that it’s colder than you set the preferred temperature to, it sends a simple “turn on” signal to the heater.

Then the heater kicks on and waits for a “turn off” signal later on when the temperature hits the target mark. So if your thermostat is on the fritz, it makes it look like your heater is busted. Let’s talk about discerning the difference between the two.

Feel the Airflow From Your Vents

Is there sufficient airflow from the vents? Great. Is it warm? If not, it’s likely the heater’s fault. Your heater will blow out warm air with the intent of raising the temperature of the room as quickly as possible. So if the air isn’t warm, the heater has run into some kind of trouble.

There’s Air, But the Heater Shuts Off Early

Now we get into a problem that could come from either one, so the details are important. These are the two possible problems here:

  • Your thermostat is miscalibrated. Your thermostat isn’t inherently smart. It needs to be calibrated so it knows how to gauge the temperature, and that’s a setting you can adjust. If it’s miscalibrated (which can just happen over time).
  • The heater itself is short-cycling. This is usually a problem we see with electrically-powered appliances, like an air conditioner, so it also applies to electric furnaces and heat pumps. However, combustion-based furnaces can also overheat and flip the safety to shut down, which would result in short-cycling.

The Thermostat Turns Off On its Own

Your thermostat is either hardwired into the home as a means to keep it powered, or it’s detachable and has a battery inside. These batteries are usually good for a few years, but it’s an obscure thing to remember to switch out every now and again. If it is detachable, replace the battery and try again. If not, and it keeps shutting off on its own while you’re trying to use it, call for repairs.

We’ve Got You Covered

Whatever the problem is, whether it’s with your thermostat or your heater, we’ll take care of it for you as soon as possible. Just give us a call and we’ll be there before you know it.

Contact us today to schedule your heater repair as soon as possible so we can get the heat back on before you know it.

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