If the temperature in your home feels one way but your thermostat reads another way, then there may be a problem with your thermostat. An incorrect thermostat temperature reading makes it harder to heat or cool your home efficiently and effectively.

What Can Cause Wrong Readings?

There are plenty of issues that could cause your thermostat to read the wrong temperature. Accidentally bumping the thermostat out of its normal alignment can cause incorrect readings. Dirt and dust accumulation within the unit can also create false readings. If your thermostat is located in a drafty part of your home or near a window where direct sunlight can reach the device, these factors can also cause false readings.

How to Test Your Thermostat

You can use a digital thermometer to see if the thermostat temperature matches up with your home’s actual temperature. Simply tape it to a piece of paper towel and then tape the paper towel next to the thermostat on the wall. You’ll want to read the air temperature instead of the wall temperature, so the paper towel will help isolate the thermometer from the wall.

Leave the thermostat on the wall for 15 minutes and check the temperatures. If what’s on the thermostat matches up with what’s on the thermometer, you’re good to go. If not, then you can use these solutions to fix the problem:

  • Open the thermostat and check for corrosion at the battery terminal. Clean the corrosion and, if necessary, replace the battery.
  • Remove dirt and debris from the thermostat with a soft-bristle brush.
  • Use a bubble level to make sure the thermostat is perfectly level and not crooked or off-center.
  • If the thermostat is in direct sunlight or near a drafty area, relocate it to a central location, preferably on an interior wall. Make sure the thermostat sits at least five feet above the floor surface.
  • If all else fails, have a professional replace the thermostat with a newer unit.

For more thermostat temperature quick fixes and other HVAC tips, contact the pros at Jackson & Sons, proudly serving Eastern North Carolina.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Eastern North Carolina (including Wayne, Johnston, Greene, Lenoir, Pitt and Duplin Counties) about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).


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