It’s no secret that the West Palm region can get a bit toasty during the summer months. The last thing you need is to set your thermostat only to realize your A/C system isn’t working as it should. While it’s worth taking a look at your central air conditioning system to rule out any underlying problems, many problems actually stem from a faulty thermostat.

The following details three common thermostat problems and what you can do to resolve them successfully.

The A/C Unit Constantly Turns On and Off

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the thermostat is free of any buildup, especially if your air conditioning system happens to use a mechanical thermostat. Dust, dirt, nicotine and residue from household sprays can coat the electrical and mechanical components within the thermostat. Use a clean, soft brush or a can of compressed air to clean the interior components.

To avoid further thermostat problems, make sure the thermostat sits completely level. Some thermostats rely on mercury switches that could easily be thrown off if they’re not installed level. Grab a bubble level and make sure the thermostat sits straight. If not, you may have to adjust the thermostat or its mounting bracket.

If you’re still having problems, you may want to adjust the anticipator. This small device controls how long the A/C system runs during its cycle. Simply adjust the anticipator arm one notch closer towards the “longer” setting if the A/C is cycling too frequently. If the A/C isn’t reaching the desired temperature, set the arm one notch farther from the “longer” setting. Give the unit about two to three hours to adjust before making any more changes.

The Room Temperature Doesn’t Match the Thermostat Setting

First, check the thermostat for any dirt, dust or other debris, and then make sure the thermostat is installed perfectly level. If everything checks out, your next step involves taking a look at thermostat placement.

A thermostat isn’t something you can just install anywhere. In order for it to be accurate, it has to be located in an area safe from regular temperature fluctuations. That means you can’t install a thermostat in areas exposed to direct sunlight, in front of drafty windows and doors, in close proximity to heating or cooling sources, and in areas isolated from the main living areas.

If your thermostat is located in these areas, consider having your HVAC technician relocate it to a more appropriate area of your home, preferably away from windows, doors and air vents.

The A/C Unit Won’t Come On at All

If the air conditioner doesn’t respond to the thermostat controls, there may be a problem with the unit itself. Make sure the air conditioning system is receiving power by checking its assigned fuse or circuit breaker. If necessary, replace the blown fuse or reset the tripped circuit breaker and turn the cooling system back on using the thermostat controls.

If your thermostat remains unresponsive, it may have finally drained its battery. Changing the thermostat’s battery is a relatively simple process, but it’s a good idea to have the thermostat’s user manual on hand for quick reference.

If a new battery doesn’t do the trick, then you’ll want to check the thermostat for any loose or corroded terminal screws, as well as any corroded wiring. Any and all loose screws should be tightened. If you run into corroded wiring, you can try carefully scraping off the corrosion with a knife.

If All Else Fails

For some thermostat problems, there may be nothing more you can do except replace the thermostat. Fortunately, thermostats are relatively inexpensive to replace. A typical programmable thermostat can cost anywhere from $20 to as much as $200, with installation equally as inexpensive.

Preferred Air Conditioning & Mechanical, Inc. can help you to overcome these and other thermostat problems. Check out our A/C services or call us at (561) 202-1422 in West Palm Beach, or at (772) 905-3358 in Port Saint Lucie to schedule an appointment today.