Central air conditioning systems are designed to provide a decade or more of dependable service. Homeowners who have become accustomed to the comfort provided by these systems are often surprised when a problem develops that results in small changes to the comfort level of their home. While the problem could be related to a number of air conditioning system components, one of the first ones that homeowners should suspect of malfunctioning is the thermostat.
Understanding the function of the thermostat
A properly working thermostat senses the air temperature at key points in the home and then instructs the air conditioning system to cycle on and emit cool air until the desired temperature of the home is reached. The number of cycles required to keep the home cool will depend upon a number of factors, including the size and layout of the home, the amount of insulation, and the efficiency of the central air conditioning system.
When a problem develops with the thermostat, it may not be able to give the AC system the right commands and the home soon becomes less comfortable to inhabit. Likely causes for thermostat malfunction include misuse, age, faulty installation, and issues with the heat anticipator arm.
Start by resetting the thermostat
When a thermostat issue is suspected, ruling out misuse is a good starting point. Incorrect settings can cause the thermostat to give the wrong commands to the system and result in decreasing levels of comfort and cooling efficiency in all or part of the home. Turning the thermostat off and resetting it with the help of the instruction manual or an AC repair technician will help homeowners understand whether the thermostat is functioning as it should.
Consider the installation location and anticipator issues
The location of the thermostat can also be a major factor in the level of comfort the air conditioning system creates. Homeowners who have recently made changes in their home's layout or design will want to determine if any of those changes may be affecting the thermostat, such as causing it to be located in direct sunlight, near a heat source like the oven, or near a draft from an exterior door. Homeowners may also experience thermostat function issues if the heat anticipator inside the thermostat is incorrectly calibrated, stuck, or broken.
Homeowners who suspect thermostat problems related to location or heat anticipator issues will want to schedule a repair appointment with an AC repair service contractor in their area.