Household thermostats are used to control your heating and can be preset to patterns to suit your daily schedule. Thermostats measure the temperature of your home and adjust themselves accordingly to maintain a pleasant atmosphere.
How your thermostat works
To spot potential problems with your thermostat it helps to have a little technical knowledge. There are two main forms of thermostat found in most homes.
Mechanical thermostats measure temperatures using contacts which expand as the temperature of the room increases. As the contacts expand or shrink the movements activate a switch which governs the activity of your furnace or heat pump accordingly.
Electrical thermostats are programmable and allow the user to control and alter the activity of their heating with more control. As it takes less time for alterations to come into effect less energy is wasted on excess fuel being burnt.
If your thermostat's metre is displaying a temperature that is clearly inaccurate then this could be caused by a problem with the sensors. Check to see if any dirt or dust around the sensors is causing interference to readings. Also make sure the sensors aren't tilted on an angle as this will affect the accuracy of readings.
Sometimes the room your thermostat is in may affect the reading. If this seems likely to be the cause you will need to move your thermostat to another room. Try to get a second opinion before moving your thermostat. Moving your thermostat is an involved job which will require a trained professional to reroute the wiring.
If your thermostat is becoming irregular in maintaining temperature there is probably a problem with the differential control. To solve this problem you will need to manually alter the differential control which can be a tricky procedure. If you are not skilled enough to do this then it is probably more cost effective to replace your mechanical thermostat with a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat will be easier to monitor and control.
Simple Thermostat Repairs
If you are experiencing problems with the consistency of output from your thermostat then there are a few simple checks you can make to repair the thermostat yourself.
Start off by removing the cover of your thermostat to get a closer look. If you have a mechanical thermostat check in the manual to see if it is fitted with mercury switches. If it is then make sure they are aligned in the correct position.
If this hasn't fixed the problem then try and locate the heat anticipator. The heat anticipator is a small lever which can be moved to different positions along a scale. Push the lever further towards the end of the scale marked "longer" if your thermostat is turning itself on and off irregularly. If your thermostat is not turning itself on when required then push the lever in the opposite direction.
Allow a little time for the changes to take effect. If there is still no change to the problem then adjust the lever further in the particular direction accordingly
If there is still no change then your thermostat will probably need replacing. Get a second opinion before replacing your thermostat from an expert.