Some heating and air conditioning thermostats have an impressive lifespan of 35 years. However, many homeowners replace them sooner, as new models are more energy-efficient.

In many other instances, thermostats get replaced earlier due to premature failure. In such cases, their early demise is due to improper installation or a lack of maintenance.

With that said, a thermostat broken beyond repair needs immediate replacement. Otherwise, you won’t be able to run your heater or air conditioner at all.

The question now is, how exactly do you tell if you have a completely broken thermostat?

This post will give you all the answers you’re looking for, so be sure to read on.

Rule Out Other Potential Culprits

If you find yourself asking, “is my thermostat broken?” the first thing to do is isolate the issue. Your Beaumont or Nederland home’s HVAC unit may be acting up due to a filter clogged with pet dander. It’s also possible that your heater or AC isn’t turning on due to a tripped circuit breaker.

Keep in mind that residue on your HVAC system can hinder airflow. So, you may feel that your furnace/boiler or AC may not be heating/cooling your home enough.

A dirty filter, after all, can cause a significant reduction in HVAC efficiency. By contrast, a clean filter can boost its efficiency by 5% to 15%.

On the other hand, a tripped circuit breaker will not supply any power to your HVAC system. So, even if you keep fiddling with your thermostat, it won’t do anything as the HVAC itself doesn’t have power. Check your electrical panel to see if the switch for the HVAC is set to “ON.”

If neither your filter nor circuit breaker is to blame, it’s time to take a closer look at your thermostat.

A Word of Warning on Mercury Thermostats

Did you know that in Beaumont, TX, almost three in five homes have been around since 1979? Of the city’s residential properties, 5% are at least eight decades old!

The thing is, many of these old homes still rely on mercury thermostats. In fact, they’re not only in Beaumont but throughout Jefferson County, TX, and the entire US, too. Moreover, A 2013 report cited that only 8% of mercury thermostats in the US get collected each year.

With that said, most mercury-containing thermostats are the manual dial- or knob-types. If this is the kind you have, and the control feels like it has a loose thread, it likely is defective.

Even if your mercury thermostat still works, consider getting it replaced ASAP. Mercury is a toxic element, and it can leak out of the thermostat if the glass bulb or vial breaks. Modern programmable thermostats don’t have mercury, and they’re also more efficient.

How to Tell if You’ve Got a Broken Digital Thermostat

Suppose that you’ve changed your HVAC filter, and your circuit breaker is set to “ON.” Let’s also say that you have a digital thermostat, and you have fresh batteries in it. If you experience any of the “symptoms” below, chances are you have a broken thermostat.

Absolutely Nothing on the Display

Is your digital programmable thermostat still blank after feeding it fresh batteries? If so, dust and debris accumulation may be hindering its proper operation. It’s also possible that something went wrong with its wiring or internal connections.

Conflicting Thermostat Reading and Actual Temperature

Texas is home to over a dozen of the 50 hottest cities in the entire United States. The good news is that most of Jefferson County’s cities aren’t part of the list. Only Port Arthur is, averaging 87 days in which temperatures are at least 90 degrees.

Still, most of Jefferson County, TX, including Beaumont and Nederland, get days as hot as 92 degrees. Things can get pretty chilly in the winter, with temperatures dropping to about 5 to 6 degrees.

With that said, if the inside of your home is hotter or colder than the temp outside, you may have a broken thermostat. In this case, it’s not reading the indoor temperature properly. The incorrect reading, in turn, makes your HVAC unit inefficient in cooling or heating.

No Communication at All

Studies say that each degree of reduction in thermostat settings can lead to a 3% reduction in energy use.

Now, let’s say that you tried giving this technique a shot by adjusting your thermostat.

However, your thermostat didn’t respond to any change you made. Maybe it did, but there was no change in the air coming out of the vents. Either way, both indicate that you may have a broken thermostat.

How to Fix a Broken Thermostat: Give It a Deep, Gentle Clean

A thermostat can appear broken from the outside, but its interiors may only need a good clean-up. If you’re comfortable with your DIY skills, try cleaning the interior components. 

However, make sure you set the thermostat to its lowest setting first. You can use a soft brush or a manual compressed air pump to blow away dust and debris on the coil. Give the entire interior panel a gentle but thorough wipe.

After this, set the thermostat to the highest setting and then repeat the steps.

Once it’s clean, replace the panel and set the thermostat back to your preferred setting. If the thermostat issue was only due to filthy parts, the room should get comfy cool or cozy warm after 10 to 15 minutes.

If there’s no change at all, you may have a broken thermostat that already warrants a replacement.  

Is Your Thermostat Broken Beyond Repair?

Cleaning a thermostat broken beyond repair won’t be enough to fix it. Giving it a fresh set of batteries won’t help, either. If none of the troubleshooting and DIY solutions work, you very likely need a new thermostat.

Don’t worry, though, as our team here at Thermacon Service Company is always ready to help. Ring us up now, and we can have your thermostat replaced as early as today since we operate 24 hours, seven days a week. Whether you’re from Jefferson or Orange County, we’ll be happy to help you with all your HVAC concerns.