Signs Your Thermostat Needs Calibration: A Homeowner’s Guide

Thermostat calibration issues

Thermostat calibration issues prevent an HVAC controller from properly reading temperatures. Whether dirt has built up or someone accidentally bumped into the unit and changed a setting, a thermostat can easily lose calibration. The issue can affect your entire HVAC system. Therefore, it’s important to identify and resolve it (more on that later). Here are some signs you need thermostat calibration or repair:

Temperatures Vary Throughout Your Home

The temperature in every room should be relatively consistent (unless you have zoning). If it’s significantly warmer or cooler in certain rooms, your home is always stuffy, and it’s becoming harder to sleep, the thermostat could be faulty. It may also be misreading the temperature and thus not signaling your HVAC system to provide the right amount of heating or cooling.

Your HVAC System Short Cycles or Runs Constantly

An HVAC unit should turn on and off two to three times an hour, running 15 to 20 minutes at a time. If it’s turning on and off every few minutes or never stops running, there may be a thermostat calibration issue. Either way, the system will work harder than it has to. This means it will use more power and wear out faster.

Your Energy Bills Are Higher

If your thermostat is miscalibrated, it will constantly try to compensate. Not only will your home be too warm or too cool. Frequent adjustments and a harder-working HVAC unit will increase your energy bill. Check the thermostat or call an HVAC expert if it’s getting higher from month to month or compared to the same time last year.

The Room Temperature and Setting Don’t Match

If, no matter how often you set the thermostat, the setting and room temperature never match, the unit has likely lost accuracy. The cause may be a calibration issue. Or, the unit may have a wiring problem affecting its function and power supply.

The Thermostat’s Accuracy Changes Over Time

You should check into any changes in accuracy as soon as they occur. However, if the thermostat readings continue to stray and are increasingly inaccurate, it’s time to consider calibrating it. The problem won’t go away on its own and can lead to other issues with your heating and cooling system.

How Do I Check If My Thermostat Needs Calibration?

Thermostats can lose calibration over time. When it’s calibrated, the thermostat’s sensor reads the room temperature properly and the control elements make adjustments to match the setting. One way to check for thermostat calibration issues is to place a room thermometer a few inches from the thermostat and wait 15 minutes. The readings of both shouldn’t be more than 1℉ different. If this is the case, then it’s time to correct the issue.

When Should My Thermostat Be Calibrated?

Any issues with comfort or temperature control in your home certainly warrant checking your thermostat. Nonetheless, it’s best to check thermostat calibration once a year. It may not require adjustments if there are no apparent issues. An HVAC technician can test and calibrate your thermostat during an annual maintenance visit.

How Can I Calibrate My Thermostat?

If you’ve determined the thermostat is inaccurate, you can calibrate it based on the instructions in the owner’s manual. How to proceed depends on the model. The manufacturer has likely provided instructions. 

Some units have a dial to adjust with a screwdriver. The calibration screw is typically located in a curved piece of metal. First, remove the control unit from the wall mounting and then locate the screw in the back. Turning it back and forth opens the contacts. Once you feel the setting is correct, turn the calibration screw again to close the contacts. The thermostat is now reset.

While you’re at it, determine whether the thermostat needs batteries (and replace them if necessary) or any wiring connections need to be tightened. Call a professional if the wiring or the thermostat appears damaged.

Reasons to Hire an HVAC Technician

If you’ve restored the accuracy of your thermostat, great! But if you have any thermostat calibration issues, an HVAC expert can help. A licensed technician eliminates guesswork, saves you time, and can diagnose and fix any potential problems. They are also familiar with different makes and models, so they can optimize your HVAC system based on specific requirements. Future problems can be prevented, saving money and improving comfort.

Call Hoover to Address Thermostat Calibration Issues

We provide thermostat calibration, installation, repair, and replacement for homeowners in and around Clinton Township, MI. Our highly trained and licensed technicians check your thermostat during annual maintenance and are available anytime to address issues or concerns. Calibrating your thermostat can be completed in minutes. If necessary, we can make repairs or replace the unit with a high-efficiency programmable thermostat. Call (586) 500-5264 to request help.

What to read next

Hoover Electric Plumbing Heating Cooling

AC Compressor Replacement Tips & Tricks Located in the outdoor condenser unit, the AC compressor is a crucial part of your HVAC system. Without it and its cooling power, you’d

Hoover Electric Plumbing Heating Cooling

Known for its humid summers and freezing winters, Michigan weather will put any HVAC system to the test, year after year. When your HVAC system acts up and your thermostat