If you feel like your heating and cooling system isn’t working properly, the problem could lie with your thermostat. While we always recommend contacting Ahoy! Cooling & Heating if any part of your HVAC system needs to be repaired, you can make your home a bit more comfortable by properly calibrating your thermostat. The method of calibration will depend on what kind of thermostat you have, but we’re going to discuss some of the more common methods.

How to Know When Your Thermostat Needs Calibration

You’ll likely see signs such as rising energy bills, fluctuating temperatures in your home, and your furnace or AC constantly turning on and off. You might also notice that your home constantly feels too hot or too cold and that it isn’t as comfortable as it used to be. Many of these issues can be caused by all kinds of HVAC-related problems, so you’ll need to test your thermostat.

Wrap a thermometer in a paper towel to test your thermostat’s calibration and place it near your thermostat. Make sure that it’s not in direct sunlight or near any other heat source. Wait 15 minutes, and check the reading on the thermometer. If your thermostat is calibrated correctly, it should have the same temperature reading as a thermometer. A difference of one to three degrees Fahrenheit isn’t a big deal, but anything more means that your thermostat needs to be recalibrated.

It’s best to perform this check at least once a year. Ideally, your thermostat should never need to be recalibrated, but it’s not uncommon for the calibration to be off due to dust gathering in the unit, a power outage, or simply something bumping the thermostat.

Calibrating a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable and smart thermostats are relatively easy to calibrate. Most models have a calibration mode that you should be able to access with little difficulty. Your owner’s manual should tell you exactly how to enter calibration mode, but you can usually do it either by turning the thermostat off and pressing the up and down buttons or by selecting the “Set Review Swing Value” setting in the thermostat’s menu. From there, simply make the necessary adjustments and press “Back” or “Exit,” depending on your thermostat model. Check your calibration when you’re done using the technique with the thermometer that we discussed earlier.

Calibrating a Mechanical Thermostat

If you have a mechanical thermostat, you’ll have to do a little more work to recalibrate it. First, remove the thermostat’s front cover to see if there is a calibration screw. This should be in the center of a curved piece of metal inside the thermostat itself. Use a wrench to keep the thermostat’s dial in place, and turn the screw back and forth with a screwdriver until you feel the contacts have opened. Wait a few seconds, tighten the screw, and replace the unit’s cover. This should reset the thermostat’s calibration.

If your thermostat has a mercury switch, you’ll need to move your thermostat so the mercury gauge is completely level. If your furnace is short-cycling, locate the heat anticipator in the thermostat. This is a small disc in the center of the thermostat with calibration numbers. It should also have an adjustment arm and the word “Longer” printed on it. Move the adjustment arm closer to the “Longer” setting by one calibration mark. If your thermostat never reaches your set temperature, move the arm one calibration mark away from the “Longer” setting.

Once you’ve made the proper adjustments, turn your thermostat back on and test it with a thermometer.

When to Contact Ahoy! Cooling & Heating for Assistance

If you’ve recalibrated your thermostat and your home still doesn’t feel comfortable, there might be something wrong that you won’t be able to fix. That’s where we can help you. Ahoy! Cooling & Heating serves homeowners in Tampa and the surrounding areas, and we will be happy to take a look at your thermostat to find out why it isn’t working properly. We also provide other heating and cooling services such as installations, repairs, and maintenance. Contact us whenever you suspect that you have an issue with your HVAC system.

For more information about our heating and cooling systems or for questions about calibrating your thermostat, contact Ahoy! Cooling & Heating in Temple Terrace, FL, today.

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