Tips for Maintaining Your Thermostat

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Home Improvement

How to Check and Calibrate Your Thermostat

If you want to ensure your thermostat is working correctly, you can follow these steps:

Step 1: Attach a glass tube thermometer to the wall near the thermostat, ensuring the thermometer and the thermostat are not affected by any outside temperature influences. If there is a hole in the wall behind the thermostat, ensure it is not allowing cold air to reach the thermostat and affect its reading.

Step 2: Wait about 15 minutes for the mercury to stabilize, then compare the reading on the thermometer with the reading of the thermostat needle.

Step 3: If there is a variation of more than a degree, check to see if the thermostat is dirty. To examine it, remove the faceplate, usually held by a snap or friction catch. Blow away any dust inside it, but do not use a vacuum cleaner as its suction is too strong. If there are accessible contact points, clean them by rubbing a new dollar bill between them. Do not use sandpaper or emery cloth. If the element is coiled, use a soft brush to clean it.

Step 4: If the thermostat has a mercury vial, use a level to ensure it is straight. If it is not level, loosen the mounting screws and adjust it until it is level, then retighten the screws.

Step 5: After cleaning the thermostat, check it again with the glass thermometer. If it is still not calibrated properly, it should be replaced as detailed in the section below.

Check out the next section for tips on how to replace a thermostat.

Tools You’ll Need

To check and calibrate your thermostat, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Glass tube thermometer
  • Tape
  • Paper towel
  • New dollar bill or soft brush
  • Level
  • Screwdriver

Read More


1. What is a thermostat?

A thermostat is a device that controls the temperature in your home by turning on and off your heating and cooling system. It measures the temperature in your home and adjusts your heating and cooling system to maintain the desired temperature.

2. How often should I change my thermostat batteries?

You should change your thermostat batteries at least once a year to ensure that your thermostat is functioning properly. If you have a digital thermostat, it will usually indicate when the batteries are low.

3. How do I know if my thermostat is working correctly?

You can test your thermostat by turning up the heat or air conditioning and seeing if the temperature in your home changes. If the temperature does not change, your thermostat may need to be replaced.

4. How often should I replace my thermostat?

Thermostats typically last for many years, but you may need to replace it if it is not working properly or if you want to upgrade to a newer model. It is recommended to replace your thermostat every 10-15 years.

5. How can I save energy with my thermostat?

You can save energy with your thermostat by setting it to a lower temperature in the winter and a higher temperature in the summer when you are not home or sleeping. You can also invest in a programmable thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature based on your schedule.

6. What should I do if my thermostat is not responding?

If your thermostat is not responding, check the batteries and make sure that it is properly connected to your heating and cooling system. If it still does not work, you may need to call a professional to repair or replace it.

7. Can I install a thermostat myself?

You can install a thermostat yourself, but it is recommended to hire a professional if you are not experienced with wiring and electrical systems. Incorrect installation can lead to damage to your heating and cooling system.

8. What should I do if my thermostat is reading the wrong temperature?

If your thermostat is reading the wrong temperature, it may be placed in an area that is exposed to direct sunlight or drafts. You can try moving it to a more appropriate location or recalibrating it.

9. How do I clean my thermostat?

You can clean your thermostat by gently wiping it with a soft cloth. Avoid using water or cleaning products, as they can damage the thermostat.

10. What is a smart thermostat?

A smart thermostat is a thermostat that can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app or other internet-connected device. It can also learn your schedule and adjust the temperature accordingly, helping you save energy and money.

11. Are there any safety concerns with thermostats?

Older thermostats may contain mercury, which can be harmful if it is released into the environment. It is important to dispose of old thermostats properly and replace them with newer models that do not contain mercury.

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