How to Troubleshoot Your Room Thermostat Problems

If you are not getting the heat you need, you should learn how to troubleshoot your room thermostat problems.

Test the Thermometer
  • If you believe the room thermostat isn’t operating due to a faulty thermometer, test it. Tape a piece of paper towel to the wall next to the thermostat and then tape a household thermometer to the paper towel. Wait for 15 minutes to read the thermometer. If the thermometer in the thermostat reads differently, you need to perform some thermostat maintenance.
  • Turn the room thermostat off at the breaker box panel. Make sure it is off by clicking to the “Fan” setting.
  • Clean the room thermostat by removing the cover and then rubbing a piece of adhesive shelf liner or even a dollar bill between all the thermostat’s contact points.
  • Turn the power back on and repeat the thermometer test. If still not reading correctly, try changing any batteries.
Switching Off and On
  • If the problem is that the heater or air conditioner turns off and on constantly, you probably do not have a thermometer problem. More than likely, you have a faulty heat anticipator. This is a device designed to shut the room thermostat off when the room reaches your selected temperature setting. While you have the cover off, locate the center disk and move its lever control toward the “longer” setting.

Need a new thermostat? Compare brands, types and prices with our Thermostats Buyer's Guide.

Electric Convection Baseboard Heaters

Like freestanding hydronic units, convection baseboard heaters are powered by electricity. They also feature individual thermostatic control. Instead of heating water to transfer heat, electricity powers up an internal heating element. Cool air at floor level is drawn into the intake vent, heated then blown with a fan out into the room. Their built-in thermostat regulates the cycle of each unit.

Differences and Commonalities

A built-in hydronic system requires a complex installation and will be expensive for preexisting homes. However, it is one of the most efficient ways to heat a home and is more cost effective in terms of operation. Both types of self-contained wall heaters are far easier to install, but you'll likely pay more for the hydronic variety. Radiant heat has the added advantage of continuing to emit warmth even after the heater switches off, increasing the efficiency of its operation.