Thermostat Not Turning On: 4 Potential Reasons + Solutions

Thermostat Not Turning On (Blog Cover)

It can be frustrating when a thermostat is not turning on. You can think of your thermostat as the brain of your HVAC system. It signals the equipment to turn on and off and allows you to control the temperature in your home or place of business. 

Not only does a malfunctioning thermostat mean that your HVAC systems will not work correctly, but it could cost you money too. For example, suppose your thermostat signals your HVAC systems to kick off too early or too late. In that case, it could be costing you on your utility bills. 

Below, Plumbing Heating & Air Alliance outlines four potential reasons your thermostat is not turning on.

1) Electrical Problem

If you are looking at your thermostat and it is blank, the problem could be an electrical one. Like all electronic devices in your home or place of business, your thermostat is connected to your main electrical panel. 

As a safety precaution, a circuit will be tripped when a power surge or something weird and potentially dangerous happens in the electrical line. 

If your thermostat or HVAC system has tripped the breaker, your thermostat will not have anything on the screen, and you will be unable to use it. 

In this case, locate your main electrical panel and find the switches connected to your HVAC system. They may be labeled, or you may have to use good ol’ trial and error to reset the breaker for the HVAC system. 

If and when the breaker was tripped, you may see that the switch connected to the HVAC system has been switched off. In this case, all you would have to do is flip that particular switch back on. 

2) The Safety Switch

Your cooling or heating unit will have a safety switch that works like a failsafe when it detects abnormal conditions. If the sensor has gone off, the safety switch did its thing, which is to say that it turned the whole system off to prevent an accident or further damage. 

The safety switch is tripped when it detects abnormal moisture levels or high temperatures within your HVAC system. When it is tripped, it can cause your thermostat to go blank. 

This is a necessary safety precaution, to be sure. Still, the bad news is that it usually means that something is wrong with your HVAC system – something that, unless you have extensive experience working on HVAC units, will require the attention of a professional. 

You should start with your air conditioner if your heating and AC units are separate. The safety switch will be located in the drain pan. If you see that it has been set off, we highly recommend calling an HVAC professional as soon as possible. 

3) Battery Check

Hopefully, a simple battery swap can remedy a thermostat not turning on. If you see that you can’t operate your thermostat and the screen is simply blank, try taking out the existing batteries and replacing them with fresh ones. 

If this simple fix doesn’t work, something more serious is going on with your HVAC system. 

4) Life Expectancy

If your thermostat is simply not turning on, it could mean that it has merely reached the end of its lifespan. Most HVAC thermostats are projected to last about ten yearsAfter a thermostat hits the ten-year mark, it can start exhibiting signs of imminent failure. Such symptoms can include:

  • Turning your heating and cooling systems on for long periods
  • Preventing your heating and cooling systems from turning on at all
  • Activating your heating or cooling systems at temperatures that you didn’t set
  • The thermostat not turning on at all

If your thermostat is more than ten years old, you may consider replacing it at the first sign of malfunction. However, even if it seems to be working, it could be relaying inaccurate information to the rest of the system, causing it to run too long or not enough. 

It almost always means either a spike in heating/cooling bills or an uncomfortable living space when this happens. In any case, it’s always a good idea to have an HVAC specialist come out and take a look at your system.

The Most for Your Business and Your Customers

Knowing the common reasons why a thermostat may not function is essential for an HVAC specialist. Still, you have to be able to convey this information to your customers if you are an HVAC contractor. 

Sometimes even the most basic HVAC concepts can be lost on a layman. Still, the ability to explain complicated HVAC concepts to your customers will make them more likely to come back to you when they need future HVAC assistance. 

If you are a homeowner with thermostat problems, be sure to contact your local HVAC company to address the issues. Before hiring them, you can check their Google reviews and even check out their website.