Skip navigation


Serving Los Angeles and Orange County


SouthWest HVAC Blog

How Your Thermostat Can Trick You Into Thinking Your AC is Broken

Most people never stop to think about just how their thermostat works. You know you set the desired temperature on it, but that’s about it. What it actually does is pretty interesting, and it helps you understand its relationship with your air conditioner.

One of the most common repair requests with Downey air conditioning can be related to the thermostat. Let’s explain just what it does, why it could be giving phantom signs of a broken AC, and what you can do about it.

Your Thermostat Reads the Temperature of the House

It’s been placed in a strategic position so that it can get the best even temperature of the whole house, read it, and then communicate with the air conditioner. But… what happens if it’s not reading things correctly?

Something as simple as a two-degree difference can make you think that your air conditioner isn’t working. Sure, the thermostat says it’s 72° F, but you know what that feels like, and this isn’t it. The first thought you jump to is that the AC is broken, but it could actually be the thermostat–and it’s probably not even broken.

A Simple “On” or “Off”

Your air conditioner isn’t reading the temperature at all. In fact, it relies on your thermostat for everything. The thermostat sends a simple “on” signal or an “off” signal depending on the specifications. Then, the AC roars to life, works until the thermostat monitors the temperature, and sends that “off” signal to cease operation.

It’s a simple set of operations, but when the thermostat fails, it puts all attention on the air conditioner. Then you think something’s wrong with it, call for repairs, and it turns out it’s functioning perfectly–it’s just receiving the wrong set of instructions.

Miscalibrations Happen Over Time

When your thermostat was installed, the technician calibrated it to read the temperature correctly. But over time, just like how wear and tear happens, your thermostat can slowly wiggle its way out of being calibrated. It just happens from doing its job.

The good news is that your air conditioner likely isn’t in bad shape; however, your thermostat either needs to be recalibrated or it might need to be replaced. Miscalibrations can happen for multiple reasons, including damage to the sensor that makes it difficult or impossible for your thermostat to even read the temperature of the house.

Depending on what your technician says when they come out, you may end up going for a full thermostat replacement. Don’t worry–it’s nowhere near as expensive or time-intensive as replacing a condenser or another major AC component, but it’s definitely necessary.

Let’s Get This Fixed

Even if it is just a miscalibration, it needs to be handled as soon as possible. You need your comfort restored, and we’re up to the task. We’ll inspect your thermostat, diagnose the issue, and provide a solution to get you back on track before you know it.

Contact Southwest HVAC today to schedule your thermostat repair and air conditioner maintenance as soon as possible.

Comments are closed.