Commercial HVAC Thermostat Problems You May See In Winter

Friday, December 27th, 2019
HVAC thermostat set to 63 degrees

Your thermostat is one of the components of your commercial HVAC system you probably don’t think about often. This small piece does its vital job quietly in the background, until something breaks. During the winter, any breakdown in your HVAC system can be problematic for your employees and customers. Understanding your system and the issues it can face will help you know why it is giving you trouble.

Types of thermostats

It can be helpful to know the difference between the types of thermostats before trying to troubleshoot them.

Electromechanical thermostats

These are older and more basic components of an HVAC system. Each one contains a strip of two different metals, sometimes shaped in a coil, that sits under the casing. When the temperature fluctuates, the metal will expand and contract. This activates the contacts on one or both sides of the thermostat.

If the thermostat controls one system (air conditioner or heater), it will have a contact on one side. If you have a dual-controlled thermostat, the contacts will be on both sides and will be controlled by a tilting switch. Sometimes there is a mercury switch in these units.

Electronic thermostats

Modern HVAC thermostats are like small computers. These are often programmable and known as “smart thermostats.” They give you versatility with temperature controls among other benefits. You can use electronic thermostats to set different temperatures at different times. For example, if your business is only open Monday-Friday, you can set the temperature lower or higher over the weekend. Although these offer more convenience and options than electromechanical thermostats, they also have more moving parts, which means more complicated repairs.

Common issues that could be caused by the thermostat

Now that you know a little bit more about thermostats, you can move on to potentially troubleshooting them. It can be easier to leave this to a professional, but if you want to know more before calling them, learning about the following can help.

The heater won’t start

If the heater at your commercial property won’t start, it can cause problems for your employees and customers. You can check the HVAC system and thermostat for some issues before calling in a professional.

  1. First, check the power source. You’ll be looking for blown fuses, dead batteries, and tripped breakers.
  2. Next, look for a buildup of dirt, debris, spider webs, and nicotine. All of these can accumulate in the thermostat and cause the components to break down or malfunction. Use a soft, clean brush or compressed air to clean inside the thermostat.
  3. Finally, look for loose screws and corroded wires. Turn the power off to the unit before doing this.
  4. Always use the owner’s manual when troubleshooting your HVAC thermostat.
  5. If you encounter any of the above issues and cannot fix them with these tips, make a note of what you found and tell the HVAC technician.

The temperature in the room and on the thermostat don’t match

If you or your employees notice that the temperature doesn’t feel accurate compared to what the thermostat says, you can investigate the issue. Tape a small thermometer next to the thermostat on the wall, placing a paper towel behind it. Wait at least fifteen minutes and then compare the temperatures. If they are one degree apart or more, let the commercial HVAC technician know.

Here are some other factors to consider when this issue happens.

  • The thermostat can malfunction if it isn’t clean.
  • If this part of your HVAC system isn’t level, it can result in errors.
  • An HVAC thermostat is sensitive to direct sunlight and drafts. Be sure yours is placed in a neutral location.

The HVAC system won’t turn off, or switches on and off

When your heater doesn’t turn on in the winter, it can be frustrating. But, when it is constantly turning on and off or won’t go off at all, that can be even worse. Some of the issues above can be causing this. If taking steps to clean the thermostat doesn’t solve the issue, try setting the temperature lower or higher.

Taking care of your commercial HVAC system

What does all of this mean for you? It could mean that your business will not be heated at all or be heated unevenly. The thermostat can actually damage the HVAC system and cause your bills to increase as well.

If you think your thermostat could be causing issues for your commercial HVAC system, contact the experts at Allen’s Tri-State Mechanical. We offer Commercial HVAC services throughout the Texas Panhandle and Tri-State area. Give us a call at (806) 376-8345 or Send Us an email to learn more.