How to Reset AC Thermostat

Is your AC or furnace short cycling, failing to start, or generally not giving you the correct temperature? This may be a thermostat issue, and that’s the first place you should look. The thermostat is the control center of your HVAC system, which means it affects every aspect of the HVAC performance.

Luckily, a simple reset may be able to fix the problem. Resetting means you are reverting the thermostat back to factory settings, which will resolve all the programming issues. This is a how-to reset thermostat guide to help you keep your home at the right temperature.

Why do AC thermostats need a reset?

Thermostats are electronic devices that send signals to the AC. Since they work just like your phone or computer, they can also experience issues that warrant a reset. This includes getting stuck in cold or warm settings or just an unexplainable delay.

In most cases, this happens after a power outage where the thermostat gets stuck where it was when the power went out. Resetting eliminates these issues and allows you to input new programming and settings.

But do you know how to reset a thermostat?

Here are the steps that you should follow:

Know your thermostat

The important thing to know is that various types of thermostats require different techniques to reset. Ask yourself these questions before you even touch the thermostat panel:

Is my thermostat analog or digital? You can tell if it’s digital if it has a display with digital numbers instead of printed numbers on the surface. Most digital thermostats also use buttons instead of dials, slides, or levers. If your thermostat is analog, you can’t reset it. Does my thermostat use batteries? Am I dealing with a communicating thermostat or a universal one?

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Read your user manual

Since the process of resetting thermostats varies with type, the safest way to do it is to read its user manual. The manufacturer’s manual always has directions for resetting the thermostat. If you don’t have the manual, however, you can find it online or at least find the procedure by searching your model.

For those who don’t have time to do all that, we have outlined simple reset procedures you can follow for a few thermostat types.

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How to reset thermostat: Step-by-step guide

Here is how you can reset various types of thermostats.

Programmable Thermostats

Resetting a programmable thermostat is the easiest thing you can do. Here are the steps:

  • Switch off the thermostat
  • Open the battery wall. If the thermostat battery door is at the back, you will have to take it down from the wall to access the batteries.
  • Remove the batteries, and be sure to check if they need to be replaced.
  • Place the batteries backward so that the negative side lines up with the positive terminal. Leave them that way for 5-10 seconds.
  • Remove the batteries and insert them the right way this time. If the display turns on, it’s likely your thermostat has been reset. You will need to check the performance of your HVAC unit to confirm, though.
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Non-Programmable Digital Thermostat

With non-programmable digital thermostats, you only need to press the reset button for at least five seconds or take out the batteries.

Sometimes, the reset button is so small that you need a pen or a paperclip to press it. Any of these will reset the unit, and it will revert back to factory settings.

Low Voltage Electronic Thermostats

Resetting a low voltage or line voltage thermostat is also easy. However, you need to clean a few components, then test different settings. Follow these steps:

  • Expose the internal components by removing the thermostat cover.
  • Using a soft brush, gently clean the components one by one.
  • Set your thermostat to low.
  • Repeat the cleaning process of the components.
  • Now, set your thermostat to a high and once again clean the coils.
  • Lastly, set your thermostat to its desired setting.

Mechanical Thermostat

A mechanical thermostat doesn’t have batteries or a digital display. If you need to set this type of thermostat, or turn it on or off, you must do it manually with levers and knobs. For this reason, you can only reset it from the circuit breaker.

  • Turn off the thermostat by putting it in the off position.
  • Find the circuit breaker that powers the HVAC system and turn it off.
  • Wait 30 seconds to a minute, and then turn the breaker back on.
  • Turn the thermostat on.

Communicating Thermostats

Today, most HVAC equipment manufacturers are moving to proprietary communicating thermostats because of their efficiency. These thermostats communicate running conditions and any error code between the thermostat, air handler, and condenser.

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Proprietary communicating thermostats maintain crucial information for service technicians, so you should not reset them. If you suspect the issue has to do with your thermostat, call the service technician who will use the data retained in the thermostat to determine where the fault is and correct it. Besides, resetting a thermostat before repairing the problems that caused it to stop working can damage the unit.

What to do if your efforts to reset thermostat operations fail

Sometimes, learning how to reset an AC thermostat isn’t enough. While some thermostats reset regularly by themselves, others will stay put despite your efforts to reset them.

In some cases, the thermostat has bigger issues. Hardware problems like loose wires, a faulty reset switch, and short-circuiting can lead to thermostat malfunctions. Your best bet here will be to replace the entire thermostat.

Hopefully, the procedures above will help you reset your thermostat and have it working again as new. If it doesn’t, consider that the thermostat may not be the issue. Other parts of the AC or furnace could be causing temperature changes or failures.

For example, an old air filter, frozen coils, dirty components, and a malfunctioning fan could cause similar issues. Call a qualified service technician to take a closer look and diagnose the real problem before you throw away that thermostat.

Direct Air professionals are always ready to heed your call and sort out your AC problems. Reach us through a phone call or simply write to us on our online platforms, and we will help solve all your HVAC problems.

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