It is no longer a secret that “smart” programmable thermostats are one of the best inclusions in every home. These devices save you money, provide consistent temperatures, optimize your HVAC system, and save time spent when adjusting your home’s temperature. However, these benefits may become a mirage when the thermostat goes blank.
Read on to learn why your thermostat may have a blank screen and what to do to fix the problem. In many cases, it may just be a slight issue that you can solve without any technical prowess.
Common Troubleshooting Tips for a Blank Smart Thermostat
1. Double-Check to Ensure the Thermostat Is On
This may seem too obvious to mention, but your thermostat may simply be turned off. Someone may have turned the device off without you knowing, especially if you have curious kids in your house. So, before you move on to other steps, check the settings button or switch to ensure that it is turned on.
2. Inspect the Thermostat Batteries
Depending on your thermostat model, some of its functions may depend on batteries. Typically, thermostats use two AA batteries, and we specifically recommend using lithium batteries with a lifespan of five years. If you have had your thermostat for a while and it has stopped working, you may need to change the batteries. It’s a good idea to test your thermostat batteries every year to ensure they still have a charge. Thermostats that are improperly powered can’t send signals to your heating and cooling system and will display a blank screen.
3. Take a Look at the Screen Display Brightness Level
There are some thermostats that allow you to adjust their brightness levels. A thermostat may seem blank when the brightness is simply set very low. There are other thermostats that auto-dim their screen during the day or when there is too much light shining on them. Be sure to check the display’s brightness levels once you find the thermostat blank to rule out this as the cause.
4. Check for a Circuit Breaker Trip
Most thermostats, especially the modern programmable ones with wireless capabilities, are connected to the main electrical system of a home. In the event that a circuit breaker trips, it shuts off the power supply to the thermostat, causing the screen to go blank. There are various causes for a circuit breaker to trip, including when a homeowner runs multiple appliances at the same time. A recent power surge in the house will also cause a tripped circuit breaker. If you find that this is the problem, the thermostat screen should go back on once you flip the affected breaker.
5. Check for a Tripped High-Limit Switch
Most furnaces have a safety mechanism referred to as a high-limit switch or a temperature limit switch. This mechanism is designed to shut the furnace down if the burner temperature exceeds a safe range. If your thermostat goes blank after running a furnace cycle, this may be the cause. Typically, the furnace will kick back on once the temperature returns to a normal range, but you may want to schedule an appointment with a heating technician to inspect the cause of the issue.
6. Do Some Screen Cleaning
During the offseason, your smart thermostat may have been sitting idle, leading to dust accumulation on its display screen. If there is a lot of dust buildup due to lack of use or a recent construction project, you may need to remove the thermostat cover and gently wipe out the dust using a soft brush or compressed air to restore screen function.
7. Look for Wiring Problems
Newly installed thermostats are likely to face wiring problems if they were installed by someone inexperienced with the process. This problem may prevent the thermostat from receiving power, leading to a blank thermostat screen. We recommend seeking the services of an HVAC expert to handle any wiring-related problems.
8. Make Sure the HVAC Access Door Isn’t Open
Your HVAC system has an access door that gives heating and air technicians access to internal parts when carrying out maintenance or essential repairs. For safety reasons, this door should be closed during operation. In fact, many HVAC systems will not operate if the door is open. Many thermostats, including those manufactured by Honeywell, are also designed to shut off when the access door is open. So, if you find your screen blank and you’ve ruled out other more obvious causes, check to make sure this door is closed.
9. Check for a Blown Fuse
A blown-out fuse is another common problem that makes thermostat screens blank. Many thermostats have fuses to protect the device in case of an electrical issue. To check for a blown fuse, open the front panel and look for a clear cylinder with metal ends and a metal filament running through the center. If the filament is broken, replacing the fuse should fix the problem. If the fuse continues to blow after replacement, reach out to an HVAC technician to find the source of the problem.
10. Consider Replacing Your Thermostat
If you have tried all of the troubleshooting tips above and your thermostat is still blank, it may be time for a replacement. Most thermostats will last 10 years or more, but they will all need to be replaced at some point. If you haven’t installed a new thermostat for quite some time, you will be surprised by all the options available to you. Investing in a new smart thermostat can give you better control of your heating and cooling, which can equate to savings on your monthly energy bills. When the time comes to install a new thermostat, there are a couple of things to consider so that it operates optimally for your home.
Factors to Consider for Optimal Thermostat Operation
A thermostat features a temperature sensor that sends signals to the HVAC system to either turn on or off based on the settings you input. When installing your thermostat, it’s important to place it in an area that provides a good representation of the temperature in your common living areas. Placing it in the kitchen, for instance, is a bad idea because this room is often warmer than other areas of the house. You also want to ensure that the thermostat is away from windows that let in sunlight because that can lead to falsely high temperature readings that will ultimately affect your comfort.
A programmable thermostat can go a long way in helping you reduce energy use and costs. Be sure to use your thermostat programming in your favor by setting different heating and cooling schedules based on when you are home. For example, you can set the thermostat to turn down the heating or cooling setting during the hours you work and then return to a high setting an hour or so before you return.
Advanced smart thermostats have features that can learn your behaviors and adjust the settings for you. Some even have “geofencing” features that trigger the HVAC system to turn on or off when your connected smartphone enters or exits a certain radius around your home. To learn more about thermostat features and energy-saving techniques, an HVAC technician can be the ideal resource to turn to.
Reach Out for Professional Help Today
At Gallagher's Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, we can help you troubleshoot a blank thermostat and install a new device if needed. Our team offers a full range of HVAC services in Sacramento and the entire Northern Valley area. You can turn to us for heating and air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance. We also provide a variety of plumbing services. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.