How to reset any thermostat, super simple fixes

Written by Jason Hutchinson
6 Min read
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If your thermostat is playing up and not doing what it should be it could be time for you to reset it. Resetting it will remove any settings or programming you have done to it, meaning it will be in the exact same state as when you bought it.

Resetting it is a good first solution for any problems you are having with HVAC, as often it will solve the issue and is relatively easy. If there has recently been a power outage, haven’t reset your thermostat in a long time, or just have very mischievous/curious children, you will find that more often than not a simple reset will fix your issue. Then, if still isn’t working, then you may have to move on to more advanced solutions.

So how do I reset my thermostat?

The first and best thing to do if you think it may need a reset is to consult the manual for your specific model as this is the surefire way for you to reset it. However, if you cannot find the solution for your specific thermostat find out what type of thermostat, as below we will list the ways to reset different types of thermostats.

Programmable thermostat

The method to reset a programmable thermostat is really easy as it just requires what is known as a battery flip flop, we will explain how to do that for you here.

  1. First things first, you want to make sure that it is turned off.
  2. Next, you need access to the batteries so you will need to open the battery door, if this is on the back of the thermostat you will need to take it off of the wall.
  3. Remove the batteries and put them in the opposite way, so the positive end of the battery should be where the negative end would normally be.
  4. Leave them in this position for 5 seconds and then return them to their normal positions.
  5. Now when you turn it on, it will have been reset and hopefully, your HVAC issue is now fixed!

Non-programmable digital thermostat

To reset a non-programmable digital thermostat, all you need to do is take the face off. Then you can either press the reset button for 5 seconds or alternatively, you can just remove the batteries for 5 seconds. Doing this should reset your thermostat.

Man adjusting thermostat

Mechanical thermostat

If it is not battery-powered and needs to be turned on, set, and turned off manually (non-programmable) that means it is a mechanical model. If you have an issue with a mechanical thermostat, before resetting it you will want to take the cover off of it and make sure that everything inside it looks secure and properly mounted. If it is, then you will need to reset the circuit breaker, we will explain how to do so below.

  1. Again, start off by turning it off.
  2. Then you need to locate the breaker that powers the HVAC system in your house/office and turn it off.
  3. Wait 30 seconds before turning the breaker back on.
  4. Now, when you turn your thermostat back on it should be reset.

Line voltage or low voltage thermostat

Line voltage or low voltage thermostats are ones which are normally associated with baseboard heating or a direct-wired electric furness. For these types of thermostats, you won’t be able to reset them you will just clean them, to clean them just follow the instructions below.

  1. Remove the cover.
  2. Using a soft brush, carefully clean the inside components.
  3. Now, set it to the lowest possible temperature and clean it again with a soft brush.
  4. Then, set it to the highest possible temperature and clean the components one more time.
  5. Finally, return the thermostat to your desired setting, don’t worry you won’t need to clean the components again! Until you next reset it that is.

Do I need to do anything else?

If you have managed to reset your thermostat and it all seems to be working perfectly and as you want it to, don’t forget about it just yet. Keep an eye on it for the next 2 hours or so just to make sure that it doesn’t start playing up again. Look out for any strange sounds or smells that might tell you that something is wrong.

The most likely and ideal scenario is that nothing else goes wrong and your thermostat has gone back to its normal working condition. However, it is just good practice to keep an eye on it just in case.

If it still isn’t working, or you do notice an issue in the 2 hours (or at any point) after resetting it, then it may be time for you to get in touch with a professional to help you resolve the issue. Because even if it is just a small issue at the moment, it could well turn into something bigger that might be more expensive to fix than your current issue.

Why does resetting a thermostat fix it?

Over longer periods of time, all of the programming and settings you’ve changed on your thermostat can get a little bit jumbled up or ‘lost in translation’. This is not abnormal and is not particularly something to worry about. It may also have been that you accidentally clicked one wrong button once and you changed some sort of setting deep in the programming. Another issue people sometimes find they get with their HVAC system is that the air conditioning gets slightly out of sync with the thermostat.

All of these problems can be fixed by resetting thermostats, as it will return them to the factory settings.

What temperature should I be setting my thermostat to?

Ideally, you want set it to operate within a certain range, as once the temperatures you are asking exceed that range the HVAC system with have to work extra hard to get your house to that temperature. This extra work that it has to do will be reflected in your energy bills, and no one wants that!

As a rule, you don’t want your home temperature to be more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 11 degrees Celsius) away from the outdoor temperature.

For more advice on settings click here to see what the department of energy has to say. We have also included a really helpful video they created below.

Energy Saver: Setting Your Thermostat for Comfort and Savings

How can I use my thermostat economically?

Energy bills can often be very high and an expense I imagine we all wish we didn’t have to pay. While we cannot completely get rid of your energy bills, sorry if we got your hopes up, but we can give you tips so that you can get them as low as possible.

  • Don’t push it too far – as we said in the section titled ‘What temperature should I be setting my thermostat to?’ at a certain temperature your thermostat will be having to work really hard and this will see your energy bills rise sharply. So to keep your bills lower do try to keep to within 20 degrees Fahrenheit of the outside temperature, whether that’s higher or lower.
  • Keep a constant temperature – turning your HVAC system on and off where and when you see fit is not the most efficient way to use it. It will work much better and much more economically if you set it on low power to maintain one temperature rather than turning it off and on again multiple times throughout the day.
  • Make use of the programming – if your thermostat has the ability to schedule when it turns on and off then this is something that is definitely worth making use of. If during the week there is no one at home during the day then there is no need for the HVAC to be on. You can schedule it so that it turns on just before you get home to save money.

To conclude

Hopefully, through reading this article you now know how you can reset your specific type of thermostat and, if all went well, resetting your thermostat corrected any issues you were having with it meaning you can now operate your HVAC system and use it to its full potential. If you were unlucky enough to reset your thermostat and it is still not working then it may be worth getting a professional to have a look at your thermostat so that it doesn’t turn into a bigger issue.

In this article, we have also given you some more information on thermostats and how you should be using yours, and how you can potentially use it slightly more efficiently to save some of your hard-earned money!

What does the hold button do on a thermostat?

The hold button on a thermostat tells the HVAC system to maintain the current temperature in the house. So rather than having to set a temperature that you want the house to be kept at, it will just maintain whatever the temperature is when you set it to hold.

Appliances made simple. 

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