How Often Do The Buttons Break on a HVAC Thermostat?

How Often Do The Buttons Break on a HVAC Thermostat?

, by Thrive Agency, 6 min reading time

Over time, the physical buttons on an HVAC thermostat will break. When this happens, it will prompt the homeowner to find a replacement for their HVAC thermostat. However, often, a customer cannot just order a replacement button. They have to order a new thermostat replacement.

Note that several types of thermostats are available, and each one will have different sets of buttons and controls for them. For some thermostats, there will be a slide instead of a button, while others will have at least a power button. 

Below, you will learn about the different buttons, HVAC sensors, and other parts of your thermostat that may need replacement. You will also learn about the signs to watch out for. We will also cover a few practical steps to troubleshoot your unit and find a replacement.

How Frequently Do Buttons Break on a Thermostat?

The frequency with which buttons break on an HVAC thermostat can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the thermostat, how frequently it's used, and how it's handled. Generally, well-made thermostats can withstand regular use for several years without experiencing button failures. However, it's not uncommon for buttons, controls, or the HVAC sensor to wear out or malfunction over time, especially if the thermostat is older or subjected to heavy use.

Signs That the HVAC Sensor or Buttons are Broken

Here are some of the crucial signs to look out for that indicate your thermostat buttons or the thermostat itself may be broken:

Unresponsive Buttons

If you press the buttons on your thermostat and nothing happens, or if you have to press them multiple times for them to register, it could indicate a problem with the buttons or the internal mechanisms of the thermostat.

Sticky or Stuck Buttons

When pressed, buttons that feel sticky or stuck can signify debris or damage within the button mechanism. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean the controls.

Erratic Behavior

If the thermostat behaves unpredictably, such as displaying incorrect temperatures, turning the HVAC system on and off unexpectedly, or failing to maintain the set temperature, it could indicate a malfunctioning thermostat.

Physical Damage

Visible damage to the thermostat, such as cracks in the display or housing, can also indicate that it needs to be replaced.

If you see the signs mentioned above or suspect that your HVAC thermostat is broken or malfunctioning, here are steps to determine if replacement is necessary:

  • Check the Batteries: If your thermostat uses batteries, replace them with fresh ones and see if the issues persist. Weak or dying batteries can cause various malfunctions.
  • Clean the Thermostat: Dust, dirt, and debris can interfere with the buttons and internal components of the thermostat. Gently clean the exterior of the thermostat with a soft brush or cloth, and use compressed air to clean around the buttons and inside any crevices.
  • Reset the Thermostat: Many thermostats have a reset button or procedure that can help resolve minor issues. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for how to reset your specific thermostat model.
  • Test the HVAC System: If the thermostat appears to be functioning but the HVAC system is not responding correctly, it could indicate a problem with the heating or cooling equipment rather than the thermostat itself. Have a professional HVAC technician inspect the system to diagnose and address any issues.

If you have conducted all the above steps and your thermostat continues to malfunction, it may be time to replace it. Consult a professional HVAC technician to select a suitable replacement thermostat for your system and ensure it is installed correctly.

Types of Thermostats with Included Buttons and Controls

Thermostats come in various types, each with its own set of features and controls. Here are some common types of thermostats, along with the typical buttons or controls they may have:

  1. Manual Thermostats

Manual thermostats are considered basic models with simple controls. Here are the common buttons you will find on these units:

  • Temperature Control Buttons: These buttons allow users to adjust the desired temperature settings.
  • On/Off Switch or Power Button: This button turns the HVAC system on or off.
  1. Digital Programmable Thermostats

Compared to manual thermostats, digital programmable thermostats offer more advanced scheduling options for temperature control. Some of its standard buttons include:

  • Temperature Control Buttons: Like manual thermostats, digital programmable thermostats have buttons to adjust the temperature settings.
  • Mode Selection Buttons: These buttons allow you to choose between heating, cooling, and fan-only modes.
  • Program/Reset Button: This button is used to set or adjust the programmed schedule and may also be used to reset the thermostat to its default settings.
  • Time and Day Buttons: These buttons set the current time and day of the week for programming schedules.
  1. Smart Thermostats

Smart thermostats offer remote access and advanced features such as learning capabilities and integration with smart home systems. Here are some of the common controls you will find in this type of thermostat:

  • Touchscreen Display: Smart thermostats often have touchscreen displays for intuitive navigation and control.
  • Mobile App Control: Smart thermostats may be controlled using a smartphone app instead of physical buttons, allowing you to adjust settings remotely.
  • Voice Control: Some smart thermostats support voice commands via virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • Mode Selection and Scheduling Options: Similar to digital programmable thermostats, smart thermostats may have buttons or menus for selecting modes and programming schedules.
  1. Line Voltage Thermostats

Line voltage thermostats control electric heating systems such as baseboard heaters. Some of its common controls include the following:

  • Temperature Control Dial: Instead of buttons, line voltage thermostats typically have a dial or knob for adjusting the temperature settings.
  • On/Off Switch: This switch controls the power to the heating system.

In addition to buttons, some thermostats may feature sliders or dials for adjusting settings, particularly for temperature control. These sliders or dials function similarly to buttons but offer a different tactile experience.

Shop for Quality Thermostats from Reputable Suppliers

Choosing a model compatible with your HVAC system is essential when considering thermostat replacement. It meets your specific needs in terms of features and controls. If the physical buttons on your thermostat break, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire thermostat rather than attempting to repair or replace individual buttons.

Value Controls is the trusted supplier of premium quality thermostats and controls for various units. We also supply new and used EMS and HVAC controls covered by a two-year warranty. Shop for wireless thermostats on Value Controls or call us at 1-800-584-9901.


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