BVS Home Experts

How to Check Thermostat Wires for Power

Are you experiencing a faulty thermostat? Don’t worry; BVS Home Experts can help you when you call (281) 809-6417.

Your thermostat regulates your home’s temperature, controlling your HVAC system with precision and skill. However, sometimes, thermostats lose power, preventing you from receiving the cool or warm air you need. Many homeowners struggle with faulty thermostats, so they want to know how to fix their units.

BVS Home Experts, a reliable heating and air conditioning company in Katy, is here to explain how to check thermostat wires for power. In this guide, you’ll learn how thermostats work, as well as three reliable testing methods you can use.

How Do Thermostats Work?

Most people understand that thermostats control a home’s temperature, yet few understand how these modern marvels actually work. It’s worth understanding how thermostats work before considering how to check thermostat wires for power.

Thermostats use a small temperature sensor known as a thermistor. The thermistor relies on electric power to detect changes in temperature, and it then transmits signals to the air conditioner via thermostat wiring. Once the air conditioner receives these signals, it adjusts its cooling pattern until the thermostat detects your desired temperature.

How to Pretest Your Thermostat

Testing your thermostat can require extensive work. Yet, in some cases, it’s possible to perform a simple pretest that will tell you if your wires have power within a few minutes. If you own an air conditioner, turn your thermostat all the way down, and if you own a furnace, turn it up.  

This pretest will work for a smart thermostat and other models. 

A Bypass Test

Unfortunately, it’s all too possible that you will pretest your thermostat only to find out that it isn’t operational. Remove the thermostat cover to access your unit’s wiring. You should see a network of labeled, colored wires; if you don’t, you’ll need to remove the sensor plate that frequently covers wires with a few screws.

Shut off the Power

Now that you have access to your unit’s wires, turn off the power. You can do so by shutting off your circuit breaker or by unplugging the unit itself.

Attach the G-Wire and R-Wire

Once you’ve turned off the unit’s power supply, locate two wires. One should have the label R, and the other the letter G. Remove them from their terminals and twist them together.

Restore Power

Plug the unit back in, or if you shut it off with the circuit breaker, flip the relevant switches back on. You should hear your system power on if it’s operational.

Fix the Wires

After you complete the test, don’t forget to replace your unit’s wires, disentangling them and placing them back in their original position at their specific terminals.

Testing Your Thermostat With a Multimeter

It’s one thing to know how to check thermostat wires for power using a pretest or bypass test. However, the easiest way to test a thermostat that does not require powering down your unit or disconnecting wires involves using a multimeter. A multimeter is a simple electronic device that uses a dial to measure power voltage within an electrical system.

Access the Wires

As with the other tests, you need to begin by removing the thermostat cover. Just as before, if you need to remove the sensor plate to access the wires, do so, setting the plate and relevant screws nearby in a safe place.

Prepare the Meter

Once you’ve accessed the unit’s wires, set your meter dial to an appropriate dial setting. This setting depends on your thermostat’s voltage; if you have a 24 V thermostat, for instance, set your meter within that range.

Connect the Multimeter to the Thermostat

Place the multimeter’s red probe onto the thermostat terminal marked R for red; you can place the black probe onto any of the other terminals. The multimeter reading should be at or close to the thermostat’s voltage level.

Resistance Testing

You might need to test your thermostat’s continuity if you disconnected it from your system. Switch your meter to read resistance levels or ohms; a lower range of around 200 ohms works best. Then, go ahead and attach the multimeter’s probes to the thermostat.

Ideally, you won’t see any reading come back that suggests you’re experiencing high resistance levels. High resistance levels indicate that your unit’s wiring may be faulty or that one of the thermostat’s internal components requires replacement.

Thermostat Maintenance Tips

Knowing how to check thermostat wires for power is crucial, yet there are other steps you can take to maintain your system’s thermostat that you should be familiar with. Before calling your local HVAC professionals for assistance, you might be able to fix your unit if you swap out the unit’s batteries; this simple fix can make all the difference.

It also helps to inspect your furnace or air conditioner’s air filters. Air filters clog over time and can lead to overheating, which in turn interferes with thermostat operations. It’s common for clogged air filters to prevent blowers from working, in particular.

Familiarize yourself with your unit’s manual. Thermostat manuals contain a vast index of error codes that can shed light on your unit’s problems and may provide an at-home fix that will save you time and money. It’s entirely possible that your unit’s issues result from a simple programming error, as many homeowners — especially those with new programmable thermostats — fail to properly manage their unit’s settings.

Expert HVAC Services in Katy, TX

Although you now understand how to check thermostat wires for power, you may experience other issues with your home’s heating and cooling system that warrant professional care. BVS Home Experts provides quality HVAC care in Katy, TX, and our experts are always glad to help. We understand the difference between programmable vs. non-programmable thermostats and can upgrade or repair your home’s thermostats with skill and precision.

Call us at (281) 809-6417 to get a free quote. Ask us about our 24/7 service and learn more!

Author Bio:

Ronald Via

Ronald is one of the key contributors to BVS Home Experts, a family-owned and operated full-service air conditioning and heating company serving the Katy and West Houston areas. With a deep understanding of air conditioning and heating concerns, Ronald brings a wealth of knowledge to our readers.

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