Thermostat Auto Setting Not Working

smart thermostat near window

Many thermostats have an auto mode, which automatically controls warming and cooling patterns. However, thermostat settings can fail, and many people have reported experiencing problems with thermostat auto settings. This piece explains the potential causes of, and possible solutions for, thermostat auto settings problems.

Possible Causes of Thermostat Autosettings Problems

Software Problems

The most common cause of auto settings problems is software failure. The thermostat uses software to regulate heating and cooling. If the system's software is glitching, chances are the auto settings feature won't work. Other settings will be affected by this problem too. The thermostat may be unable to detect temperature changes, for example, which can cause serious issues.

Wiring Problems

thermostat wiring

Thermostat wiring can cause issues if it's not done well. Some thermostats contain up to eight wires. If you do the wiring yourself and fail to place the wires in the right terminals, you're likely to have problems.

Besides connecting the wrong wires to the wrong terminals, you may also have wiring problems with broken wires. Open the thermostat and check to see if any wires have snapped out of their position. This could be the main reason you're having problems.

Power Problems

All thermostats come with a manual that indicates their minimal power requirements. If the source of power does not provide the required voltage for the thermostat, you may experience problems. Faulty power sources are a common issue, for instance, where the polarity of your source is reversed.

Problems with the Sensor

The sensor is responsible for providing feedback when you set up your thermostat. With a bad sensor, you'll experience problems that may include an unresponsive panel and auto-setting failure.

thermostat with sensor pole

How to Solve the Problem

After looking at all the above issues and determining the possible cause of the thermostat settings problem, you want to try solving it. Below are the possible solutions to a malfunctioning thermostat.

Step 1 - Restart/Reset Your Thermostat

The first step you should take before doing anything else is to try and restart the system. Restarting the system simply means turning it off and turning it back on. If the problem still persists, you want to reset it by completely shutting it down.

This will involve switching it off and disconnecting the HVAC system from power. Once you switch the thermostat off, cut off the power supply from the circuit breaker and leave the system alone for about one minute. Turn on the power back and try setting the thermostat one more time.

Step 2 - Check the Wiring

When it comes to checking the wiring, it is just a formality. If your thermostat has been functioning well, wiring is less likely to be a problem of concern. However, just check to see if the cables have snapped out of position. Make sure all the cables are well attached to the required terminals.

Step 3 - Factory Reset the Thermostat

If all the above approaches do not deliver any results, you want to check the thermostat settings. In some instances, you may mess up with the settings to an extent that you do not know what to do anymore.

At this point, you should attempt going for the factory settings option. To factory reset your thermostat, check the manual to see the steps. In most cases, you will find an option for factory resetting your thermostat as the last option under your settings.

Step 4 - Replace Your Thermostat

If all of the above approaches fail, chances are that your thermostat is dead and you will need to replace it. In some instances, you may want to try and replace the sensor. However, this is often not a guaranteed solution. Chances are that you may replace the sensor and still have the problems you are experiencing.

Thermostat Auto Setting FAQ

What Happens When You Set Thermostat to Auto?

hand adjusting smart thermostat

With auto settings on, the thermostat senses when the house is getting warmer or colder and triggers cooling or heating to start.

The thermostat auto setting is very important because it helps save power, which means saving money. With thermostats that have auto settings, you have the benefit of only using power when it's necessary.

Is It Good to Set the Thermostat on Auto?

Yes. Setting your thermostat to auto is one of the best ways of enjoying the benefits of the home heating system while keeping your bills to a minimum.

Why Is My Heat Not Turning On Automatically?

The thermostat regulates when heating should start and stop using temperature sensors. For the heat to turn on automatically, you must either set the heat on or set the thermostat to auto mode.

Common problems that may cause your thermostat to fail include failed thermostat sensors, lack of batteries for your thermostat, and poor connection to the power source.

If hot air doesn't flow from your thermostat automatically, set it to the highest possible temperature and wait for a few minutes. In 30 minutes, your thermostat should be heating the home. If this doesn't happen, you may want to do a diagnosis of the thermostat to see if it has a problem.

How Do You Know a Thermostat Is Bad?

The first and common indication of a bad thermostat is that it does not turn on your HVAC when you adjust the temperature.

The other sign that the thermostat is bad is that it may have disrupted signals. This may result in irregular heating despite having the temperature set to a certain level.

With that in mind, irregular heating and disrupted signal may not necessarily mean that the thermostat is bad. In some instances, it's just a question of having a bad battery. If the batteries are bad, you will experience problems with your thermostat, which will also affect the running of the entire HVAC.

Why Does My Thermostat Not Reach the Set Temperature?

thermostat at zero

The main causes of a thermostat failing to reach the required levels include dust build-up, damage, or having a thermostat that does not match your home size.

It is important to ensure that the thermostat you use in your home, matches the size of your home. If the device is too small for the area it needs to warm, it will not produce the required temperatures.

If your thermostat has been heating your home well but fails after some time, chances are that there is dirt building up inside the device. Clogged heating vents will lead to the failure of the device to reach its temperatures.

The other possible cause of failed thermostat heating is poor positioning. If the device is not located in the right place, it may fail to cover the entire room, even though it is designed to serve such a room in size.

Can Low Batteries Affect Thermostat?

Low batteries should always be the first culprits to look at whenever your thermostat malfunctions. Many issues can crop up if your thermostat batteries are low, including over or underheating.

When you spot any type of malfunction in your system, the first thing try changing your batteries before you carry out any other diagnosis.

How Do I Reset My Thermostat after Changing the Battery?

In some cases, it's necessary to reset your thermostat after changing the batteries. This is because the system usually malfunctions and may show inaccurate readings. After removing the batteries and replacing them with new ones, you should reset the system so it starts functioning normally.

To reset your thermostat after changing the batteries, start by powering off your thermostat. Once you have powered it off, remove the old batteries and put in the new batteries the wrong way; that is with the negative end to the positive terminal. Do the same with the positive end to the negative terminals.

Let your batteries stay in the thermostat for a few seconds to drain out any power so that the system is completely powered off. After 10 seconds or so, remove the batteries and put them back in the correct way. Restart your thermostat and set it to any temperature you like.

Your thermostat settings should have been restored.

Is Auto or Circulate Better?

Both auto and circulated modes are effective in energy efficiency. If your thermostat is set to auto, it saves energy when it's not needed. When set to circulated, it saves energy since it runs in set cycles, but it also runs a few predetermined minutes every hour.

While both the auto and circulated setting save energy, the circulated method produces a more consistent temperature. To save more energy and money, opt for the auto mode.

Bottom Line

The solution to thermostat auto-setting problems lies in diagnosis. As a DIYer, you should have basic skills that will help you carry out all the above steps. For more information on thermostats, check out our pieces on thermostat wiring, and electric thermostat troubleshooting.