As the temperatures start to drop outside, the last thing anyone wants is for their heating system to fail. If your thermostat has broken down, you might be wondering if there is any way to override it and restore warmth to your home. The good news is that, depending on the type of thermostat you have, it might be possible to troubleshoot and override a faulty device. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of thermostats available and provide steps to help you navigate situations where your thermostat has broken down.

1. How to Determine if Your Thermostat is Broken

A thermostat is an essential component of your HVAC system as it helps regulate the temperature in your home. If it’s not functioning properly, it can cause discomfort and higher energy bills. Before you can determine whether you need to override your thermostat, you need to know if it’s broken.

Here are some signs that your thermostat may be malfunctioning:

  • Your HVAC system is not turning on or off.
  • The temperature reading on your thermostat is inaccurate.
  • Your thermostat screen is blank or unresponsive.
  • Your HVAC system is cycling frequently.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to diagnose the problem as soon as possible to prevent any further damage to your HVAC system.

2. Reasons Why a Thermostat Can Malfunction

It can be frustrating when you need to adjust your home’s temperature and your thermostat isn’t working properly. There are several , including:

Thermostat Location

The location of your thermostat can significantly affect its ability to read the correct temperature of your home. If placed near a window or door, the thermostat can read the temperature outside instead of inside your home, resulting in incorrect readings. Additionally, if the thermostat is placed near a heat source, such as a lamp or a TV, it can cause the thermostat to overestimate the actual temperature, resulting in your HVAC system working harder than necessary.

Wiring Issues

Another common reason why a thermostat can malfunction is due to wiring issues. Loose or damaged wires can prevent the thermostat from communicating with your HVAC system, resulting in poor performance or no performance at all. Similarly, a tripped circuit breaker can also prevent your thermostat from functioning properly.

Age and Wear and Tear

Like all appliances, thermostats have a lifespan. Over time, they can become less accurate and can malfunction due to normal wear and tear. Additionally, wiring and electrical components can become corroded or damaged, which can cause a thermostat to stop functioning altogether.

Before attempting to fix your thermostat, it’s important to determine the root cause of the malfunction. This will ensure that the proper steps are taken to fix it, and could potentially save you money in the long run.

3. Temporary Fixes for a Broken Thermostat

If you have discovered that your thermostat is broken, the first question that may come to mind is how to fix it temporarily until an HVAC technician arrives. Here are some temporary fixes that homeowners can try:

1. Check and Replace the Batteries
One of the common reasons why a thermostat can malfunction is because of dead batteries. To ensure the thermostat is functioning, replace old batteries with new ones. The batteries can be found at the back of the device. Note that not all thermostats have batteries – some models are hard-wired into the electrical connection in the house.

2. Reboot the Thermostat
Another way to fix a broken thermostat temporarily is by rebooting the device. Switch off the power from the circuit breaker and determine if the wires are correctly configured. Then, switch on the circuit breaker and turn on the thermostat. If it doesn’t work after rebooting, the problem could be more complicated and need the attention of an HVAC technician.

3. Check the Wiring Connections
Occasionally, the wires that are connected to the thermostat can be loose or not connected. In such cases, identify the correct wire that connects to each screw in the thermostat and tightening it with a screwdriver. A simple check of the wiring connections can save time and money by avoiding a service call.

It is essential to note that these temporary fixes are just that – temporary. Trying to do more complicated repairs could damage the equipment, injure people, or result in further damage. Experts recommend seeking a qualified HVAC technician to fix complex thermostat issues.

4. The Pros and Cons of Overriding a Broken Thermostat

If you have a broken thermostat, it can be tempting to override it and set your temperature manually. While this may be a quick fix to your problem, there are pros and cons to this solution.


  • You have control over the temperature
  • You can maintain a comfortable temperature in your home
  • You may save money on your energy bill
  • You can buy time before repairing or replacing your thermostat


  • You may not know the actual temperature of your home
  • You risk overworking your heating or cooling system
  • Your energy bill may actually increase
  • You may forget to manually adjust the temperature, leading to discomfort or wasted energy

It’s important to keep in mind that overriding a broken thermostat is a temporary solution. Eventually, you will need to repair or replace your thermostat in order to properly control the temperature in your home.

If you find yourself constantly overriding your thermostat, it may be time to upgrade to a smart thermostat instead. Smart thermostats have numerous benefits, including the ability to learn your temperature preferences and adjust accordingly, as well as the ability to remotely control your thermostat through a mobile app.

Ultimately, the decision to override a broken thermostat depends on your individual situation. Consider the pros and cons, and make the best decision for your home and your wallet.

5. Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat instead of Overriding

Instead of overriding your broken thermostat, you might consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. These advanced thermostats make it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature and save money on your energy bills.

Benefits of Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat

One major benefit of a smart thermostat is that it adjusts the temperature based on your schedule. For example, if you’re away from home during the day, a smart thermostat can automatically lower the temperature to save energy. It can then raise the temperature before you return so that your home is comfortable when you arrive.

Another advantage of a smart thermostat is that it can connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network. This allows you to control the thermostat from a smartphone app, even when you’re away from home. Most smart thermostats also provide energy reports, so you can track your usage and adjust your settings accordingly.

Costs of Upgrading to a Smart Thermostat

Smart thermostats tend to be more expensive than traditional thermostats, but they can pay for themselves in energy savings over time. Prices range from around $100 to $300 depending on the model you choose.

Some energy companies offer rebates or discounts for customers who purchase a smart thermostat. If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s worth checking with your local utility company to see if you’re eligible for any incentives.

Overall, upgrading to a smart thermostat is a smart investment that can help you save money and energy while keeping your home comfortable.

6. The Costs and Benefits of Repairing or Replacing a Broken Thermostat

If you’ve determined that your thermostat is broken, you may be wondering whether it’s worth it to repair or replace it. Here are some things to consider when making this decision.

Costs of Repairing a Broken Thermostat
Repairing a broken thermostat can be a cost-effective solution if the problem is minor. However, if the damage is extensive or your thermostat is old, repairing it may not be worth the cost. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to repair a thermostat ranges from $100 to $300.

Benefits of Repairing a Broken Thermostat
The main benefit of repairing a broken thermostat is that it’s generally less expensive than replacing it. Additionally, if you hire a professional to repair your thermostat, they may be able to diagnose and fix other issues that you weren’t aware of.

Costs of Replacing a Broken Thermostat
If your thermostat is beyond repair or you simply want to upgrade to a more advanced model, you’ll need to replace it. The cost of a new thermostat varies depending on the type and features you want. A basic digital thermostat can cost as little as $25, while a high-end smart thermostat can cost up to $400.

Benefits of Replacing a Broken Thermostat
Replacing a broken thermostat with a newer model can have several benefits. A smart thermostat, for example, can learn your schedule and adjust the temperature accordingly, which can save you money on your energy bill. Additionally, newer thermostats are generally more accurate and reliable than older models, so you’ll be less likely to experience issues in the future.

Ultimately, whether you choose to repair or replace your thermostat will depend on the extent of the damage, your budget, and your personal preferences. Before making a decision, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional HVAC technician to get their expert opinion.

7. How to Prevent Your Thermostat from Breaking in the Future


Preventing your thermostat from breaking in the future can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle. Here are some tips to keep your thermostat functioning properly:

1. Regular Maintenance:

Like any other device, thermostats need regular maintenance to function properly. Clean your thermostat periodically to remove any dust and debris build-up. Check the batteries, if your thermostat has them, and replace them periodically to ensure proper functioning.

2. Temperature Readings:

Sometimes, the thermostat may not function properly because it’s not getting an accurate temperature reading. Keep the thermostat away from any heat sources or cold drafts. You can also try relocating the thermostat to a more central location in your house if possible.

3. HVAC System Maintenance:

Your thermostat and HVAC system are interlinked. It’s essential to keep your HVAC system well-maintained to prevent your thermostat from malfunctioning. Change the air filter regularly, clean the ducts, and have your system checked by a professional at least once a year.

4. Upgrading:

Consider upgrading to a smart thermostat that can automatically adjust the temperature settings according to your preferences and lifestyle. Smart thermostats also have sensors that can detect when you’re not home and automatically adjust the temperature to save energy and prevent wear and tear on your HVAC system and thermostat.

5. Professional Installation:

Avoid DIY installation of a thermostat if you are not confident with your skills. Improper installation can damage your HVAC system, cause energy inefficiency, or shorten the lifespan of your thermostat. Always consult a professional HVAC service provider for proper installation and maintenance.

Preventing your thermostat from breaking requires regular maintenance to keep it functioning correctly. The tips above can help you keep your thermostat in good condition for a long time. Proper maintenance can save you time and money, and improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and overall comfort in your home.

People Also Ask:

1. How do you override a broken thermostat?

If your thermostat is broken, you can still override it by accessing the wiring and connecting the wires that correspond to your desired temperature setting. However, this is not recommended as it can be dangerous and may cause damage to your HVAC system.

2. Can you manually turn on the heating/cooling system if the thermostat is broken?

Yes, you can manually turn on the heating/cooling system if the thermostat is broken. You can do this by locating the circuit breaker that controls your HVAC system and switching it on.

3. Is it safe to override a broken thermostat?

No, it is not safe to override a broken thermostat as it can cause damage to your HVAC system and potentially pose a safety hazard. It is recommended to call a professional to repair or replace the thermostat.

4. What are the risks of manually overriding a broken thermostat?

Manually overriding a broken thermostat can cause damage to your HVAC system, as well as pose a safety hazard due to the potential for electrical shocks or fires. It is important to have a professional repair or replace the thermostat.

5. Can a broken thermostat cause high energy bills?

Yes, a broken thermostat can cause high energy bills as it may not regulate the temperature properly, causing your HVAC system to work harder than necessary. This can lead to increased energy usage and higher bills.

Final Words:

While it is possible to override a broken thermostat, it is not recommended as it can be dangerous and may cause damage to your HVAC system. It is best to call a professional to repair or replace the thermostat to ensure that it is functioning properly and safely. Additionally, a broken thermostat can increase energy bills, so it is important to have it fixed as soon as possible.