How to Troubleshoot a White-Rodgers Thermostat

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White-Rodgers is a thermostat brand owned by Emerson with simple digital home thermostats available for home use. If your White-Rodgers thermostat isn't responding, it could be something as simple as dead batteries or voltage variations. Doing some basic thermostat troubleshooting can help you figure out what's wrong and get it working again without calling an HVAC professional.

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Check the Settings

Eliminate the most obvious and easiest issues first when your White-Rodgers thermostat doesn't work correctly. If your system isn't heating or cooling as expected or the system isn't turning on when you think it should, verify that it's set to either heat or cool depending on your needs.

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Then, verify that the temperature setting is where you want it. If your home is at or beyond the set temperature, your HVAC system won't run. For example, when you're running your heat and you have the thermostat set to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the furnace won't run if your home is already 72 degrees or higher. Try adjusting the temperature setting to see if the HVAC unit turns on.

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Check the Batteries

Most White-Rodgers digital thermostats run on AA batteries, which can cause the unit to malfunction if they're low or dead. Look for a low battery indicator on the screen if you have an electronic thermostat. Even if the screen doesn't display the indicator, trying a fresh set of batteries is a simple way to eliminate one possible issue. To change the batteries, shut off the system and look for a battery drawer with an arrow indicator to show you how to open it. After replacing the batteries, turn the system back on and see if that fixes the issue.

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Review the Codes

Some White-Rodgers thermostats provide comfort alert codes that help with diagnostics. The alerts display as a yellow flashing light. The number of flashes tells you what's wrong with the system. Refer to your owner's manual as a guide.

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On an 80 series thermostat, the number of flashes mean:

  • 1: Long run time.
  • 2: System pressure trip.
  • 3: Short cycling.
  • 4: Locked rotor.
  • 5: Open circuit.
  • 6: Open start circuit.
  • 7: Open run circuit.
  • 8: Welded contactor.
  • 9: Low voltage.

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These codes might not tell you how to fix the problem, but they give you clues about the issue. They can help an HVAC professional quickly zone in on the problem.

Hit the Reset Button

Resetting your White-Rodgers thermostat can make it work again if the issue is a voltage spike or static discharge. Some models, including the 1F83-51, have reset buttons that you push to reset the thermostat quickly and easily. Other models, like the 80 series thermostats, require you to remove the wires from the R and C terminals and take the batteries out for two minutes. Put the batteries back in and reconnect the wires to start it.

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Check the HVAC System

If the thermostat display is working but your HVAC system isn't responding, it might not be an issue with the thermostat. Try troubleshooting the HVAC system to see if a different component is to blame. Check the circuit breaker to ensure it didn't get tripped. Check the furnace switch, which looks like a light switch and should be near the unit. There could also be a mechanical issue with the HVAC system, which will require an HVAC expert to repair it.

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