Help! My Thermostat Screen Has Gone Blank!
One of the computer emergencies people worry about most is when the computer turns on, yet only shows a blank screen with nothing else happening. Something similar can occur with modern digital thermostats.
You go to the thermostat to adjust the temperature or change the programming and discover the display screen is a disturbing void. Pressing the buttons doesn’t seem to do anything, and the air conditioning/heating system won’t respond. What’s happening, and what should you do about it?
Diagnosing a blank thermostat screen
A few issues may lie behind the “blank screen of doom.” Some are easy to solve; others will take the knowledge and training of a professional HVAC technician.
- A tripped circuit breaker that affects the thermostat may have tripped and cut off power. Check the circuit breaker box to see if any need to be reset.
- The thermostat may have dead batteries. Many digital thermostats use batteries rather than being wired into the transformer that’s part of the HVAC equipment. To change the batteries, you have to first remove the faceplate. (If you have an owner’s manual, look up how to remove it there.) Change the batteries to see if this restores the thermostat screen.
- There may be a problem with the air conditioner or heater that has made the transformer stop sending voltage to run the thermostat. For an air conditioner, the problem might be the safety switch installed in the drain pan activating because of an overflow. For a gas furnace, the trouble might be the limit switch. You’ll need a professional to repair these issues.
- The issue could simply be a broken thermostat. A technician can advise you on whether to fix the unit or replace it with an updated thermostat model.