Why is my Thermostat in Recovery Mode?

April 1, 2020

Have you ever glanced at your thermostat and noticed that it says something about recovery mode? Recovery mode might sound like your system is recovering from some sort of disaster, but it is actually a very common setting on newer thermostats. Understanding how recovery mode works will help you set up your HVAC system to be as energy-efficient as possible.

What Is Recovery Mode?

Here at C & C Heating & Air Conditioning, we get a lot of questions about recovery mode right after we help with a Macomb county HVAC installation because it is a relatively new feature. Typically, people start getting worried about recovery mode when they think they have turned their thermostat off, but it suddenly starts running and says “recovery.” Since this feature is not present on older thermostats, people often assume this means that something bad has happened to the system. However, the reality is that recovery mode is a very common and helpful setting that is mostly present on programmable thermostats.

Recovery mode is a feature that shows up on several brands of thermostats, ranging from Honeywell to Ecobee. Depending on your thermostat model, it may say something like “recovery” or “smart recovery,” or it may have a small light or icon glowing on a certain part of the display. When a thermostat is in recovery mode, this simply means it is recovering from being in an energy-saving mode. During recovery mode, your thermostat is working toward achieving a newer temperature that is cooler or warmer than the outside air. This means it will turn on your HVAC system a little before it is set to be at a different temperature.

For example, if you tell your air conditioner to turn itself off when you are at work during the summer, the thermostat will enter recovery mode to start cooling down your house shortly before you return home. Recovery mode just lets you know your system has turned back on and is running to make sure it reaches your desired temperature right on schedule.

Reasons Your Thermostat Might Switch Itself to Recovery Mode

There are several reasons why you may find your thermostat on recovery mode. Of course, the simplest explanation is just that you set it there. If recovery mode is enabled in your system and you have your system programmed to reach certain temperatures at certain times of day, then you can expect to see recovery mode happen in the hour or two before you have your system scheduled to be at a certain temperature. This is perfectly normal and should not be a cause for concern.

However, for some homeowners, recovery mode is a surprise. If you have not set your system to turn on and off at certain times of day, recovery mode can still happen. This is usually due to a problem with the thermostat itself. Typically, this occurs when your system has changed its settings without you realizing it. This can happen in certain “smart” thermostats that adjust their settings automatically to accommodate various patterns the thermostat has noticed. It can also happen if some sort of glitch or power surge caused your thermostat to reset itself, erase your settings, and return to default settings. In some cases, your thermostat may be programmed to different settings for different dates or days of the week, which can cause recovery mode to appear seemingly at random.

A final reason for a thermostat in recovery mode is that your HVAC system is somehow malfunctioning. Recovery mode happens when your thermostat is trying to get your HVAC system to reach a desired temperature. Therefore, if your HVAC system is not running as it should, it may be a sign that your air conditioner or heater is not able to keep your house as cold or warm as you want.

How to Get Your Thermostat Out of Recovery Mode

The first thing to do if you do not want your thermostat in recovery mode is to take a look at your thermostat’s settings. Go into the preferences area and choose to disable or turn off the recovery mode. Some programmable thermostats can be a little tricky, so you can check out the manual or give the manufacturer’s customer service line a call to get more guidance.

If you are fine with your system using recovery mode but do not want it in recovery mode at a certain time, you will need to adjust your schedule. For example, you might currently have it set to reach 72 degrees at 8 p.m. when what you really mean is that you want your air conditioner to turn on and start approaching 72 degrees at 8 p.m. If this is the case, set your scheduled temperature for an hour or two after the time you want it to start running. This will launch recovery mode at a slightly later time, so your HVAC system will run less.

In cases where your thermostat seems to be malfunctioning, it is best to get professional help. You can start by calling the thermostat manufacturer’s helpline and reporting the problem. They may be able to walk you through some solutions for common problems and help you with the trickier aspects of programming a smart thermostat. However, if it is something more complex, you may want to call an HVAC technician. They know how to operate common thermostat models, so they can help you set everything up to work correctly.

How to Tell If Recovery Mode Means Something Is Wrong

In most cases, recovery mode is an entirely harmless mode that means your programmable thermostat is just getting ready to switch temperatures. However, since recovery mode can also show up when your HVAC system is malfunctioning, it is important to check out your system if you keep unexpectedly seeing it in recovery mode. First of all, take a look at your thermostat settings to make sure it is not going into “leave” or “off” mode when you are at home.

If your thermostat keeps going to an unexpectedly high or low temperature when it is not programmed to, then the AC itself might have a problem. If the fan outside is not spinning or you cannot hear the AC running, your air conditioner might be broken. It is also possible for your HVAC system to seem like it is working but actually be struggling to heat or cool your home. This often happens in an older, poorly maintained system that has problems like dirty condenser coils.

When your air conditioner is not heating or cooling properly, C & C Heating & Air Conditioning in Roseville, MI, can help. Our trained technicians can identify any problems, make repairs, or service your system to help it run as efficiently as possible. We can also help with a wide variety of heating and cooling installations, particularly for Carrier, Trane, and Lennox products. Find out more about how we can help by giving us a call now.

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