A thermostat basically just energizes the individual circuits (G (fan), W (heat), Y(cool) ) which in turn (via the furnace controller) powers a relay which provides line voltage to the actual units (like the fan or A/C. In the case of heat, it instructs your furnace to open the valve supplying gas).
R (or Rh and Rc) provides the 24VAC power. To turn on the fan, you'd connect R and G. To turn on the fan and AC, you'd connect R and Y (or R, G, and Y on systems where the thermostat controls the fan). To turn on the fan and heat (as you asked), you'd connect R and W together (or R, G, and W if you have say an electric furnace where the thermostat controls the fan).
If you make a mistake you could potentially fry your furnace controller.
As for finding out what is running - yes there should be 24VAC on the circuit if they are turned on. However note that this is just instructing the logic board in your furnace to turn on the other components; your furnaces controller might not always obey this. For example, some units will keep the fan running for a few minutes after the A/C or heat is turned off (sometimes this is implemented in the thermostat too).
One other thing I will add based on your comment is about the C line. This is essentially the neutral back to the transformer (or furnace), so you can use it to power your device (most thermostats use this these days). You should have 24VAC between R and C.
Never connect R and C, this will either blow the fuse on your board or fry the board all together.
Lift the ends of the jumper wire and move one end to the "Y" terminal and the opposite end of the jumper wire to the "G" terminal. The furnace fan should start operating. If the furnace and the fan start using the jumper wire, the thermostat requires replacement. If they do not, there is a problem within the furnace.
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In respect to this, how do I check the power on my thermostat?
- Check the circuit breaker. Go to your breaker box and look for the breaker that powers the furnace or air conditioner.
- Check the power switch. There is power switch on the side of the HVAC unit.
- Change the batteries in the thermostat.
- Test the power wire to the thermostat.
One may also ask, why does my thermostat not have power? The power is out or a circuit breaker has trippedThe power loss could also be the result of a tripped circuit breaker that powers the air conditioner or heater. Many thermostats run on low voltage sent from the transformer on the HVAC system; if the transformer loses power, so will the thermostat.
Herein, how do you know if the thermostat is bad?
If you see your temperature gauge going into the red within the first 15 minutes of driving, your thermostat may be bad. Generally, if your vehicle is overheating within 15 minutes or so of driving it, this may be a sign that the thermostat is stuck. Step 2: Check the radiator hoses.
How do I know if C wire is live?
It is easy to see if you already have a c-wire connected to your system. Simply remove your current thermostat face from its baseplate and look for the terminal labeled with the letter “c.” If this terminal has a wire attached to it, you have an active “c-wire.”
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Does it seem like your thermostat isn’t controlling your furnace or AC properly?
If your home’s heating and cooling equipment isn’t working right, maybe the thermostat is the problem.
In this article, we’ll show you how to test your thermostat and, if necessary, bypass it to get your equipment working.
Here’s how to test your thermostat to see if it works:
1With the power to the furnace off, remove the thermostat or thermostat cover to expose the wires.
Note that the wires should be screwed to terminals marked R (red), W (white), G (green), Y (yellow), and C (common). Some thermostats have only Red and White or Red and Green connected.
See more about identifying the various wires in the video at the bottom of this article.
Make a note of which wires are connected to the terminals or, better, take a photo with your smart phone.
2Unscrew and remove the wires from their terminals. Do not let them fall back in through the hole in the wall (wrap them around a pencil if necessary).
If there are more than two wires, pick Red and White—normally these are standard colors for power and heat.
3Twist the bare ends of the two wires together. Make sure none of the other wires are touching these wires or each other.
4Turn the power to the furnace back on. If the blower goes on and the furnace burner ignites, the thermostat was improperly connected to the wires or is defective. Replace the thermostat as discussed in the article How to Install an Electronic Thermostat.
5If the burner does not ignite, check the continuity of the wires from the thermostat to the furnace to see if there is a break in one of the wires. (If you’re checking the air conditioning, only the blower will go on.)
Here is a good basic video that shows how to use a multimeter for checking continuity of a wire. This video is set to begin at the section dealing specifically with continuity.
6Check and tighten the terminal screws at all wire connections.
If the AC doesn’t work, go through this same process with the Red and Yellow. If the fan isn’t working, repeat with the Red and Green.
The following video is very good for seeing how to remove the thermostat from the wall and then use a multimeter to check all of the electrical connections.
As you’ll see in this video, It’s possible to “jumper” your thermostat to bypass it. This technique is usually used to identify a faulty thermostat before you replace it but can also be used to get they system working temporarily.
About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years, as Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in Read more about Don Vandervort
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