Recovery mode is a unique feature that you’ll find on some smart thermostats and newer programmable thermostats, and it works to ensure that your home is always fully warm or cool at the times you want. A thermostat that shows recovery mode is typically nothing to worry about as it is completely normal for this to happen just before you have the temperature set to increase or decrease.

Still, recovery mode is not something you will find on all programmable thermostats, which helps to explain why so many people have questions about it. To clear up any confusion you may have, here is everything you need to know about how recovery mode works, what it does, and how it can sometimes tell you when your HVAC system isn’t working effectively.

How Recovery Mode Provides Convenience and Improved Home Comfort

Any type of programmable thermostat can help you to save quite a bit on your heating and cooling costs by making it easier to set your home’s temperature higher or lower during certain times of the day. For instance, you may have your temperature normally set to 70 degrees in the summer, but you can program the thermostat so that your AC only kicks on at 75 or 80 degrees when you’re at work during the day. Similarly, you may want to turn your heating down to 60 during the day and then back up to 70 in the late afternoon or evening.

In either case, you’ll end up saving quite a bit of money compared to leaving your heat or AC cranked up all the time and wasting energy heating or cooling the house when no one is home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, adjusting your thermostat up or down by 7 to 10 degrees from the normal setting for eight hours a day should help reduce your annual heating and cooling costs by around 10%.

All programmable thermostats essentially work the same by enabling you to schedule when your heating or AC turns on and off in order to prevent energy waste and lower your utility costs. However, opting for a programmable or smart thermostat with recovery mode will not only help you save money but also improve your overall home comfort.

With a standard programmable thermostat, the time that you program it to turn the temperature up or down is the time that your heating or air conditioning system will come on. This means that if you have the thermostat programmed so that the temperature increases from 60 to 70 degrees at 4 p.m., your heating will then come on at exactly that time.

The only issue with this is that it means your home will still be cold if 4 is when you normally get home from work as it will typically take an hour or so to bring the temperature all the way back up. In this case, the only way to guarantee that your home is already warm when you arrive is to program it to an earlier time so that your heating system can run long enough.

If you have a thermostat with recovery mode, it will instead signal your furnace to turn on an hour or two early so that the temperature has already reached 70 degrees when you get home at 4. If you turn your heating or AC down during the night and then up again in the morning, your thermostat will also enter recovery mode earlier so that your home is warm or cool when you get up in the morning.

When your thermostat shows recovery mode, all it really means is that your heating system is running and has started to increase the temperature back to the normal setting. However, your thermostat should still never show recovery mode any time other than around an hour or two before you have the temperature programmed to change. If you do ever see that it’s in recovery mode after the programmed time has passed or any time the temperature isn’t soon set to change, it could indicate that there is a problem with your heating, AC, or the thermostat itself.

When Recovery Mode Is a Sign of a Problem

Again, your thermostat should only ever enter recovery mode before it is scheduled to change back to the normal temperature setting, and it should always finish recovery mode and switch back to normal at or before the scheduled time. Let’s again use the example where you have your heat programmed to increase from 60 to 70 degrees at 4 so your house is warm when you get home. In this case, your thermostat should always switch out of recovery mode before you get home.

If it is still in recovery mode after 4, it means you have some issue that is causing your heating system to not work as effectively as it should. Otherwise, the temperature should already have reached 70 degrees before the set time if everything was working properly. Recovery mode can also help you identify any issues that are limiting the effectiveness of your air conditioning in the same way.

In either situation, we would always recommend checking and replacing your air filter as the very first step before calling in a professional HVAC technician. If your air filter is too dirty, not as much air will be able to flow through it. In turn, the less air there is coming into your HVAC system, the less heating or cooling the system will produce at one time. After replacing the filter, you can then check your thermostat again to see if it now exits recovery mode by the scheduled time. If not, you will then want to have a technician inspect everything as this is really the only way to know why your heating or AC isn’t working properly.

Seeing recovery mode any time when the temperature isn’t programmed to increase or decrease could also mean that your thermostat is malfunctioning, not properly calibrated, or possibly faulty. In addition to checking your air filter, you should also check the thermostat settings if you see that it is in recovery mode at any time when it shouldn’t be.

It may be that someone has changed the thermostat settings and it is now programmed to turn up or down at different times. A power outage or power surge can also cause the thermostat to automatically reset and switch back to the default settings.

If you have a smart thermostat, you will definitely want to check the settings first thing. This is because many smart thermostats can automatically change their settings based on both your behavior patterns and the current weather conditions to help improve the energy efficiency of your HVAC system and your overall comfort level.

At Buehler Air Conditioning & Plumbing, we can help if you have thermostat issues or are interested in upgrading your home with a smart Wi-Fi thermostat. We are a full-service HVAC contractor serving Jacksonville and the surrounding areas, and our team has years of experience with all types of heating and cooling installation, maintenance, and repair services. We also offer numerous solutions for improving your indoor air quality and ductwork. For more information or if you have any questions, give us a call today.

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