Why Your Honeywell Thermostat Won’t Go Above 68 Degrees and How to Fix It

Having problems getting your Honeywell thermostat to go above 68 degrees? You’re not alone. Many homeowners experience issues with their Honeywell thermostats not heating properly and getting stuck at 68 degrees or lower.

The good news is that in most cases, this problem can be easily fixed with a few simple troubleshooting steps. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why your Honeywell thermostat is stuck at 68 degrees and how to get it working properly again.

Table of Contents

What Causes a Honeywell Thermostat to Not Go Above 68 Degrees?

There are several possible causes for a Honeywell thermostat getting stuck at 68 degrees and refusing to go higher. Here are some of the most common culprits:

1. Incorrect Temperature Sensor Reading

One of the most common reasons a Honeywell thermostat won’t go above 68 degrees is because it’s getting an incorrect reading from the temperature sensor. The temperature sensor tells the thermostat what the current room temperature is. If this sensor malfunctions or is installed improperly, it can prevent the thermostat from going above a certain temperature.

For example, if the sensor is reading the temperature as 68 degrees when it’s really 72 degrees in the room, the thermostat won’t tell the HVAC system to turn on the heat since it thinks the desired temperature has already been reached. Checking the accuracy of the temperature sensor is one of the first things to look at if your thermostat is stuck.

2. Faulty Thermostat

Sometimes, the issue is with the thermostat itself. Thermostats, like any electronic device, can malfunction or break over time. Issues with the circuit board, display screen, temperature buttons, or internal components can lead to heating problems like not going above 68 degrees.

If your Honeywell thermostat is older or has experienced electrical surges, mechanical damage, or exposure to moisture, it may have developed internal faults that prevent it from working properly. Inspect your thermostat carefully to look for any visible signs of damage. If it looks very old or worn, replacement may be necessary.

3. Improperly Programmed Schedule

Honeywell thermostats have programmable schedules that allow you to set different target temperatures for different time periods. If this schedule is improperly programmed, it could be limiting the heating temperature during certain times of day or particular days of the week.

Carefully check the programming on your Honeywell thermostat. Make sure the temperature settings for the current time period are not accidentally set to 68 degrees or less. The schedule may need to be adjusted to allow higher temperatures.

4. Low System Pressure

For a forced air heating system, low refrigerant pressure can prevent the system from reaching higher temperatures. There may be an issue like a leak or blockage in the refrigerant line that is causing low pressure and limiting the system’s capabilities. Checking the refrigerant levels and pressure is important in cases when the thermostat won’t go above 68 degrees.

5. Malfunctioning Heater Components

Problems with the heating system itself can also lead to a thermostat getting stuck at 68 degrees. Issues with the pilot light, burner assembly, gas valve, blower motor, heat exchanger, or other integral parts of a furnace or boiler can prevent it from heating properly. Hard wiring problems can also cut off power to system components.

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Inspecting and testing the furnace or boiler is crucial to ruling out underlying issues with the heating equipment. Thermostat problems often stem from larger mechanical or electrical faults with the HVAC unit.

How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Honeywell Thermostat Stuck at 68 Degrees

how to troubleshoot and fix a honeywell thermostat stuck at 68 degrees
How to Troubleshoot and Fix a Honeywell Thermostat Stuck at 68 Degrees

If your Honeywell thermostat is refusing to go above 68 degrees no matter what temperature you set it to, don’t panic. In many cases, you can fix the issue yourself with a few simple troubleshooting steps:

1. Check the thermostat settings and programming

The first thing to check is the thermostat itself. Verify that the temperature setting is actually set above 68 degrees. Scan through the thermostat menu and programmed schedule to ensure the desired temperature for the current time period is higher than 68 degrees. If it’s not, adjust the setting accordingly.

2. Change the thermostat batteries

A common culprit for thermostat problems is low or dead batteries. Thermostats typically run on batteries even if they are hardwired into the HVAC system. The small button cell battery maintains the program settings and clock. Change out the batteries with fresh ones to see if that fixes any glitches.

3. Test the temperature sensors

Make sure the thermostat’s temperature sensors are providing accurate readings. You can test the sensors by taking an instant read temperature from a thermometer right next to the thermostat. Compare the thermometer’s temperature to what the thermostat screen displays. If there is a discrepancy of more than a few degrees, the sensors likely need to be replaced.

4. Check wiring connections

Problems with the thermostat wiring can prevent proper communication between the thermostat and the HVAC system. Turn off power to the HVAC system at the breaker. Then remove the thermostat faceplate and ensure that all wiring connections are intact with no loose wires or damaged connectors. Tighten any loose wire nuts or terminals.

5. Look for HVAC system issues

If the thermostat settings and wiring check out, the problem may lie with the heating system itself. Check that the pilot light is lit, the burners are firing properly, the blower motor works, return and discharge air temperatures are aligned, and the system has proper refrigerant pressure. Call an HVAC technician for repairs if any underlying issues are found.

6. Reset the thermostat

If all else fails, try restarting the thermostat by resetting it to factory default settings. Refer to your thermostat’s instruction manual for the proper reset procedure. Resetting deletes all user programming and starts fresh. Be sure to reprogram your desired settings afterward.

7. Replace the thermostat

For older thermostats that have developed mechanical or electrical faults, replacement is often the best solution when simple troubleshooting doesn’t work. Installing a new Honeywell thermostat properly should resolve any issues of it getting stuck at 68 degrees. Carefully follow the included directions for installation and setup.

Preventative Steps to Keep Your Honeywell Thermostat Working Properly

To avoid headaches down the road, keep your Honeywell thermostat in proper working order with these preventative maintenance tips:

  • Change the batteries annually or whenever you see the low battery indicator. Dead batteries are a top cause of thermostat malfunctions.
  • Gently wipe down the thermostat screen periodically to keep dust from interfering with the sensors.
  • Check that air vents and registers aren’t blocked and are redirecting air flow properly to allow the thermostat to accurately read the room temperature.
  • Keep the thermostat away from drafts, direct sunlight, heat sources, and anything that can impact the temperature reading and cause improper operation.
  • Inspect the wires leading into the thermostat periodically for any visible damage or loosening. Tighten wires or replace if needed.
  • Update your thermostat settings seasonally to account for weather changes and keep temperatures ideal. The ideal thermostat setup for winter differs from summer.
  • Have your HVAC system serviced annually to ensure all components are functioning properly and there are no issues impacting thermostat performance.
  • Consider investing in a newer programmable thermostat that offers remote access and advanced features. Upgrading from an old thermostat can prevent glitches.

By being vigilant about your thermostat’s maintenance and carefully troubleshooting any issues that arise, you can have comfort knowing it will keep your home at the perfect temperature all year long. Don’t hesitate to call a technician for assistance if you’ve worked through all the basic fixes and your Honeywell thermostat still refuses to top 68 degrees.

Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Honeywell Thermostat

If your Honeywell thermostat is very outdated or has developed chronic problems, replacement may be the best long-term solution. Here are some signs it may be time to install a new thermostat:

  • The thermostat display screen no longer lights up or shows text and numbers properly. This indicates an internal malfunction.
  • You have to replace the thermostat batteries very frequently, like every few weeks instead of once a year. Rapid battery drain points to an electrical fault.
  • The plastic housing is visibly cracked, chipped or broken. Physical damage can allow soil/moisture to infiltrate and cause operational issues.
  • The thermostat buttons or touch screen are unresponsive or temperamental. This makes changing settings a hassle.
  • Features like the programmable schedule or temperature sensors no longer work properly. Malfunctioning features impact usability.
  • You are unable to access or adjust the thermostat settings remotely from your phone/computer. Lack of smart capabilities limits control.
  • Parts are no longer available for your old discontinued thermostat model. Having no access to replacement parts severely limits repair options down the road.
  • You have consistent comfort issues in your home, like frequent temperature fluctuations. Your old thermostat may not regulate the temperature well anymore.
  • You get repeated error messages, like “Err” codes, when operating the thermostat. Error codes indicate the system is not working correctly.
  • Your HVAC system has been upgraded/replaced since the old thermostat was installed. A new system often requires a new thermostat designed for optimal compatibility.
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If one or more of these issues describes your current situation, investing in a Honeywell thermostat replacement is likely your smartest move.

How to Install a New Honeywell Thermostat Correctly

When it’s time for a new thermostat, choosing the proper replacement model and installing it correctly ensures ideal performance. Follow this step-by-step guide for foolproof Honeywell thermostat installation:

Select the Right Thermostat

  • Choose a thermostat that is compatible with your HVAC system type – conventional, heat pump, dual fuel, etc. Incompatible pairings cause operating problems.
  • Match the voltage capabilities of the thermostat to your system – 24V, 120V, etc. Voltage mismatch severely impacts function.
  • For complex multi-stage systems, get an advanced programmable thermostat with proper staging capabilities. Simple thermostats can’t handle complex systems well.
  • If you want smart features, pick a model with WiFi connectivity, app controls, voice activation etc. Limiting features if you don’t need them.
  • Opt for an EnergyStar certified thermostat for maximum energy efficiency. Look for automated scheduling assistance and system optimization.
  • Pick a thermostat with an intuitive interface and large display for your needs. Those with vision/mobility issues may need bigger buttons, for example.

Set Up the New Unit Properly

  • Turn OFF power to HVAC system at the breaker before installing. Live wires are a serious hazard.
  • Remove old thermostat carefully without damaging any wires. Document wiring connections for easy reinstallation of new unit.
  • Mount new thermostat base plate on wall using included screws/anchors. Make sure it is level and positioned centrally.
  • Insert labeled wires into the matching terminal blocks on base plate according to wiring diagram. Keep wires organized.
  • Double check wires are firmly inserted in proper terminals and secure. Loose connections cause operational failure.
  • Attach thermostat head to mounted base plate and turn on power again. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to initialize.
  • Program the date, time, schedules and other settings as desired. Test functions to confirm proper operation. Call the manufacturer if issues persist.

Following the manufacturer’s instructions precisely for setup and programming is vital for a smooth transition to a new Honeywell thermostat. Patience through initial learning curves pays off with better temperature control for years to come.

Troubleshooting Common Honeywell Thermostat Problems

troubleshooting common honeywell thermostat problems
Troubleshooting Common Honeywell Thermostat Problems

Honeywell thermostats are reliable devices, but occasional issues can arise even with new models. Here are solutions to some of the most frequently reported thermostat problems:

Screen is blank – Try replacing batteries or checking power connections. Reset the thermostat if needed. Faulty display screens require replacement.

Temperature reading is inaccurate – Ensure vents aren’t blocked, the thermostat location is ideal, and the sensors are clean. Also check the thermostat settings. Faulty sensors need repair/replacement.

Heating/cooling system won’t start – Confirm wires are connected properly with no loose terminals. Test the system manually. There may be a wider HVAC issue needing service.

Temperature changes at the wrong times – Check the thermostat schedule and reset to factory settings if errors persist. Reprogram desired times/temperatures.

Thermostat keeps rebooting or freezing – Attempt a manual reset with the small pinhole button. If not resolved, low batteries, wiring issues or a bad internal board could be the cause.

“Wait” message appears on screen – This typically means there is a delay in the heating/cooling system responding. Allow the system to catch up rather than adjusting or resetting the thermostat.

Buttons/display unresponsive – Make sure to press firmly and directly in the center of touchscreen buttons. Check for obstructions too. Damaged buttons require replacement.

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Clock loses time – Low thermostat batteries are the most common culprit. Dead or improperly installed C-wire batteries can also cause clock issues. Check all power connections.

Various error code messages – Consult the manufacturer’s troubleshooting guide. Error codes point to specific parts/systems needing repair or replacement.

Carefully examining error patterns and testing different fixes can help isolate the root cause of common Honeywell thermostat problems. Seek professional service for complex wiring or system issues.

Maintaining Your Honeywell Thermostat for Optimal Performance

Follow these tips to keep your Honeywell thermostat working properly for many years:

  • Change batteries annually or when the low battery indicator comes on. Use name brand alkaline batteries for longest life.
  • Gently wipe down the display screen every few months using a microfiber cloth to remove dust buildup. Avoid any chemical cleaners.
  • Periodically check the thermostat wiring connections for corrosion and loose terminals. Tighten or replace wires as needed.
  • Vacuum heating and cooling vents regularly so air can circulate properly and provide accurate temperature info to the thermostat sensors.
  • Adjust the thermostat schedule seasonally to match your usage patterns and keep temperatures comfortable and cost-effective.
  • Upgrade old legacy thermostat models for remote access, energy efficiency, compatibility with new HVAC systems and advanced features.
  • Have your HVAC system inspected annually by a technician to ensure all components are functioning properly for optimal thermostat performance.
  • Replace low-quality disposable air filters with pleated MERV 11 or 13 filters, which are better for HVAC systems and indoor air quality.
  • If remodeling, carefully protect the thermostat and HVAC system from debris and dust before starting. Covering prevents damage.

Routine maintenance and timely repairs or upgrades as needed will provide many years of reliable temperature regulation with your Honeywell thermostat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Honeywell Thermostats

What temperature should I set my Honeywell thermostat to in the winter and summer?

  • Winter: Set to 68-70°F while home and awake. 60-63°F at night or when away. Higher temperatures incur unnecessary heating costs.
  • Summer: Set to 75-78°F while home and awake. 80-83°F at night or when away. Lower temps prevent excessive cooling bills.

Why does my Honeywell thermostat keep losing its program settings?

Most likely the internal battery needs to be replaced. The small lithium coin cell battery maintains settings and the clock when main power is cut. Change this battery every 2-3 years for best performance.

Can I just turn off my Honeywell thermostat while on vacation?

It’s better to adjust the program schedule to a low energy-saving temperature than turn it off completely. This prevents moisture buildup in ducts and keeps the home climate controlled. Turning it back on also avoids large temperature swings.

My new Honeywell thermostat doesn’t fit my old wall plate. What do I do?

You most likely need a thermostat wall plate adapter kit. Different brands use different screw positions. The adapter offsets the screws to align with your Honeywell. Kits are inexpensive at hardware stores.

Why won’t my Honeywell thermostat connect to WiFi?

Check that the thermostat and wireless router are within range, re-enter the WiFi password correctly, and reboot the thermostat. If issues continue, you may need a WiFi range extender placed closer to the thermostat. Call Honeywell support for help.

I get an “Updating” message on cold mornings that delays my heat. What does this mean?

Honeywell thermostats run internal system checks at midnight and when large temperature deltas occur. This “updating” lasts 1-5 minutes. Your system is fine, just wait for it to finish initializing before calling for heat or the message may reappear.

Can I change my HVAC system settings via the Honeywell thermostat?

Some advanced programmable thermostats allow changing installer settings for HVAC stages, timers, service reminders and more. Check your model’s capabilities. Improper adjustments can prevent the system from working correctly, so take care.

Why does my Honeywell say “Wait” when heating/cooling won’t turn on right away?

This is normal compressor protection function. The system waits 5 minutes before restarting after it turns off to prevent compressor damage from short-cycling. Let the system catch up, “Wait” prevents you from making unnecessary setting changes during the delay.

How do I calibrate the temperature sensors on my Honeywell thermostat?

Go to the installation menu and locate the “Calibrate” or similarly named setting. Adjust up or down as needed if the current room temperature displayed is off from a known thermometer reading. The sensors can be offset by as much as 4 degrees.

Is my faulty Honeywell thermostat still under warranty?

Honeywell thermostats usually come with at least a 1 year warranty. Higher end models offer warranties up to 5 years. Register your thermostat online via Honeywell’s website as soon as possible after buying to take full advantage of the coverage duration. Keep your sales receipt as proof of purchase date.


Having problems getting your Honeywell thermostat to go above 68 degrees can be incredibly frustrating, especially during cold weather when you need heat. The good news is that in most cases the issue can be resolved with a few simple troubleshooting and maintenance tips.

Trace the source of the problem through methodical steps like checking the thermostat settings, wiring, system pressure, heater operation and more. Replace old thermostat batteries, reset the unit to factory defaults, and upgrade to a newer programmable model if needed. With some strategic testing and repairs, you can get your thermostat working properly again to keep your home comfortably heated.

Be proactive about regularly changing batteries, cleaning sensors, inspecting wires and filters, and keeping up with HVAC maintenance. Take time to program optimal heating and cooling schedules that keep energy costs down. Thermostat technology has come a long way in recent years, so take advantage of new innovations that improve efficiency, connectivity and ease of use.

While thermostats may seem mundane, they play a huge role in your daily comfort and budget. Keeping your Honeywell thermostat running smoothly provides lasting benefits throughout the years. Don’t hesitate to call in a professional if you’ve exhausted all DIY troubleshooting steps and your thermostat still refuses to top 68 degrees. With the right combination of skill and technology, you’ll be warm and cozy in your home again.

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