Becoming a homeowner is an exciting milestone, but it also comes with a number of responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is caring for and maintaining your home's HVAC system. Without experience, it can be difficult to tell when something is wrong or when it's time to replace fixtures like your thermostat. Fortunately, there are online and offline resources that can teach you everything you need to know about your HVAC and how to identify common problems that you may run into. If you're not sure if you need to call a technician, read on to find out about three signs you need a new thermostat.

1. Your HVAC system is outdated.

HVAC system

There are several warning signs that you need a new thermostat to keep an eye out for, but one common problem is the age of the thermostat itself. The average thermostat has a life span of about 10 years. If your thermostat is outdated, you may want to call your local HVAC professional to see what your options are for replacing it. A technician can give you a better idea of what type of system will best suit your heating and cooling needs.

It's important to be proactive about proper HVAC maintenance if you want to extend the life of your system and accessories like your thermostat. You should have your HVAC system inspected by a technician annually, though it's always a good idea to have someone take a look at it if you suspect something is wrong. The filter should also be changed at least every 90 days, though many homeowners choose to change it more frequently than that. If you're experiencing consistent problems with a system that's over a decade old, it may be time for a replacement.

2. The thermostat displays an incorrect temperature.

The thermostat displays an incorrect temperature.

Inaccurate thermostat readings are a problem for several reasons, primarily due to the fact that they can cause your home to become too warm or too cold. A good way to find out if your thermostat is displaying the correct temperature is to use a thermometer to ascertain the correct temperature of the room and check that against your thermostat. Inaccurate readings can be caused by old, defective, or malfunctioning sensors. While a repair may be enough to address the issue in some cases, you may need to replace your thermostat entirely if it continues to display inaccurate temperature readings.

3. Your utility bills are higher than usual.

Your utility bills are higher than usual

Another telltale sign that something is wrong with your thermostat or HVAC unit is a sudden increase in your monthly utility bills. If you need a new thermostat, you should seriously consider upgrading to a smart thermostat. Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi-enabled devices that work with home automation to control your HVAC system through a smart speaker, mobile phone, or website. These thermostats can even use algorithms to adjust the temperature based on when you typically leave your home or sleep. Having more control over the indoor climate in your home can make a meaningful difference in your quality of life and cut down on your energy costs.

There are a lot of factors to take into account when evaluating the condition of your HVAC system. When your thermostat is malfunctioning, it's always best to err on caution and have a professional inspect it before deciding what to do. While it can be tempting to try to diagnose the problem or even repair it yourself, you could hurt yourself or create an even more expensive problem to fix. Your local HVAC technician can help you figure out what's wrong and what your options are. If you do find that you need a new thermostat, you may want to consider upgrading to a smart thermostat to take advantage of the additional climate-control features and save some money.