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What It Means When Your Thermostat Is In Recovery Mode

Have you ever noticed that your thermostat shows that it’s in recovery mode and wondered what this means? Recovery mode is a special feature found on newer programmable thermostats that is designed to help improve home comfort. In most cases, recovery mode is nothing to worry about and simply shows that your HVAC system is now running to raise or lower your home’s temperature. However, there are also times when it can indicate that there is some issue with your thermostat or HVAC system. For this reason, today we’re going to focus on what recovery mode is and how it works to help you know when it is a sign of a problem.


Any programmable thermostat can help to lower your heating and cooling costs by enabling you to set the desired temperature higher or lower at certain times of the day. For instance, if no one is home during the day, you can raise or lower the temperature so that your furnace or air conditioner will rarely or potentially never run while you’re away. You can then program the thermostat so that your heating or AC comes back on to warm or cool your home before you get back home.

Recovery mode is a fairly new feature that isn’t found on most older programmable thermostats. With these thermostats, the time that you have it set for the temperature to raise or lower is the time that your heating or air conditioning will turn on.

Let’s say that you have the thermostat programmed to turn the heat down to 60 degrees when you go to bed and then turn it back up to 70 degrees at 6 in the morning. If you wake up at 6, then your home will still only be 60 degrees as this is the time when your thermostat will signal the furnace to run and start heating your home back up.

It will often take close to an hour for your heating system to raise your home’s temperature by 10 degrees, and it could even take two hours on extremely cold days. This means that if you want your home to already be at 70 degrees when you wake up, you would typically need to program the thermostat so that it increases the temperature at 5 or even 4 a.m.


Programmable thermostats with recovery mode work differently so that the temperature is already where it should be at the time you have the unit programmed for. This means that you wouldn’t need to worry about programming the thermostat so that your heating system turns on earlier in the morning as recovery mode will work to ensure your home is already at 70 degrees when you wake up.

When your thermostat shows it is in recovery mode, it simply means that it has already signaled your furnace or AC to run and is beginning to raise or lower your home’s temperature. In most cases, the thermostat will enter recovery mode and start heating or cooling around an hour before the time the temperature is set to increase or decrease.

Recovery mode is a great feature that takes the guesswork out of programming your thermostat as it will work to ensure that your home is already at the desired temperature when you wake up in the morning and get back from work in the evening. Once the temperature reaches the thermostat setting, the thermostat will then exit out of recovery mode and your system will then run normally.


Seeing your thermostat in recovery mode is generally nothing you need to worry about as it simply means that your HVAC system is beginning to bring the temperature back up or down. However, your thermostat should only ever enter recovery mode an hour or two before the temperature is programmed to change. If you see that your thermostat shows it is in recovery mode any other time than this, then it usually indicates that there is some problem with either the thermostat itself or your heating or cooling system.

Let’s again say that you have the thermostat programmed so that the temperature is raised to 70 degrees at 6 a.m. In this case, the thermostat should already have exited out of recovery mode and switched back to normal before you wake up. If the thermostat is still in recovery mode when you wake up, it means that your heating system is still running as the temperature hasn’t yet reached 70 degrees. In this situation, you can be fairly certain that there is some issue that is limiting the effectiveness of your heating system and causing it to produce less hot air.

The same situation can also occur during the summer when you’re using your air conditioning. If you have the thermostat set to switch to a lower temperature during the summer and your thermostat is still in recovery mode after the time the temperature was set to change then it indicates that your AC isn’t working effectively.

In either case, the first thing you should do is check to make sure your HVAC air filter isn’t dirty. A dirty air filter will restrict how much air is brought into the system. This leads to the system producing much less heat or cooling, meaning that it will take much longer for it to raise or lower the temperature. If the air filter isn’t dirty, you will then need to have your heating or AC system inspected to determine what is preventing it from working effectively.

There are also times when you may see that your thermostat is in recovery mode at odd times when your HVAC system normally shouldn’t be running. For instance, you may see that it is in recovery mode during the middle of the day even though the thermostat isn’t programmed to turn the heat back up until the early evening.

In this situation, the first thing to do is check your thermostat settings as it is likely that the settings have gotten changed somehow. This could be because someone manually changed the settings or because the thermostat was reset due to a power surge, low battery, or some other issue.

If the settings haven’t changed and your thermostat still constantly shows recovery mode, it most likely indicates that the thermostat is malfunctioning or faulty. In this case, you will need to have an HVAC technician test the thermostat and then either recalibrate it or replace it if it has stopped working properly.


If your thermostat is stuck in recovery mode or your heating or cooling system is having any other issues, you can count on the team at Dragonfly Heating & Cooling for help. We install, service, and repair all types of cooling and heating equipment, including furnaces, air conditioners, ductless mini-splits, and smart thermostats, and we also offer a range of solutions that can help improve your home’s indoor air quality. For more information or to schedule a service appointment, give us a call today.

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