AC themostat calibration

I posted a question about my AC thermostat a week ago, the cooling was working fine but heating was not. The heater will not turn on even when I set it all the way to a low temperature (current temperature is say 70, I set it to 60, it will not turn on, but it may two hours later...) I called the AC company who installed it and they came out for a service fee of $100.
By the way this is the thermostat I am talking about, a real old one. It is a White-Rodger mercury switch.
Front cover:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/frontcover.JPG
Inside view after cover is removed:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/inside.JPG
Back of front cover:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/coverback.JPG
Close up view of a sticker which should have the detail product information:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/productinfo.JPG
Close up view of the mercury bulb:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/mercurybulb.JPG
I am not sure exactly how things work. The technician told me that my AC unit itself is working perfectly (LENNOX CB301-46-1P). However the calibration is off. He says my problem is the dial probably adjusted too far off. He showed me how to adjust the back cover dial to the current temperature (he says it feels like 72 so he sets it to 72). After the adjustment he left the cover off and showed me that if I push the bottom dial to the left, the mercury bulb will tilt to the right and after 1 minute the AC turns on. So the AC is working properly and the mercury is working fine. He did tell me he can install a new digital thermostat for me the unit itself will be $150 and installation $100, he did say the same unit would be like $20 at HD and it can be easily done by myself.
So now, when I remove the cover and push the dial all the way to the left and the mercury bulb tilted all the way to the right, the heat did not turn on with settings set to AUTO and HEAT. After waiting like over an hour, it finally turned itself on (for what reason I have no idea). The cooling side worked fine, as soon as the bulb tilts right, there is a tiny spark and it kicks on. The heater side did not. I have no clue why it worked perfectly while he was here.
So now my option is to call him back (which means losing a whole day of work - appointments are like 10AM - 3PM anytime in between...and pay $75), buy a new thermostat myself and see, or play with the calibration a bit more myself. But I don't think it's just calibration if I tilt the mercury bulb all the way to the right and the heater does not turn on.
The only problem is with buying a new thermostat is to figure out which one to buy. I browsed HD's catalog and they carried LUX and Honeywell? Any specific models recommended? What should I watch out for when wiring them besides turning off power? Is it a simple color coded 1 to 1 wiring or a different model may require something different?
Thanks,
MC
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 12:37:39 -0500, "miamicuse"

So how much money are you willing to spend on this? You've already been screwed once, ie, people that installed it charged you for a service call. They saw you coming. quit screwing with the pos and get a digital thermostat. The good ones are around 50.00 at the big box stores. After you get it, go to the air handler portion of the unit and unplug it. take the door off and write down the color of each wire. standard wiring is r to r, g to g, c to c, w to w and y to y. If it is not wired this way it is no big deal as long as you match the same color at both ends. On the thermostat put a jumper between rc and rh then put r to rh or rc, g to g, w to w, y to y and DO NOT hook up c unless you have a two transformer system. If it is a two transformer system then and only then, hook up c. The air handler MUST BE UNPLUGGED OR YOU WILL SHORT A FUSE ON THE AIR HANDLER CIRCUIT BOARD. After you get it all hooked up, plug the air handler back in and let er rip.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If I understand the situation, either the tstat or the furnace is not working correctly, since you continue to have problems even when the mercury switch is clearly calling for heat. Perhaps there is some corrosion (or similar problem) on the contacts on the heat/cool switch. If you can see the guts of this switch, try pushing on the contacts while the mercury switch is clearly calling for heat (or spray the contacts with electrical contact cleaner (Radio Shack has this stuff). Similarly, make sure all the screws holding down the wires are tight, both at the stat and at the furnace.
Did the tech who came out confirm that the furnace was working correctly? At this point, it's not clear, to me at least, whether the problem is in the stat or in the furnace.
Al Moran wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I have to agree with Al
I recommend picking up one at the hardware store. Ask the people there about the differences in the different models and features they have. You may be able to save some money on you heating and cooling by getting an automatic set back type. They cost a little more but usually pay for them selves quickly. If you have someone at home all day, then just get the standard one. They come with instructions. They are easy to do yourself.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Did you just say "Ask the people there about...."????
At a big box store?? You usually can't FIND someone to ask let alone one that knows anything about what you are asking!
;-]
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dr. Hardcrab wrote:

I understand what you are saying. However my local Big Box (won't say which one) does have some knowledgeable help.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I vote to do it yourself! $250 is a lot of money for what should be a 30 minute job,if all goes right. If it doesn't,call the technician -he'll probably charge double-just kidding ;) The advice in this group sounds good from what I've seen in my short time here.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
miamicuse wrote:

I don't recommend the LUX units. I have had problems with a couple of them at one time and another. Honeywell is a good brand. It will be more expensive than the LUX. There are a couple of other good brands, but I don't recall the names.
But do a little checking first. There way be some other problem, from your description of what was happening.
I would try to figure out which 2 wires are connected together when the mercury switch is closed, then go to the furnace and CAREFULLY short those 2 wires where they connect to the furnace control. If the furnace comes on right away when the wires are shorted then the problem is most likely in the themostat. Of course there is some possibility that there may be a problem with the wiring.
Bill Gill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.