Why Is My Thermostat in Recovery Mode?

HVAC Logo IconBy Tom MoorSeptember 12, 2023

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Smart thermostat

Many new smart and programmable thermostats come with convenient features that improve comfort and lower your home’s energy consumption for increased savings. However, learning how these thermostats operate and how their advanced features work can take time.

For example, if you own a programmable or smart thermostat, you may notice it operating in “recovery” mode or “smart recovery” mode. If you’re wondering what thermostat recovery mode means, we’re here to help. Keep reading as HVAC.com, your trusted expert for heating and cooling advice, answers the question – What does recovery mean on a thermostat?

What Does Recovery Mean on a Thermostat?

Thermostat recovery mode anticipates your desired temperature setting at a specific time of day and starts heating or cooling in advance to reach that temperature by the scheduled time, ensuring comfort and energy efficiency.

Recovery mode typically occurs when the system has been in energy-saving mode overnight or for several hours at a time. Essentially, it “recovers” the desired, or pre-set, temperature by the programmed time, reducing the need for manual adjustments and providing a more comfortable environment according to your schedule.

For example, if you pre-set your thermostat to 72 degrees for 5:30 p.m. when you return home from work every day, your thermostat might start “recovering” 30-60 minutes in advance to ensure it reaches your desired temperature in time. Meanwhile, during the winter, you may pre-set your thermostat to 62 degrees while you sleep and have it rise to 70 degrees by 7 a.m. when you wake up. Your thermostat will gradually transition your home’s temperature to 70 degrees via its recovery mode feature.

Thermostat recovery mode prevents your HVAC system from blasting cold or hot air at the last minute to catch up, which is highly inefficient.

Honeywell and Ecobee thermostats often feature recovery or smart recovery modes.

“Recovery mode is your thermostat’s way of being prepared,” said Skylar Christensen, owner of Beehive Plumbing in Salt Lake City UT. “You might see “smart recovery” or “recovery” on the thermostat’s screen; sometimes, a little light will be on. So, recovery mode is just your thermostat's way of making sure your home is comfy when you want it to be. It saves energy as well.”

Potential Problems Associated with Thermostat Recovery Mode

While recovery mode is generally a normal HVAC system function designed to efficiently reach pre-set temperatures, it’s important to be aware of potential issues. If your system frequently enters recovery mode or consistently fails to achieve the desired temperature on schedule, it could indicate problems with thermostat settings, HVAC system efficiency, or a malfunctioning thermostat. Ecobee or Honeywell thermostat recovery mode can also improperly appear after a power surge.

If you notice any of these issues, contact a professional heating and cooling company to investigate and address any underlying problems with your thermostat to ensure proper temperature control and energy efficiency.

Can You Disengage Ecobee or Honeywell Thermostat Recovery Mode?

Many programmable and smart thermostats use recovery mode as a built-in feature. However, some advanced thermostats allow you to adjust recovery schedules, including when the system goes into recovery mode and how long the cycle runs.

The process may vary based on your thermostat’s make and model, but it typically involves accessing the thermostat’s settings menu. Look for options related to scheduling or temperature recovery, and you should find the option to disable or adjust the recovery mode to your preference. Consult your thermostat’s user manual or manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on how to disable this feature for your particular thermostat.

“Most newer thermostats have recovery mode, which helps with energy savings, especially for people who neglect to adjust the temperature in their home,” said Greg Wiseman, with Top Hat Home Comfort Services in Ottawa, ON. “It can usually be turned on and off, and some thermostat models have multiple different recovery modes, so it is important to understand how your particular model works to get the most use out of it.”


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