HVAC Troubleshooting

The Ultimate HVAC Troubleshooting Guide

Summer will be here before you know it, and it could be a hot one! In fact, last year, records were shattered, with high-temperatures reaching the high-90s and even 100 in Raleigh! If your HVAC system suddenly stops working during a heatwave, you might not be able to get a service tech out right away.

That’s why every homeowner should know a few basic HVAC troubleshooting tips. Here are some basic things you can do right away when you notice a problem with your system. With any luck, you’ll be able to get it up and running on your own and save yourself from having to pay a repair bill at all!

1. Check the Power

One of the most common complaints homeowners have is that their AC won’t turn on at all. It’s not making any sound and it’s not blowing any air. Before you panic, check to make sure you’re not dealing with a simple power issue.

You could have a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. Or, you could be dealing with some loose or broken wires. Once you fix the power issues, your system should resume working normally again.

2. Check Your Thermostat

Another reason your AC might not be turning on when it should is that you have an issue with your thermostat. Try turning it down to the lowest setting and see if this causes the AC to kick back on. If not, you probably need to recalibrate or replace your thermostat.

This is particularly true if you have an old dial-type thermostat. They’re notoriously difficult to calibrate and far less efficient than the newer smart thermostats. In this case, you’re probably better off taking this opportunity to make an upgrade.

Some digital and smart thermostats are difficult to program. You may want to take another look at your manual and make sure everything is set up correctly. If this doesn’t help, it might be time to call in the pros.

3. Check Your Refrigerant

If the air isn’t as cool as it should be or it has a “sticky” feeling, your system could be low on refrigerant. This is what’s responsible for pulling heat and humidity from the air. It’s the lifeblood of your HVAC system.

If you check the refrigerant and notice that it’s low, you might get some temporary relief by topping it off, but this is a temporary solution. Low refrigerant is often caused by a leak, which needs to be repaired by a professional. If your system has multiple leaks, then it likely needs to be replaced.

4. Check Your Condenser Coil

The condenser coil has a very important job. It’s responsible for pushing the heat that’s removed from the air out of your home and into the outdoors. Since it’s part of your outdoor unit, it’s exposed to the elements, including dirt and soot.

When dirt and debris collect in the coils, this heat can’t transfer as efficiently as it should. This will often result in air that’s not as cool as it should be and extra wear and tear on your system. Luckily, a garden hose and some commercially available condenser cleaner will take care of this.

5. And the Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil on your HVAC unit contains refrigerant that absorbs heat. Diminished airflow can cause a layer of ice to form on it. This leads to warm air (or no air) coming from your air supply registers.

To fix the immediate issue, turn off your AC system and wait for the coils to thaw out. This could take as long as 24 hours. In the meantime, you’ll need to do some detective work to find out what’s causing the problem and resolve it.

There are several things that can cause restricted airflow, including low refrigerant, dirty air filters, or problems with your ductwork.

6. Check the Ductwork

This brings us to our next troubleshooting recommendation – check your ductwork. The ductwork in your home carries airflow throughout your home. If your AC isn’t keeping up or some rooms are warm while others are cool, then your ducts could be to blame.

Sometimes, they end up with tears in them, either from rodents or from improper work that was done in the area. These holes allow the cooled air to escape inside your walls. It will also make your system work harder, putting more wear and tear on it, and will raise your electric bills.

7. Look for Drainage Difficulties

When your AC system removes moisture from the air, it’s funneled through a drain line and into a pan, which then goes to a drain. If part of this system is clogged, the water can back up and damage your HVAC system.

Left untreated, this can also lead to water leaks that can cause damage to your home and your belongings.

8. Check Your Fans

Your HVAC system is equipped with a fan that blows the indoor air over the evaporator coils and another one that blows air over the condenser. If your AC is making a lot of noise, the fans could be to blame. In this case, you could be dealing with deteriorating bearings, worn belts, or even just debris.

Start by locating the fan to see if there’s any noticeable dirt or debris on it. You can also tighten the blade to ensure that this isn’t what’s causing the noise and straighten the blades if necessary. You may also try adding some lubrication.

If none of these things work, shut off your system to avoid any additional damage and call in a professional to have a look.

HVAC Troubleshooting Didn’t Work? Give Us a Call!

If you’ve tried these HVAC troubleshooting tips without success, don’t despair! The techs at Unique Air Heating & Cooling are standing by to help you out.

Contact us today and we’ll get out to your home right away. We’ll have you feeling cool in no time!

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