5 HVAC Troubleshooting Tips That Every Homeowner Should Know
As a homeowner, you will encounter a wide range of responsibilities, ranging from lawn upkeep to roof replacement. One of the most critical responsibilities for homeowners is the upkeep of their heating and air conditioning. Routine maintenance allows for HVAC troubleshooting that may save you the cost of expensive repairs down the road. Unfortunately, when your HVAC unit is operating as it should, it’s easy to forget its frequent usage. Before you know it, the AC suddenly stops working on the hottest day of the summer. To help ensure your system is operating at its best, here are 5 HVAC troubleshooting tips that every homeowner should know.
What is HVAC Troubleshooting?
When your HVAC system is having problems, it’s common for most people to immediately think that they have to call a professional to make the repairs. The truth is, in some situations, you can repair the problem on your own. HVAC troubleshooting means that you are attempting to figure out what the problem is and fix it on your own. In addition, consider routine maintenance as troubleshooting because you are trying to prevent a problem before it happens. For example, you are changing the air filter to prevent the HVAC system from working harder than it needs to.
Why is HVAC Troubleshooting Important?
There are several reasons why HVAC troubleshooting is essential. Still, the most important reasons are that troubleshooting may prevent you from being without heat or air when you need it. In addition, fixing a problem or a potential problem can also save you time and money in the future. For instance, if you turn on the air but the house isn’t cooling down, checking the thermostat and finding out that it isn’t at the appropriate setting will prevent you from calling a professional.
5 HVAC Troubleshooting Tips
Knowing a few basic troubleshooting tips can help you as a homeowner to discover existing problems with the HVAC system. Keep in mind that you may not always be able to fix everything yourself. Still, we recommend that you always check to see if you can solve the problem on your own before calling a technician. Here are five troubleshooting tips for homeowners:
1. Remember to Change Your Air Filter.
Dirty, clogged, and old air filters are one of the most common causes of an inefficient functioning HVAC system. When the air filter accumulates dirt and dust, it becomes clogged, forcing your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to for the expected results. Change your air filters monthly, or at the least, about every three months to ensure air purity and maximum system performance. If you have pets or live in a highly dusty area, we recommend changing the filters more frequently.
2. Check the Thermostat.
Sometimes, the easiest, quickest, and least expensive type of HVAC troubleshooting is checking the thermostat and adjusting the setting. Your thermostat has various settings, including heat, cool, auto, and fan. Unfortunately, it’s common for these settings to get changed while you are adjusting the temperature accidentally. So, if the temperature inside your home isn’t what you think it should be, for instance, you have the heat setting on, but the system is blowing out cold air, check your thermostat’s settings. Suppose the HVAC doesn’t adequately heat or cool after changing the settings. In that case, there may be a bigger problem that requires professional help.
3. Check the Circuit Breakers.
If the heater or the air conditioner doesn’t turn on at all, the first step to troubleshooting the problem is to check the circuit breakers. To determine if it is a circuit breaker, run your finger down the column of switches to check for a breaker that seems out of sorts with the other ones. If one of the switches is out of sync, flip it back into position. If the circuit breaker continues to switch off, you should contact either an electrician or a professional HVAC technician to determine if it is an electrical problem or a problem with the HVAC system itself.
4. Clean the Outdoor Unit.
When it comes to HVAC troubleshooting, most people forget about the outdoor unit. Unfortunately, the outdoor unit is generally close to trees, grass, and debris, which means potential problems. It’s essential to routinely check the condenser to ensure there isn’t an accumulation of leaves, grass, branches, and other debris. These things can obstruct the airflow into your home, which can affect the air quality and cooling capabilities. Therefore, we recommend that you inspect and clean the condenser before turning on the air conditioner for the season.
5. Clean Registers, Ducts, and Vents.
As the HVAC system is circulating air through your home, small particles, such as dust, dirt, pet hair, and other substances may stick to the ducts, registers, and vents. A buildup of these substances can block the air, ultimately lowering indoor air quality, affecting the system’s efficiency, and making your home uncomfortable. Therefore, it’s beneficial to routinely have the ducts and vents professionally cleaned and regularly check the registers to ensure there isn’t furniture blocking them.
One of the most important things homeowners can do when it comes to HVAC troubleshooting is to be aware of any unusual odors coming from the HVAC system. For instance, if you notice a smell of rotten eggs, gas, or smoke, it indicates a serious problem, and you should contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line
When troubleshooting your HVAC system, remember to start with the most minor and most manageable potential problems. An example would be to ensure the circuit breaker hasn’t switched off and the air filter is clean. In addition, routinely check the thermostat to ensure it hasn’t been moved from the appropriate setting. Remember to keep the outdoor unit clean and free from buildup of dirt and debris. Another important thing homeowners can do when it comes to HVAC troubleshooting is to be aware of any unusual odors coming from the HVAC system. For instance, if you notice a smell of rotten eggs, gas, or smoke, it indicates a severe problem, and you should contact an HVAC professional as soon as possible.
To learn more information about HVAC troubleshooting or to schedule an inspection of your system, contact Echo Air Conditioning in South Florida.