As much as we want them to be, our HVAC units are not always reliable. Regardless of if you have a heater, ventilator, air conditioner or even all three, they could break down with no warning at all. Imagine this, you wake up in the middle of the night and realize your AC is no longer working. Typically, the first thing you would do is panic and call your local handyman. However, this may not always be the right action. Here is a list of 12 things you should check before you give your contractor that call. And who knows you might end up fixing the problem yourself with little to no cost.
1. Check Air Filters: More often than not, the reason you may be experiencing problems with your heating, cooling or ventilation is due to a dirty or clogged filter. However, most people are not aware that they even exist talk less of the fact that they need to be changed regularly. Our HVAC filters are designed to trap dirt and other particles from accumulating and damaging the internal components of our systems. If these filters are dirty, it makes it difficult for your unit to circulate cool, warm or clean air. They are usually meant to be replaced every 3 months. Avoid handing out large sums of money to pay a professional to do what can be done by yourself.
2. Check Vents: If you are experiencing inconsistent temperatures in different areas of your room, the problem may be a blocked or dirty vent. Sometimes we may accidentally close our vents with furniture or other objects without thinking about it, check around your home and make sure all vents are in an open position. Also, our vents could accumulate dust and debris so it will be beneficial to check them once in a while and clear any dirt.
3. Check batteries: Sometimes the problem may just be something as simple as a battery change. Some thermostats are battery operated. If you notice your thermostat is not lit, try changing the batteries and you may notice a huge improvement.
4. Check the circuit breaker: Your batteries are fully charged and yet your system is still unresponsive, the problem may lie with your circuit breakers. It is quite common for them to switch off or trip. Identify the circuit panel or fuse box and make sure there aren’t any burned fuses. If the switch was off, then just turn it to the on position, but if it trips again contact a professional cause there might be an underlying issue.
5. Check the unit that’s outside: The outside unit or the condenser unit is the big object you usually see in your yard. They are the main site of airflow. Due to the fact that they are located outside, debris such as leaves, branches, snow etc. could block these units and this will lead to por airflow. Clear away any rubble from around or inside the unit. A pro tip is to maintain a 3 feet radius of dirt-free area, in order to protect the outdoor unit.
6. Check the thermostat: Now and then, your thermostat may be the culprit behind your heating or cooling problems. If your thermostat is battery operated, a battery replacement may be all you need. It may sound silly, but a lot of people accidentally put the wrong settings on their thermostat i.e. cool instead of heat and vice versa. So, check the settings and make sure it is on the desired temperature.
7. Check your wires: The location of your HVAC wires is very important. A faulty or unresponsive system could be due to wire damage. Keep wires away from children, pets and take them into account when any yard or garden work is being done i.e. mowing the lawn. If you notice cuts on your wires, contact a professional to help you out to avoid electrocution or a fire.
8. Check for strange noises coming from your unit: Listen for any weird noises coming from your system. If you hear a banging sound, it may indicate a rock in your condenser unit or a faulty part in your system. Turn off the system and check the filters, and fans and remove any visible obstructions. If no obstructions re seen, contact a professional.
9. Check for any leaks around your system: If you see water or any liquid around your unit, the first thing you should do is to locate the source of the fluid. Use a flashlight and check underneath your unit. If you see any holes it may indicate a pan overflow, bad gasket or a condensate line clog. Call your contractor to deal with the issue.
10. Check interior and outside switches: Some systems have switches near the indoor unit while some have them near the outdoor units. They look similar to light switches. Sometimes the switches may be turned off accidentally so just turn them on and everything should be fine.
11. Check the pilot light: If you have an old gas furnace your unit may stop working when the pilot light goes off. Newer models have electric ignition that have flash codes in case of a problem.
12. Check for power supply: This may seem like an obvious solution but believe it or not it is a relatively frequent cause. During daytime it may not be obvious if there is a power outage especially for people who opt for natural lighting. Check your other electrical devices to be certain whether a power outage is the cause of your HVAC problems.
It’s not very problem that requires a trained expert to sort out. You could save yourself a lot of money knowing what to look out for if you ever experience problems with your HVAC system. If you have checked all these main points and you still need help, or you are uncomfortable with handling electrical appliances. Please contact a licensed expert to check your unit.