Climate control is one of the most essential functions of a home or business. Whether used to combat heat or cold, HVAC systems play a vital role in our daily lives. We wouldn’t be able to stay comfortable without heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners, nor would our indoor air conditions be healthy and well-ventilated.
As much as HVAC systems are necessary, they aren’t impervious to breakdowns and malfunctions. When we rely on these systems so much, understanding more about how they work—and why they might not be working—can go a long way when it comes to maintaining them properly.
Sometimes the problem is an easy solution that you can do yourself. But, other times, you’ll need a professional HVAC contractor to solve the issues with your system. Either way, if your HVAC unit ever goes down, it’s helpful to know the first place to look, as certain simple elements commonly disrupt HVAC operations.
If you’re ever left scrambling without heating or air conditioning, these are some things that could be going wrong. Before calling your HVAC company, here are six easy things you can do to troubleshoot or solve your system’s problems:
Check the Thermostat
The worst HVAC problems are usually mechanical malfunctions. However, many times when a system stops pumping in the air, it’s actually a problem with the thermostat. Thermostats regulate temperature control, so if they stop working for any reason, your system will stop operating.
Many common issues can occur with a thermostat. The most common is that the unit has run out of battery power, meaning it can no longer communicate with the HVAC system. It’s also possible that it will need to be recalibrated. If your thermostat starts reading the improper temperature, it could cause your system to run continuously or not run at all.
Other common issues include improper thermostat placement, dirt build-up in the thermostat, and that the thermostat has become outdated. If any of these are the problem, it could be time to schedule a thermostat repair.
Change Your Air Filters
Air filters clean the flow of air into your home. They’re great for improving your air quality, but over time, the dirt, dust, and debris they trap will build up, causing a clog that makes airflow impossible.
If you’ve noticed poor air flow from your heating or air conditioning vents, there’s a good chance that the culprit is a dirty air filter. Other signs could include more dust than usual in your home or unresponsive temperature control.
The first step is to check your filter to see if it’s clogged with dust and debris. If it is, buy a replacement for a cheap and easy fix. Your system should start working properly again.
Check the Power Supply
If your HVAC system doesn’t even start, it might seem like the problem is especially serious. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes the problem is as simple as fixing the power supply.
If your HVAC system is electric, the first step is to check that the wiring is connected correctly, giving your unit the electricity it needs. Since HVAC systems draw on a lot of power, another possible problem could be a blown fuse or tripped breaker. Always check your electrical panel to ensure all the components are in working order—you might find the problem inside. Even resetting a breaker could provide the solution!
Ensure Ducts and Vents Are Open
For an HVAC system to work effectively, it needs to be able to circulate air throughout the entire building. If you set a temperature on your thermostat, the unit will continue to either heat or cool the space until all the rooms have reached the desired temperature. Some rooms may not get the air they need if any of your vents or ducts have a blockage. This can cause your unit to run continuously, thinking it still needs to produce heat or cold for the spaces.
Check that no vents are closed to ensure your rooms get the necessary circulation. Never close doors or vents to try to direct airflow to a specific area—this can lead to overrunning your system and severe breakdowns.
Inspect the Outdoor Unit
Many heaters and air conditioners have an exterior unit that pulls air into the home from the outside. As it’s exposed to the natural world, this unit can accumulate debris, causing clogs and obstructions. Grass, leaves, branches, dirt, and more can get into this unit and affect its function.
It’s always advisable to check this unit frequently, ensuring it’s always open and clear. It’s also a good idea to keep hedges, bushes, and trees nearby trimmed back so they don’t interfere with the unit.
Check Your Owner’s Manual
Finally, we always recommend that you check your owner’s manual if there are any unexplained issues with your HVAC unit. Sometimes, these manuals will include specific troubleshooting instructions for your system, meaning you’ll have a more direct plan to follow to identify and solve your issue on your own.
Even if there aren’t troubleshooting solutions, the manual will provide some clarity on the components that go into your system, helping you know how to recalibrate a thermostat, where to find air filters, and other possible issues. Getting a better understanding of the HVAC system for yourself could help you save money on repairs in the long run, as you focus on better maintenance and preventative strategies found in the manual.
Call an HVAC Specialist
If you’ve done all these inspections and haven’t found the source of the problem, you’ll likely need professional help. While there are many common simple fixes, other components of your system can become worn or damaged over time, requiring a professional repair or replacement.
You should always have an HVAC specialist you can call. If you want a heating and cooling professional you can trust, Oak Point Heating and Air LLC is your top option. We have experience troubleshooting issues for all HVAC systems, and we’ll always provide cost-effective solutions to keep your building’s temperature regulated. Call us today at (940) 208-4300 to speak with an expert!