Any forced air system that’s used to heat or cool a home or business needs a large fan, known as a blower, to push the air through the indoor air delivery network. But, the blower doesn’t work in isolation; it’s part of a number of components, which is called the blower assembly. If any component in the blower assembly fails, the blower will be less effective or stop working altogether. The air handler manages the delivery of your treated air, and problems in this area can have a dramatic effect on your home. Let’s take a look at seven common air handler problems that will affect the delivery of treated air throughout your home.
- Fan Blade Issues
Because they are attached to a moving part, fan blades can be susceptible to bending, breaking, or becoming loose during operation. When a blade is damaged in this way, it will have a major impact on the air flow, and it could damage other components. A fan blade issue can usually be detected with weird sounding noises from your HVAC system. As the fan rotates, you may hear loud banging or rattling sounds, and it’s a good idea to shut it down until it can be repaired. Contact a local HVAC specialist, and they can check your air handler system and repair or replace the fan blades for you.
- Electrical Problems
The blower assembly contains a significant amount of electrical wiring, and over time, they can become frayed or corroded. The motor itself can also develop an electrical issue related to the capacitors that can wear out and the wiring itself. If you’re not trained to work on HVAC equipment, it’s a good idea to hire a local expert to work on your system. The air handler contains a number of sensitive components that are easily damaged, and you can hurt yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
- A Malfunctioning Limit Switch
The blower has a switch the protects the heating system, and it ensures that cool air cannot blow into your home during the colder winter months. This component is known as the “limit switch” and if it fails, the blower will act erratically. In some cases, the blower may run intermittently, it may run constantly, or it could stop working entirely. A trained HVAC specialist can quickly fix this problem and restore your cooling or heating in next to no time.
- Airflow Obstructions
The main purpose of the air handler is to promote the airflow throughout your home. So, any obstructions that limit the airflow will work against the air handler and make it less efficient. A typical cause for the obstruction is an air filter that has become dirty and clogged. This is an easy problem to avoid if you change or clean your air filter on a regular basis. Try to clean your air filter each month on the same day, and if you have pets, you may want to clean it every other week. This will keep the components in your air handler clean and clear, and the airflow will be optimized. If you invest in an advanced digital or smart thermostat, you may get a warning when the air filter needs to be cleaned.
- Condensation Leaks
A condensation leak usually causes a buildup of moisture or some water leakage under the unit. When the air conditioner works harder during the hotter summer months, a great deal of extra condensation is caused. This is collected in a drain pan that’s located under the air handler unit. The drain pan has a line that connects the unit to the drainage system, and this can be prone to blockages. Any dirt or dust that’s collected from the indoor air makes its way to the drain pan, where it becomes wet. This sticky material then enters the drain, where it clogs the drain line. Another common issue is the formation of algae and mold inside the drain line. If bugs, mice, and other vermin make their homes in the air conditioner unit, this can also lead to blockages. When the drain line becomes clogged, it can lead to an overflow and water damage.
- Dirty Evaporator Coils
When the evaporator coils in your system are dirty, they can freeze over and cause serious problems for your entire cooling system. When the coils are frozen, they damage your compressor unit, which can be an expensive part to fix or replace. In extreme cases, you may even have to replace your entire air conditioner system. A local HVAC specialist can check your evaporator coils and compressor as part of a regular service.
- Blower Compartment Issues
The blower compartment houses a number of sensitive components that keep your HVAC system working efficiently. If the compartment is contaminated with dirt, dust, and other materials, it can affect your indoor air quality (IAQ). This is also true of any leaks that may be lurking in the HVAC system where dirt and dust can enter the airflow. The first people to notice these types of issues are those suffering from allergies and pre-existing respiratory conditions. Locating air leaks and fixing them can be a tricky proposition if you don’t have experience and specialist equipment. An annual HVAC service will identify these problems, and the technician can then fix them for you.
Adopting a DIY ethos to develop skills and save money on projects in your home is admirable. But, developing skills to work on HVAC equipment can take time, and it is a very specialized field. HVAC equipment represents a significant investment. So, it makes sense to protect it by using qualified technicians and approved parts in your system. Working on HVAC equipment can cause damage if you’re not sure about what you’re doing, and some components can be expensive to replace. It’s a better idea to hire a local HVAC specialist with a good track record for service. Ask about deals on servicing and maintenance because it will save you money in the medium to long term. Well serviced HVAC equipment is more efficient and less likely to fail when you need it most.