As your local HVAC repair specialists, there are some problems that we see more than others. The causes of these problems can vary, but every repair needs an expert touch. If you attempt to repair your HVAC system with DIY skills, you may cause more damage, and it will be more expensive to fix later. Let’s take a look at the seven most common HVAC repairs that we deal with on a daily basis.
- An Inaccurate Thermostat
The usual cause of an inaccurate thermostat is that it isn’t calibrated properly. This is a simple fix for a local HVAC specialist, but it can be a nuisance call. Traditional thermostats tend to lose their calibration quickly, and this is especially true if they are new units. But, if you invest in a new digital thermostat, this is not an issue. The older bi-metal or mercury thermostats are slowly being phased out, and a digital programmable unit is now considered an entry-level thermostat. The latest digital units are highly programmable, and they can save the user up to 30% on their energy bills.
- A Malfunctioning Thermostat
Sticking with thermostats, it’s a common component that can act erratically at times. It’s important to position the thermostat in a location out of direct sunlight, or the sensor can become confused into thinking the indoor temperature is hotter than it is. Another common issue is strange behavior caused by dirt or dust in the unit or a flat battery. Taking off the cover and giving the unit a quick clean or changing the battery may fix the problem. Some users have incorrect settings for their thermostat. It may be set in AC mode when you need heat and vice versa. The owner’s manual for your thermostat has plenty of useful information, but if you cannot fix the problem, it’s time to call a local HVAC specialist.
- Blown Fuses and Tripped Breakers
Sometimes the problem is as simple as a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. This is easy to fix, but it may be a sign of an underlying problem that will recur later. The first place to check is your air filter. If it is clogged and dirty, it will inhibit the airflow to the HVAC system. This may not seem like a big deal, but your HVAC system relies on a steady flow of air to work correctly. When insufficient air is flowing, the equipment will overwork to compensate, which can lead to a power surge. Clean and replace the air filter before you reset the breaker or change the fuse and see if this fixes the problem.
- Hearing Strange Noises
Even the best HVAC systems make a little noise during normal operations. But, if you notice strange and unusual noises, such as whining, squealing, and rattling, you have a problem. A modern HVAC system contains a number of electronic, electrical, and mechanical parts, so it is a complex system. Much like a car, things can shake loose over time, and if they are not repaired or replaced, they can damage nearby components. For example, a loud squealing noise could indicate a failing blower or an inducer motor, and a rattle could be loose part moving around. A professional repair could be as simple as replacing a worn belt or tightening a fan blade. But, if your blower motor is failing, it will need to be replaced before it causes a complete HVAC system failure. Carrying out DIY repairs on your HVAC system is a bad idea, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to cause more damage. Protect your investment and call a local HVAC specialist to find the source of the noise and fix it for you.
- Lowered Energy Efficiency
Every HVAC system suffers from a reduction in efficiency as it ages. This can be offset with regular maintenance, but eventually, every system will have compromised efficiency. A well maintained AC system can last up to a decade, and a furnace could last twice that long. But, if your heating and cooling equipment is newer, then there could be a number of causes. The first port of call should be the air filters. If they are clogged, the lack of airflow will cause the equipment to overwork, and this will drive up the energy bills. Changing the air filter is easy, just make sure you use the same model filter or the air will move around the outside, and it will be useless. Another possible cause is the outside out. If the registers are blocked, the system will not work efficiently. Cut back any plant life, clear away any items or garden furniture and maintain at least 1-2 feet clearance around the outside unit.
- Noticing Water Leaks
The HVAC system produces condensate that it removes from your home. This moisture is drained into the drain line. If the drain line is clogged, the water cannot drain away, and it will back up into your home. The first sign is a puddle of water under the drain pan located near the furnace. Many condensate drain lines are made of clear, flexible plastic that can be prone to cracking. For this reason, some homeowners upgrade to better quality drain lines that are more durable. Clearing a drain line is easy; simply pour in a cup of bleach or white vinegar and leave it for an hour or two. Then flush out the drain line with a gallon of clear water, and it should drain as intended.
- A Refrigerant Leak?
The HVAC system relies on a consistent level of refrigerant that is kept under high pressure. This is the circulatory system of your cooling equipment, and without it, the HVAC system will struggle to remove heat from your home. So, if you have a leak, it’s important to locate it, fix it and recharge (refill) the refrigerant as soon as possible. A lack of refrigerant can cause uneven cooling and a spike in your energy bills. If you suspect that you have a refrigerant leak, don’t attempt a DIY repair. The repair will not last, and mixing refrigerants will lower the efficacy and efficiency of your HVAC system.
If you are experiencing any of the common repair problems listed here and you cannot fix them yourself, contact a local HVAC specialist today.