7 Most Common HVAC Issues & How To Solve Them
How often do you think about your HVAC system? If you’re like most people, probably not too often. The home is a place of comfort. It’s where you go to retreat from all the stressors of life.
It’s easy to forget the air in your home is highly regulated by a complex system. But, don’t let the word “complex” fool you. While intricate technology is certainly a part of any cooling and heating unit, it’s not difficult to make sure it’s functioning as best as possible. Once you understand the common HVAC problems and how to deal with them, you can greatly reduce the chance of an expensive and uncomfortable ordeal.
1. Common HVAC Problems: Neglecting Regular Maintenance
This is a big one that gets the best of a lot of people. Don’t feel bad if it has happened to you. Again, when you’re in the serenity of your home, it’s easy to forget things go on behind the scenes. Plus, even with regular maintenance, normal wear and tear can cause issues. If you notice any of the following, it may be an indicator that repairs are needed:
- A sudden increase in heating and cooling bills
- Low or no airflow
- Hot and cold spots in one area
- Air conditioner is blowing warm air
- Unusual noises (i.e. whistling or squealing sounds)
- Unpleasant smells
These issues should be checked out as soon as possible since it may mean your HVAC is under too much stress. If it continues in a weaker state, the heart of the system (aka the compressor) could fail. Unfortunately, a dead compressor often results in the need to replace an entire unit. To avoid common HVAC problems, it’s recommended to have your unit inspected by a professional every year.
2. Clogged Filters and Vents
Your HVAC filters have the important job of “grabbing” debris out of the air before it reaches the ducts. When dust and other particles collect in your ductwork, the unit can become clogged. This causes the system to work harder because the airflow is restricted. What’s more, if the filters aren’t properly catching pollutants, you could end up with poor indoor air quality. In addition, if vents are closed or blocked by furniture or other items, airflow can be compromised. The solutions are simple:
- Replace your filters at least every quarter.
- Have your vents and ducts inspected and cleaned every three years.
- Make sure all your vents are open and free of obstructions.
Another one of the most common HVAC problems is leaking refrigerant and/or water. Refrigerant is a substance in the evaporator system that’s essential in dehumidifying, absorbing heat, and cooling air. When refrigerant levels are low, the air pushed out will be warmer than it should be. If left in this state, the unit will start to work harder than it should. A technician should be able to pinpoint the cause of the low levels.
Also, if you notice water around the evaporator area (located near the blower fan on the inside of the unit), it could be because the drain line is clogged. Cleaning the line yourself is an option; however, it might be a good idea to have a technician take a look to see if there is anything else causing the leak.
4. Dirty Coils
In your unit are two coils — evaporator and condenser. Simply put, the evaporator coil picks up heat from indoor air while the condenser coil transfers the heat to an outside environment. Dust and particles can collect on these coils, causing a decline in the system’s efficiency. In many situations, this is a result of not cleaning the coils at least once a year and/or not changing filters regularly.
If you have an outside AC unit, you might’ve heard you can hose down your coils. The process is a bit more complicated than this. While you can employ DIY cleaning strategies, we must put out the warning that condenser coils have fins that can bend under water pressure. For safe, thorough cleaning, try to find a reputable air duct and HVAC cleaning company.
5. Thermostat Failure
In some cases, common HVAC problems such as uncontrollable temperature fluctuations may come from a malfunctioning thermostat. Luckily, this is often a quick and easy fix. First, check the owner’s manual to see if the thermostat runs on batteries; it may be as straightforward as replacing them. Next, if it’s not a battery issue, reference the manual again to see if there’s an issue with programming (if your thermostat is programmable).
Of course, if the problem consists — you guessed it — it’s probably time to call in a technician to investigate.
6. Blower Fan Issues
HVAC units have fans that blow air through ductwork. As you can probably surmise, when those blower fans stop working, the air stops flowing. This can be caused by the buildup of dirt or a blower motor failure. A trained tech should be able to find the exact cause of the issue.
Another complication is the blowers running constantly. Prior to hiring a technician, check your thermostat; it could be the fan is set to “on”. In this instance, it’s as easy as turning the fan off.
7. Other Common HVAC Problems
Obviously, what we’ve provided today is not an exhaustive list. An HVAC system is an impressive piece of technology with many moving parts. In addition to the complications listed above, there are some other issues that may be culprits:
- The valves that block or regulate airflow in the ducts (dampers) are imbalanced
- The furnace or AC unit has tripped a breaker or blown a fuse
- The furnace has a pilot light that’s out or its ignition device is malfunctioning
- A gas or electrical problem
For The Texans Out There…
If you’re in the Dallas area and need help with inspecting and cleaning your HVAC system, get in touch with SERVPRO of North Irving. We’re licensed, certified, and understand how to handle common HVAC problems. Plus, we work on both residential and commercial projects. We’re a breath of fresh air in more ways than one (sorry…we couldn’t help ourselves)!
Feel free to reach out by filling out an online form or calling us at (972) 986-7677.