AC Issues Diagnose Heating Cooling System Problems

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( — January 10, 2022) —

According to one recent report, around one in five Americans has to repair or replace their heating or air conditioning system (HVAC) each year. That’s roughly 20% of the total population!

You expect your home to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. After all, it’s your place of refuge and rest. While you might not think about your HVAC system on a daily basis, you’re sure to notice when it’s on the fritz.

In this case, knowledge and prevention are key. If you understand what certain AC issues look like, then you can put steps in place today to mitigate that from happening at your home.

Today, we’re taking a look at how to diagnose some of the most common HVAC problems to keep your property comfortable.

Neglecting to Schedule the Proper Maintenance

You could have top-of-the-line heating and cooling systems, but they’ll still require a degree of regular maintenance and upkeep. By getting on a routine schedule with a local team of technicians, you can keep small problems from snowballing into bigger ones.

Otherwise, an issue as small as a faulty compressor valve could wind up costing you thousands of dollars in bigger repair costs down the road. Plus, problematic parts can also drive up your power bill and won’t work as effectively.

As they’re located outside, it’s easy to forget about your HVAC systems and assume they’re in fine working order. However, it’s critical to register for a preventative maintenance program as soon after installation as possible.

This way, you don’t even have to think about calling to schedule a technician visit. They’ll come to your property at the agreed-upon intervals, and will ensure that all of the internal and external components are in good working order. As you research the best HVAC troubleshooting team in your area, make sure they’re a licensed contractor and qualified to do the work.

Frozen or Iced-Up Components

It can be disheartening to walk outside and see your heat pump covered in ice or frost. Sometimes, the entire coil might look coated! This simply means that these components got too cold when temperature dropped.

As long as you call a technician in a timely manner, this issue doesn’t have to worsen. Yet, prompt action is necessary. Water expands when it freezes, and this can cause your line or coil to burst.

While you’re investigating this issue, take a look at the scope. Your entire unit should never be encased in snow or ice for an extended period of time, as this could negatively affect performance. There has to be an open area where the transfer of heat can occur between the refrigerant and outside air.

Otherwise, it will force the machine to work over-time, which can cause irreparable damage to myriad components, such as:

  • Fan blades
  • Coils
  • Refrigerant
  • Compressor

Most modern units will feature an automatic defrost cycle that’s intended to mitigate this risk by periodically removing ice from the coils. This keeps all of the parts working safely and effectively. If you notice that your machine appears to be iced-up in the winter, then this could mean the defrost control isn’t working properly.

Dirty or Clogged Filters

Replacing your air filter is a simple step, but it’s one that’s easily to overlook. When these filters are allowed to get dirty and clogged-up, then it can block the airflow in your system.

As a result, the blower will have to work extra-hard to pump air throughout your home. Eventually, this can cause it to overheat and shut down altogether. In addition, you may notice that the temperature in your home doesn’t feel as comfortable as it once did.

If you’ve never changed an air filter before, it’s helpful to know the basics. Here’s a quick guide on how to perform this easy household task.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

When you go to adjust your thermostat, you expect it to be responsive and working properly. Yet, this isn’t always the case. Both programmable and non-programmable models can conk out, and it’s important to understand why.

Often, this is a user error above anything else. Check to make sure that all of your settings are correct. Reference the machine’s user manual to make sure you’re operating it the right way.

If your machine requires batteries, then check to see if they are fresh. If not, replace them. While it’s possible that an issue with the HVAC unit is causing the operation error, this isn’t usually the case.

Uneven Room Temperatures

Your daughter’s room is freezing cold, but your kitchen is hotter than July. What’s going on?

Before placing a call, check the vents or dampers in each room. If they’re closed, then this can block the flow of air into that space. It’s a quick step that can save you a ton of headache (and money) down the road.

If they’re all open and you still notice a discrepancy, then it’s time to schedule a maintenance visit. Other issues that could be at work include:

  • Leaks due to improperly sealed ducts
  • Leaks due to poor insulation
  • Old, non-energy-efficient windows that are leaking air
  • An improperly sized HVAC system (too big/small for your home)

It’s important to get to the bottom of the problem as soon as possible. Otherwise, your next energy bill could reflect the difference you’re already feeling.

Overheating or Poor Heating

When it’s chilly out, you want to make sure your home is cozy and warm! Yet, what should you do if it’s leaving you chilly? Often, poor performance is the result of simple wear and tear.

If nothing else appears to be going wrong and your system is more than 10 years old, then age could be a factor. Most HVAC systems are designed to last between 15 and 20 years, though some will wear out much faster.

Specifically, belts and bearings are more likely to give out than other parts, such as compressors. Routine preventative maintenance is key to making sure these components are solid and working as they should. Technicians can fix or replace any belts that look overly worn or stretched-out, and can add oil to bearings and motors as required.

Slow Ignition

When you think about an ignition system, your mind might immediately go to your vehicle. Yet, did you know that your HVAC unit has one, too?

If it’s slow to start, then your overall system operation could seem sluggish. This can add extra stress to the parts, and can drive up your utility costs. You’ll also feel the difference in your home.

If this is the case, then there may be a few culprits at work. For instance, there could be an issue with your flame sensor or burner. Or, it could be a malfunctioning pilot. If these parts all seem to be fine, then the issue might lie with your gas levels.

A technician can assess what’s really going on. Some homeowners may need new parts in their ignition system to solve the problem completely.

Strange Noises

It’s common to hear a slight rumble as your HVAC system starts up. Usually, these units are placed in an inconspicuous outdoor spot, away from main living areas. That way, you don’t exactly notice each time yours activates.

However, while a low noise is natural, it shouldn’t last for long, nor should it sound strange. If yours sounds clunky or otherwise off-beat, then it could point to an operational error.

For instance, a high-pitched whine or squeal could mean that there’s a problem with the bearings in your inducer motor. Or, your blower motor might need a second look. Early identification and remediation could save the motor, though you may need a new one to avoid a total furnace failure.

If your motors are fine, then there might be airflow issues to correct, or burners to clean. If you can take action immediately, then you can mitigate the time and costs associated with a full furnace replacement.

Tripped Breakers

When your blower works overtime, you may notice that your furnace routinely trips a circuit breaker. For instance, this can happen when you fail to replace or clean your air filters as required. Usually, you can correct this issue by making sure that there’s nothing inhibiting the flow or air to your system.

If the problem happens again, go ahead and call a professional. The issue could lie with the furnace itself, or you may have a faulty circuit breaker to fix. Other issues that can put unneeded strain on your blower include:

  • Leaky ductwork
  • Dirty system coils
  • Closed or blocked air registers

Avoid These Common AC Issues

Like your refrigerator and oven, you count on your HVAC system to work as it should. When it doesn’t, it can impact your overall quality of life. It can also pose a threat to the safety and security of your home.

While these are some of the most common AC issues that homeowners experience, they aren’t the only ones. By partnering with a qualified local team, you can rest assured that your system will run as it should.

Looking for more homeowner advice? Check out our helpful guides on everything from technology to business!