Your HVAC Troubleshooting Guide: Common Problems Homeowners Experience

By December 2, 2019 Maintenance
hvac troubleshooting

Did you know that 75% of homes in the US rely on air conditioners?

That’s right!

That makes the US one of the biggest consumers of HVAC systems. In fact, the industry generates an impressive per capita income of $59,531.60 every year.

And in Florida, where scorching heat is normal, 19 in 20 homes now use air conditioners. 1 in 20 households also depends on natural gas for home heating.

These show how HVAC systems have become a necessity, especially in the Sunshine State. So, it’s understandable to worry if your heater or cooler suddenly stops working.

The good news is, there are some HVAC troubleshooting steps you can try first before phoning the pros. Many common HVAC problems, such as no power or not “cool” enough air, have easy fixes.

So, before you panic, try troubleshooting your HVAC first using the tips we have in this guide.

No Power at All

If your window AC unit doesn’t turn on at all, check the power supply cord that goes into the wall outlet. The cord may only be loose, or someone may have accidentally disconnected it. Check if the built-in circuit breaker (common in newer units) has tripped, and if so, reset it.

Also, be sure that the power cord doesn’t have any damage or fraying. This could happen if household rodent pests chew on them. Especially in Florida, where mice and rat populations are booming.

If none of these occurred, the wall outlet itself may be the issue. Unplug the AC power cord and plug another high-voltage equipment in the same port. If the equipment doesn’t work, the outlet is the problem, but if it does, then the issue is within your AC.

It’s possible that the thermostat, which is what activates the AC, has already failed. A blown fuse or a failed motor could also be the culprits.

In such cases, it’s best to contact us, your local Florida HVAC repair pros. Our experts will give your unit a detailed inspection to determine the cause of your HVAC issues. We’ll run diagnostics, such as continuity and capacitor tests, to confirm why your AC isn’t turning on.

You Can’t Feel the Conditioned Air

Weak airflow is one of the most common HVAC problems affecting both coolers and heaters. Dirty air filters are the main culprit, as the debris build-up could restrict the airflow.

Granted, Florida has some of the cleanest cities in the nation with zero “unhealthy air” days. However, it’s not 100% free of dust and air contaminants, the stuff your HVAC filters trap and contain. Too much filth in the filters would block the airflow, so you may end up not feeling either cool or warm air from the unit.

If you haven’t cleaned or changed the filters in three months, now’s the time to do so. Not only may this fix the weak airflow issue; it will also help prevent HVAC problems like frozen coils.

But if you have, and the airflow is still weak, then damaged fan blades may be the root of this HVAC problem. A faulty compressor, which “compresses” the refrigerant, can also be the cause. A malfunctioning motor may also be too weak to supply enough power to the fan and the compressor.

If cleaning or replacing the filters doesn’t do the trick, you likely have a broken HVAC unit. The fan blades, compressor, or motor may need repairs or replacements. These are HVAC jobs best left in the hands of professional technicians.

Your AC Has Become More like a Heater

Check the thermostat first — someone may have bumped into it, knocking it to “heat” mode. It may also have been set to “auto” mode, which means your AC is running but not in “cooling” mode. It’s possible that the fan is rotating, in which case, it’s only blowing out warm Florida air.

If you’ve set the thermostat to cool but it’s still blowing out warm air, you may have a faulty compressor. The compressor may be failing its job to change the refrigerant’s temp and transfer heat.

A more dangerous culprit, however, is a refrigerant leak, especially if it’s the R-22 kind (Freon). R-22 is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), an ozone-depleting substance. 98% of HCFCs are now banned, but some AC units may still use R-22.

If your AC’s manufacturing date is before December 31, 2014, it likely uses Freon. If you’re getting warm air out of your AC, it may be due to low refrigerant levels, which Freon leaks can cause.

In this case, don’t hesitate to give us a call here at Florida Heat & Air ASAP. Freon leaks can cause refrigerant poisoning, which can have severe health effects. Don’t risk your safety and let us handle your HVAC issue instead.

The AC is Short-Cycling

A clogged air filter can also cause this HVAC issue, as the airflow blockage can overheat the unit. This can lead to the unit shutting down before the cooling or heating cycle finishes. Cleaning or replacing the air filter may resolve this problem.

You should also check for frozen evaporator coils, which is often inside the air handler. In some HVAC units, you’ll find these coils attached to the furnace. If there is ice or frost on the coils, turn off your system and let it defrost.

If you have a faulty thermostat, it may not be getting a proper room temperature reading. This could force it to “short-cycle”, causing shorter cooling or heating cycles. You may notice that the room doesn’t become cool or warm enough, or that it cools or warms up too fast.

Low refrigerant levels and electrical/control board issues may also be the culprit. These problems are often accompanied by clicking sounds from the HVAC unit. In this case, it’s best to let the pros handle the repair, to avoid risks of refrigerant exposure.

Give These HVAC Troubleshooting Steps a Shot

There you have it, your ultimate guide on easy HVAC troubleshooting steps that you can do on your own. Give these a go first, since something as simple as cleaning an air filter can fix your problems.

If these steps don’t do the trick though, it’s time to let us step in and address all your HVAC problems. Schedule a service appointment and get a free quote now before your HVAC issues become worse!

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