Most homeowners may overlook the simple maintenance needs of their heating, venitng and air conditioning system. When this happens, cooling and heating systems fail to deliver the expected comfort when they are needed the most, once summer or winter hits. While you can’t prevent all HVAC problems, you can reduce the chance of many of these situations from happening.
HVAC Problems and How to Solve Them
Leaking Ducts & Water Damage
Drip, drip, drip… HVAC leaks can cause serious damage to your system, apliances, and the home itself. If left unchecked, small leaks can become a pool of water, which can cause severe damage. The most common sign is yellow water stains on the ceiling – not a good look. You can save yourself from a major headache when you know that HVAC problems might be the causes of water dripping. Best to act on it sooner rather than later.
Air Leaks Around the Vent
Normally, air flows through the grates, but when it escapes around the AC vents you might notice a condensation build-up. This can result in damaging drips. Regularly check your air vents to feel if there is any air discharge besides the grates. If there is, be sure to seal the leak right away with caulk.
Obstructed Drain Line
If you do notice drips, check the drip pan of your HVAC system. An overflow is a sign that you have a clogged condensate drain line on your hands. The presence of rust on the furnace means that you have a serious malfunction and this can be dangerous. Call an AC repair service provider immediately, they have the skills and proper tools to handle the situation.
Dirty Air Filter
Heating and cooling coils can get covered with dust and dirt that would normally be blocked by a clean air filter. This causes HVAC problems like a freezing unit. If the frost melts when it is switched off, it can drain into your AC vents. Changing the air filter frequently allows the cooling unit to function properly and prevents these issues.
When cool air passes through warm spots in your home, condensation can build up in your ductwork. If this drains in your AC vents it eventually becomes leaks. It might also result in high energy consumption in cooling and heating your home and unexpected temperature drops. Proper duct insulation will remedy the issue.
Poor Quality Airflow
If you experience hot and cold spots in your space you have an HVAC airflow problem. Poor airflow in your vents causes your cooling unit to emit hot air. Ignoring the problem can lead to compressor failure, and when it conks out you will certainly need a replacement. There is, however, an easy way to improve HVAC airflow and it won’t cost you much to fix.
Debris, leaves, and other materials that have amassed around the outdoor condenser obstruct air flowing into the HVAC system. If it doesn’t get enough airflow to the unit, the system will overheat. Regularly clean the area around the condensing unit to improve the HVAC airflow.
Blocked Vents & Registers
Vents and registers should be free from obstructions to allow for airflow. This is a common issue in an office. Some people find the setting to be too cold and move a piece of furniture to block the breeze. You might notice the space become warmer if the airflow is compromised.
Filters collect dust and dirt to keep it away from the equipment and ducts. If clogged it does not serve its purpose. When it gets dirty it causes HVAC problems, hindering airflow. You might experience hot and cold areas, and stuffy air. Follow your manufacturer’s manual on changing filters. This could mean changing filters as often as every month.
Thermostats can give out because of excessive use, age and faulty wiring, among other issues. If it doesn’t turn on, can’t be turned off, is generally unresponsive or the areas throughout the house have different temperatures, the thermostat is likely defective.
First check if your HVAC system has power. A battery change or a simple dusting are quick fixes that can make your unit run smoothly. Keep the thermostat away from heat sources and direct sunlight. Make sure that it is perfectly level, otherwise the mercury switch will not function properly.
If your HVAC system is low on refrigerant it will not work properly, blowing warm air instead of cool. The following are signs that the refrigerant is low:
- Your electricity consumption is higher than previous years with the same HVAC unit.
- It takes more time to cool your home over time, or the air that blows from the vents is warm when it should be cool.
- Ice build-up on your unit’s exterior.
- Hissing or bubbling noises. These can indicate a leak.,
Heat Pump Issues
The heat pumps keeps your home warm during the winter and provides cool air during the heat of summer. When they are energy efficient, homeowners enjoy savings from lower electric bills. However, even with proper care and maintenance it is possible that something could go wrong. Here’s how to know if your heat pump needs to be replaced:
- The temperature is inconsistent.
- Energy bills have inexplicably increased.
- There are strange smells or noises coming from the unit.
- Airflow has diminished.
- You notice excess moisture or leaking from the unit.
Unexpected Heat Loss
If you are experiencing heat loss, check your thermostat and be sure that the heat pump is kicked on and turned to heat. It is always good to make sure that someone didn’t turn it off and forgot to switch it on. It could also be that your HVAC unit might not be receiving power, check your circuit breaker – it might have tripped and needs to be reset. If this is not the case there may be a wiring issue. An improperly wired thermostat can damage electrical components and put you in danger. If you do not have some basic knowledge of electrical safety, it’s best to hire the services of an HVAC technician.
Cycling refers to the heat pump turning on an off. A heat pump that turns off and on too often has a dirty air filter or a defective blower. Cleaning or changing the filter will solve your problem for the former, and a replacement of the blower for the latter. It could be also your thermostat that is the cause of the incorrect cycle, a simple adjustment or battery replacement may resolve the issue.
A rattling sound from the heat pump might be due to loose hardware. See that cover panels and the air handler are screwed down tightly. Turn off your heat pump if you hear grinding sounds, this could be due to worn-out motor bearings, and call an HVAC technician immediately.
While DIY can seem ideal for homeowners, some jobs are best left to the professionals. It’s good to schedule regular maintenance to stave off any serious HVAC problems, and make sure everything is in tip-top shape.