So there you are. It’s 3am and you’re watching a video about ancient salad dressing because you started out trying to find the lyrics to the song in your head that was keeping you from sleeping but fell into the YouTube wormhole. Suddenly, you realize that you’re sweaty and the temperature being too high is the real reason you can’t sleep, not the cursed Taylor Swift song you heard against your will earlier that day. You now have to see what’s going on. You’re about to embark on a harrowing journey of truth seeking called HVAC troubleshooting.
You’re going to need to do a few things that could turn out to be lifesavers. Not only will you get back to sleep if they work, but you may save some money. Not that paying someone to come out just to find that your filter is too old isn’t thrilling. Let’s look at 5 Steps for HVAC troubleshooting.
If your system isn’t turning on at all, you may have a power issue either on the supply end or the system end. Many of the problems with the power are not easily fixed by homeowners. What you can do, however, is check the breaker box to see if any fuses have been blown. If you don’t have a blown fuse, turn the system off and back on and listen for noises. If there are noises as if something is trying to work but ends abruptly, the problem is likely not from the source, but from in the system. Though that isn’t always true, it will eliminate a common culprit.
If there is no noise when the system is turned on, but you know there is power, you may have a non-functioning thermostat, bad wiring, or a faulty part. The thermostat might need to be reprogrammed or get a new battery. Checking, reprogramming, or even replacing the thermostat is part of the HVAC troubleshooting you may be able to do that would save you a service call.
If your system is running but not cooling sufficiently, you may have an airflow problem. The most common is clogged filters. When the system can’t breathe, it doesn’t put out a large volume of air, which can slow the cooling of your spaces, and the loss of circulation can make for uneven cooling, creating hot or cold spots in the house. Debris in or around the units can also choke your system, as can blocked ductwork. You may need to walk around your vents and units to rule out these problems.
Underperforming units can often be suffering from damage, such as coils bent, dirty, or rusted on the units, wires chewed through by critters, ductwork blocked by foreign objects or animals, components damaged by lightning or power surges, and so on. All of these problems can be fixed by hitting the units with hammers and cussing, by the way. Wait, stop. No, not really. Don’t do that. There are better ways to do HVAC troubleshooting.
See if you can find any standing water that may signal a line is leaky, frozen, or clogged. Listen to strange sounds from the system that could indicate a component is faulty among other things. Feel the unit for unusual vibrations, wobbles, or clunks. Smell for gases or burning (if you smell gas or fire you should leave and call a pro immediately.) Taste, just kidding. Don’t taste anything in an HVAC system because stupidity is often not covered by insurance.
There are plenty of causes for an uncomfortable temperature. The coolant could be low, a dehumidifier could be out, your doors or windows may have been open too much recently, one or more components could be faulty - lots of things. At Jake’s Heating and Cooling, we have been doing HVAC troubleshooting for a long time. We’ve likely seen your situation before. So, if you don’t feel comfortable with any of these methods or you just want a pro to check it out, contact us. We love every chance we get to solve problems and help people out of a tough situation.
If you have any questions about your HVAC system or need maintenance done, be sure to contact our professionals!