When you’re the proud owner of an HVAC system, it’s inevitable that you’re going to need to call an HVAC service company at some point. It may be just for maintenance, it may be for repair, or it could be for replacement. It all depends on how old your HVAC is, and how well it’s been maintained. Knowing some of the more common HVAC problems and the best solutions can help you when making the call to a pro.
1. Dirty Filter
A dirty filter is a very common problem that can lead to a whole host of HVAC issues. Think of it this way, when you put in a new filter, it starts working hard right away – catching particles, dust, and debris from the air. Over time, those particles build up on the filter, and if you don’t change it or clean it regularly, that old filter can block airflow – making it so much harder for your furnace to heat your home. That means your equipment will have to work harder, and that can lead to mechanical and electrical parts going bad sooner than they should.
Solution: Change your filter! It’s good to do it at least every season, but a basic rule of thumb, change a standard 1" air filter every 1-2 months, and a 4" or 5” air filter at least twice a year – that includes the warm months.
2. Wrong Size Equipment
Remember how hard we said your furnace would have to work because of a dirty filter? Well, getting the wrong size HVAC equipment for your home will make it work even harder. If an HVAC system is too small, it will not be able to meet the comfort needs during extreme weather. And bigger is no better! If an HVAC is too large, you’ll see a drop in efficiency, which means higher costs.
With both furnaces and air conditioners, an oversized unit will heat or cool the room too quickly – turning off and on frequently, and leaving your home with poor temperature and humidity control.
Solution: Purchase the right size equipment! It’s important to get your HVAC unit installed by a contractor who performs a detailed load calculation – or the capacity need to correctly distribute the treated air to each room. To find the right AC size, there’s no substitution for consulting a good technician.
3. Faulty Thermostat
If you notice that your furnace or air conditioner won’t turn on or continues to cycle on and off, a faulty thermostat can be to blame. Since the thermostat is the mind of your whole HVAC system, it’s very important that it keeps in good working condition in order to keep your home at the desired temperature. A thermostat could malfunction for a reason as simple as needing new batteries or it could be an issue with the sensor.
Solution: Thermostats can go bad just like any other mechanical or electrical device, so knowing whether to repair or replace is the first step to fixing it. We put together a list of things to try before calling a service company here. But you can also try changing the batteries, putting your thermostat up or down a few degrees to see if that helps kick things on, or if you know you have an outdated thermostat, upgrading it to a newer model.
A technician can help you check to make sure your temperature sensor is in the right location because choosing the wrong location – like a small enclosed space vs. a large central room – can cause the constant cycling on and off.
For more common furnace problems and how to fix them, read this other article we’ve put together.