You know when your air conditioning system is not working right. Maybe the house is not as comfortable as it could be, the system seems to run all the time, and it makes strange noises. You may not know exactly what is wrong, but you suspect something is.
If this describes your air conditioning system, your system probably isn’t operating as efficiently as it should be. Sometimes you can identify the issue and even correct it yourself because a minor adjustment or repair is all that it needs to fix common HVAC problems and bring back your system to optimal performance.
Having Problems with Your HVAC?
With a qualified HVAC technician, you don’t have to guess at the problem. An HVAC technician can diagnose the problem accurately the first time and can often repair it. If one or more components of your system are beyond repair and need to be replaced, the technician can provide you with recommendations best suited to your home and lifestyle.
Until that dreaded day comes, you can prolong the life of your system by informing yourself about common HVAC problems many homeowners face. Here are eight of the most common ones, how to identify them, and possible solutions:
1. Refrigerant leak. Your air conditioner should not leak refrigerant. You can suspect a leak if the temperature fluctuates a lot and the system is not operating as well as it should, or perhaps it is barely cooling the air. If the refrigerant has leaked out, the compressor will run hot and eventually seize up. If your system is charged with too much refrigerant, the refrigerant will return to the compressor, which can cause the compressor to fail. If your air conditioner is low on refrigerant, it was either undercharged at the time of installation or it leaks. Contact your HVAC technician as soon as possible. The technician should locate the leak, fix it, and test the repair. The technician should then charge the system with the amount of refrigerant that exactly matches the manufacturer’s specification, and is neither undercharged nor overcharged.
2. Corrosion of wires and terminals. You may notice your air conditioner going on and off frequently. This is an indication that your wires and terminals are corroded. Your HVAC technician should inspect them and replace any that are corroded. Otherwise, the sporadic operation will wear out the fan and compressor quickly.
3. Water leaks. A common source of water leakage problems are clogged drain lines causing the condensate to overflow outside of the drain line and overflow the drain pan. You can help keep it draining properly by cleaning it out periodically yourself. Also, pouring bleach down the drain lines can help. Other common leak sources are the collector box, heat exchanger or evaporator drain pan. Your HVAC technician will clean the drain line, identify the source of the leak, and repair it.
4. Dirty filters. If you notice the HVAC system takes longer than it should to cool the house, you may have dirty air filters. Dirty filters make your HVAC units work a lot harder than needed to keep the air circulating. Keeping clean filters in place is one of the easiest and least expensive maintenance operations you can perform on your HVAC system, and it will go a long way toward maximizing its longevity. Change the filters in your HVAC system at least every 30 days to ensure good air circulation and efficient cooling.
5. Continuous blower operation. You may notice that your blower never shuts off. First, check the fan switch on the thermostat and make sure it was not accidentally turned on. If the fan switch is off but the blower is still running, you may have a problem in the fan relay mechanism. When the thermostat calls for heat, the fan relay in the system turns the blower on. If the relay is not operating properly, the blower will not shut off. Your HVAC technician can diagnose the problem and repair this.
6. Dirty components. You may notice your air conditioning is not cooling as well as it should. This is likely due to lack of regular maintenance and cleaning. Dirty air filters can also cause this problem. Dirty components make your entire system work harder and impair the longevity of your system. You may be able to improve the operating efficiency yourself by changing the air filters and hosing down the condenser unit. First, shut off all power to the condenser unit. You can find an electrical disconnect near the condenser or at the electric panel. Clear away any plants and vegetation that may be growing around it. Then hose it down well. Also, the indoor evaporator coil is likely dirty. Your HVAC technician will need to give the components a good cleaning with special cleaning agents to prevent further common HVAC problems from arising.
7. Loud noises. You may hear unusual squealing, grinding, or rasping in your equipment when it comes on. These noises are an indication that components such as belts and bearings are wearing out. These noises can be an indication of normal wear and tear, but some noises are caused by air circulation issues or dirty burners. Regular maintenance by a trained HVAC technician will include replacing worn or stretched belts and oiling bearings and motors. Ignoring these noises can lead to a system failure.
8. Air conditioner only blows warm air. This indicates a refrigerant leak (previously discussed above) or a problem with your evaporator coils or compressor. The compressor pushes the refrigerant through the coils to carry out heat exchange. When the compressor stops working, the air conditioning unit cannot cool the air.
Regular Maintenance Can Prevent Common HVAC Problems
Your HVAC system is probably the most expensive system in your home. You can perform some of the regular maintenance yourself, such as frequently changing the air filters and hosing down the condenser. However, to keep it operating at optimal performance and avoid expensive service calls, you need regular, professional maintenance. It is the best way to protect your investment against common HVAC problems and ensure a comfortable home. Contact a reputable HVAC contractor for more information about regular maintenance for your HVAC system.