HVAC Trouble Shooting Guide


Nothing is worse than having your air conditioning go out on a hot day. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it can even be dangerous. Elderly people or those with certain medical conditions may be at risk without air conditioning in extreme weather. 

When air conditioning goes out in summer, it could take a while to get a repair person to your home. This HVAC trouble shooting chart can help.

If you troubleshoot before you call for help, you can figure out if the problem is something simple that you can fix yourself. Troubleshooting will help you describe what is wrong when you call an HVAC specialist.

If your air conditioner won’t turn on or doesn’t cool the room when it comes on, there are a few things you should check.

Make Sure the Thermostat Is Working

The thermostat controls the temperature in your room. The thermostat generally operates on batteries, and if those batteries wear out, your HVAC system will not work. The first thing you want to do is to try replacing the batteries in your thermostat.

Like everything else in your house, the thermostat can get dirty. Dirt buildup may cause the thermostat to malfunction. In this case, turn it off, remove the cover, and clean it. 

If you replace the batteries and clean your thermostat and your air conditioner still does not work, then there might be something wrong with the sensors. The thermostat may also be located in the wrong place. The device needs to be near a heat source for it to work properly.

If the thermostat works but the room does not feel cool, check the AC unit itself. 

Check the Filter

One of the main reasons an air conditioner will not cool properly is because the filter is dirty. Most filters need to be changed every one to three months. The frequency with which you change the filter will depend on its quality and how often you use your air conditioner. 

Check your owner’s manual to make sure you are using the right type of filter for your air conditioning system. Air condition filter quality is determined by Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV rating) with standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The higher the rating, the higher the quality of the filter. Filter efficiency is determined by the size of the particle the filter can capture. The best filters will be able to capture the smallest particles. 

Filters are rated on a scale of 1 to 16. You may think you should just go out and buy yourself a filter with the highest rating possible. However, your system may not be able to work with a high-efficiency filter. If you use a filter with too high a MERV rating, the HVAC system will be forced to work harder. Your energy bills will be higher and the system may break down. You should always use the highest quality filter your owner’s manual recommends.

Check Out the Coils of the Outside Condenser

In some cases, an air conditioner may not work because the outside condenser coils are dirty or blocked. Turn off the air conditioner and check the coils. If they are dirty, clean them.

You should look at all the air vents and make sure none of them are blocked. In addition, you should check the outdoor unit to make sure no leaves or tree branches are obstructing it. 

Check the Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coils of an air conditioner can freeze. The evaporator coil is responsible for the process of heat exchange in an air conditioning unit. If it does not work, the air conditioner will not be able to cool the air. 

Air conditioner coils may freeze because your filter needs to be replaced. You should always change your filter if you notice the evaporator coil is experiencing issues. 

Try running the air conditioner on the fan-only mode. This might melt the ice. If it works, turn off the air conditioner and clean the coil completely. Turn the AC back on and see if it works. If the coil freezes again, call for repair. 

What to Check if the Air Conditioner Is Working Too Well

In some cases, your house may feel too cold when you turn on your air conditioner. Not only will this make people in your house uncomfortable, but it will also increase your electric bill. This problem can be caused by a dirty or broken blower fan. Try cleaning the blower fan to see if this eliminates the problem. If it doesn’t, call a professional HVAC repair company.

What to Do if Strange Odors or Noises Come From Your HVAC

Occasionally, an air conditioner will have a rather musty smell. This is often due to mold building up on the coils of the air conditioner or the drip pan. Turning off the air conditioner and wiping down the coils and the drip pan may eliminate this problem.

If a strange smell is coming from your HVAC system, whether you are running your air conditioner or heater, you should turn it off. Your system may have faulty wiring or a leak. 

You need an HVAC repair expert to take care of the problem. A strange noise coming from an HVAC system may have various causes. A bolt may have come loose or there may be an electrical fault. Some noises may be caused by a dirty filter.

If you hear a hissing noise, you may have an air leak. If you hear a clicking, there may be electrical problems.

You can troubleshoot a noise by looking for loose screws or leaks. If you do not find anything, call a professional. Certified and licensed technicians will have the know-how, training, and equipment to take care of the problem.

What to Look for In an HVAC Repair Company

If you use your troubleshooting techniques and you still cannot fix your HVAC system, look for a repair company that has been around for a long time. Select a company that only hires highly trained technicians with years of experience. 

Make sure the company is licensed in the state of Texas. Check reviews of the company on Google and Angi as well. Always get several price estimates before deciding who to use for HVAC repair.

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