Owning an HVAC system is hands-down one of the best ways to maintain your comfort in weather that would otherwise be difficult to bear. However, many homeowners have only a rudimentary idea of how complicated an HVAC is. As such, they can find themselves surprised by a variety of unexpected issues with their climate control systems. Resolving these problems can sometimes be time-consuming and expensive, but most cases are much easier to handle when they are dealt with quickly. Learning about some of the most common heating and air repair issues that homeowners face can, therefore, be an excellent way to stay on top of your system maintenance and keep the cost of using an HVAC affordable.
What are the Most Common Heating and Air Repair Problems?
There are five conventional heating and air repair issues that trouble homeowners, and it is essential to prepare for any of them. Some of them are things you can take steps to fix by yourself, whereas others require the services of a trained and licensed HVAC professional. The five most common problems are as follows:
- Bad Airflow
Many people see the first symptoms of poor airflow when ice begins to form on the evaporator coil in their HVAC. However, a congested system can also cause problems when you are trying to heat your home in the winter.
When air cannot move through your air conditioner without restrictions, it can cause your evaporator coil to freeze. As ice begins to form inside your indoor unit, it can create too much water for your condensate drain to deal with upon melting and result in an overflow. If the problem is unchecked, it may also require you to replace your evaporator coil entirely, which can be a costly process. However, frozen evaporator coils are often easy to prevent or fix when you address them in the initial stages of the problem. Conversely, poor airflow throughout your system can cause furnace efficiency problems and fire hazards in extreme cases.
There are two common causes for reduced airflow, and each can be prevented or fixed effortlessly. Poor airflow is usually caused by either dirty air filters or a blockage in your ductwork. To avoid this, change your air filters once a month whenever your HVAC is in use, and have the ducts cleaned and inspected by a technician at least once a year.
- Broken Fans
Like poor airflow, broken fans are a problem when it comes to both heating and cooling. The fan on your outdoor unit keeps your compressor safe by transferring excess heat away from it during the air conditioning process. A broken fan can cause the compressor to overheat, causing breakage or require replacement. Compressors can run over a thousand dollars, so it is best to pay close attention to your outdoor fan.
During the heating process, the blower fan in your furnace keeps warm air moving throughout your system. As such, a broken fan can prevent your furnace from distributing heat successfully. Make sure that you use an HVAC service company that checks the fans in your system as part of their regular service package.
- Ignition Problems
Different HVAC systems may use distinctive components to start up, especially when it comes to heating. Some of the most common mechanisms used for this purpose are igniters, pilot lights, and various electrical parts. Pilot lights (and especially) igniters are very delicate, so they can occasionally burn out or break down. They can also become dirty, which can affect their ability to function correctly. If you suspect that your pilot light or igniter is dirty, do not attempt to clean it yourself as even touching the component with your bare hands can damage it. Instead, contact professionals who can perform this sensitive task correctly.
- Low Levels of Refrigerant
You might think that refrigerant is only necessary when it comes to the cooling process, but if you have a heat pump, it plays a vital role in warming your home too. Remember that heat pump HVAC systems use the same scientific principles for both heating and cooling, and merely reverse the cooling process instead of using an entirely different process to produce heat. As such, refrigerant levels must be kept stable throughout the year, which means that you should have them checked frequently.
- Thermostat Settings
Whether you are concerned with heating or cooling your home, and whether HVAC system relies on a heat pump or not, there is one modest area that consistently stymies HVAC owners: the thermostat. It is almost unbelievable how many HVAC problems are the result of pure thermostat problems, like setting it to the wrong temperature or forgetting to make sure the batteries are charged. More advanced thermostat issues may relate to the way it is programmed or the sensitive electrical components inside. Check your thermostat according to the directions in the manual whenever you are experiencing HVAC issues, and make sure all settings are correct. If the problem persists, call an HVAC service.
Many people think that heating and air repair will be a complicated and involved process, but that usually is only true when simple problems are left unaddressed. Make sure to pay attention to the areas listed above, and call for professional help when you need it. If you do, you will find that your HVAC repairs are often reasonably quick and affordable.