HVAC Troubleshooting

October 22, 2009

With fall in swing and cool temperatures arriving now is a good time to understand not only the problems that your heating system might experience but also how you might be able to trouble shoot the problem before calling a technician. Bottom line, a lot of the times you can catch a problem ahead of time by just having regular maintenance performed before the heating season starts. Your technician can catch something before it becomes a problem and the inspection process itself makes sure that your furnace is cleaned, oiled, electrical connections intact, and performing at its most efficient before the coldest weather hits and creates the most demand upon your system.

Most Common Heating Problems?

  • Lack of maintenance. Main cause of unexpected breakdowns, poor comfort or increased energy costs, not to mention homeowners’ frustration, due to extra time, effort and money on their part.
  • Dirty or clogged filters. This will cause airflow and comfort level problems.
  • Airflow problems. This can result from issues with fan motors, belts and bearing, which can cause furnace overheating or poor heating control.
  • Thermostat malfunctions. This can lead to no heat, fan problems or problems with your overall comfort level.
  • Furnace or heating system pilot or ignition control problems. Results in intermittent or no heat.

Troubleshooting your system

  • Thermostat settings. First, check to make sure your thermostat is set on “Heat” with the fan switch set to “Auto” or “On”. Set the thermostat higher than the room temperature to check is the heating & cooling system starts up.
  • Programmable Thermostat settings. If you have a programmable thermostat check for the correct day and time settings to see if the system has entered a program period with an undesirable setting that needs modification.
  • Inspect the circuit breaker. If the thermostat seems fine, you need to check the circuit breaker box next to see if the breaker for your heating & cooling system has been tripped or if a fuse is blown. Some breakers appear “on” when not fully engaged. Flip the HVAC breaker off and on again.
  • Gas-fired furnace. If you have a gas fired-furnace inspect the natural gas line. The handle should be parallel to the pipe when the gas valve is open.
  • Examine airflow. Supply and return grates should be unobstructed. Blocked grills make a room too hot or too cold. If supply and return openings are clear, check for dirty air filter and replace (or clean if permanent) as necessary. Air filters should be checked on a monthly basis to insure that they are dust and debris free. A dirty air filter will decrease the efficiency of your heating system, decrease the quality of air distributed to your home, and can cause breakdowns in your system.

If you’ve tried these steps and are still experiencing problems, contact your service technician.

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Last Updated: June 07, 2024