Common heating and cooling issues can cause service interruptions or catastrophic failure

How to fix the most Common Heating and Cooling Issues

Table of Contents:
10 Most Common Heating and Cooling Issues
How to Save Money on Heating and Cooling Costs this Summer
When Should I Replace my AC Unit?

So you’ve got an aging HVAC system in your house, but you’re not ready to buy a new one. It can be hard to know when to be concerned about your HVAC system, and what to ignore. Maybe you’ve noticed an unfamiliar noise when your furnace kicks on, or perhaps your system isn’t cooling like it used to. Air conditioning units, like any piece of machinery, should be maintained for optimum efficiency, reliability and to ensure the best indoor air quality for your building’s occupants. Your HVAC system is an integral part of your property, school or building. 

Sadly, heating and cooling systems don’t last forever. Like everything in a home, the HVAC system must be maintained and will ultimately need to be replaced at some point. How do homeowners know when they’re nearing that point? What are the most typical issues homeowners can expect to encounter? 

Let’s have a look.

The 10 Most Common Heating and cooling Issues and How to Solve Them

While some HVAC issues are merely a matter of cleaning coils and filters, something that you can do yourself, most of the 10 most common heating and cooling system problems will become much larger issues if not caught early. We can prevent most of those issues through regular preventive maintenance. It’s sensible to have your system checked at least yearly to prevent outages during extreme weather.

Regular maintenance is especially vital in a building with kids. Homes, school buildings, day cares, health clinics and other care facilities should pay close attention to their indoor air quality and temperature controls, as poor ventilation can lead to the spread of airborne particulates. HVAC systems can have a direct effect on the health of students, not to mention the improvements to student attitudes and learning outcomes. 

Here are the most common heating and cooling issues we see:

  1. Thermostat Malfunctions
    There are lots of different thermostats, both programmable and non-programmable. Regularly, when a homeowner believes their furnace isn’t working correctly, it is an issue with the thermostat or how it’s set. Referring to your owner’s manual and reviewing the operating directions might save you from paying for an expensive or unnecessary service call. Programmable thermostats may have batteries which need changed periodically. If still malfunctioning, a service technician can quickly identify problems. 

    Solution: Make sure you did not flip the fan on by mistake. Check or change the thermostat batteries. If still not fixed, refer to the thermostat owners manual to reset. If the problem persists further, contact a service technician. 
  1. Mechanical Wear And Tear
    There are a variety of mechanical parts your heating system depends on. Regular wear and tear of those elements might negatively affect your unit’s efficiency. These include belts and bearings, which may lead to overheating, poor heating, or airflow issues. Regular maintenance should include checking for worn or stretched belts and oiling bearings and motors if needed.

    Solution: Perform regular preventative maintenance and change any damaged or worn components before they fail.
  1. Unusual Furnace Noises
    Some furnace noises are a part of regular operation, while others could also be a warning or indication of a mechanical problem. A whining or squealing motor might be a sign that the bearings in an inducer motor or blower motor are failing. It could also require replacement of the motor to avoid a furnace failure. Unfamiliar noises could also be because of airflow issues or dirty burners. Either way, it’s best to not ignore these signs as they might be a warning of a dangerous operating situation or may cause a furnace failure at the worst possible time.

    Solution: In the event you notice whining, clunking, squealing or rattling, it is best to contact a licensed service technician. This problem can cause catastrophic system failure, so do not put it off.
  1. Blown Fuses Or Tripped Breakers
    The most common reason the furnace trips a circuit breaker is that the blower is overworking. If something is obstructing airflow to your system, your blower has to work harder to compensate. The most common cause is a dirty air filter. When the air filter is dirty, your blower has to work harder to force air through the filter. This increases the blower’s power consumption and can trip the circuit breaker. Examine your filter and replace it with a clean one before resetting your circuit breaker. If the problem recurs, it’s best to contact an expert who can safely determine if the problem is caused by a furnace problem or if the circuit breaker itself might have malfunctioned. Other issues that may make the blower overwork include duct leaks, closed or blocked-off air registers or dirty coils.

    Solution: Changing your filters often is a good start, as this can reduce the power consumption of your entire system. Regular preventative maintenance will also include changing any blown fuses. Your service tech may also check your systems to ensure the best indoor air quality, efficiency, and reliability.
  1. Dirty Condenser Or Evaporator Coils
    Chances are high, regular maintenance on your air conditioner has been neglected if it isn’t cooling and it should be. Dust and particles can clog the coils of your system, significantly lowering the efficiency and wearing it out sooner. You can wash off the outside coil after shutting off the power to the condenser unit. Power can be shut off at the electrical disconnect close to the condenser or at the electrical panel. The indoor evaporator coil can become dirty, particularly if the furnace filters are not changed frequently. A dirty evaporator coil can reduce the efficiency of both your furnace and air conditioner and make your system work harder overall. Extremely soiled coils will have to be cleaned by a trained service technician.

    Solution: Homeowners can hose off their outdoor evaporator coil after shutting off the power at the electrical panel. Regular preventative maintenance will cover the cleaning of your evaporator coils in most cases.
  1. Blower Runs Continuously
    There are several causes a furnace blower might run constantly. Before calling for service, check the fan switch on the thermostat. The motor will run continuously when the thermostat is set to the fan on position. It usually occurs when homeowners accidentally switch the fan on instead of engaging the A/C. 

    There is a fan relay within the furnace that turns the blower on when there’s a call for heat; if the relay sticks, the blower will not shut off. There are several types of safeties and limits on the furnace. If activated, the circuit board might bring on the furnace to cool it down. If the limit or safety doesn’t reset, the blower won’t shut off. A trained service technician can evaluate this problem and provide repair options.

    Solution: Verify that you did not flip the fan on by mistake. If still not fixed, a trained service technician will help diagnose the issue and provide repair options.
  1. Water Leaks
    Both air conditioners and high efficiency furnaces produce condensate. Drain pipes are used to ensure correct water drainage. Furnaces can leak water if the drain lines are clogged or cracked. A homeowner can help keep the drain strains clear by pouring bleach down the drain periodically. Different potential leak sources might be the collector box, heat exchanger or evaporator drain pan. Contact a service technician to help determine the source of the water leak and provide repair options.

    Solution: Pour bleach down your drain pipes periodically to stop buildup. If the drainage problem persists, contact a service technician.

8 Incredibly Simple (and affordable) ways TO Save Money on Heating and Cooling Costs this Summer

The most common reason that people don’t have their HVAC systems regularly maintained is because of price. Many genuinely feel that it’s an unnecessary yearly expense. These same people are, coincidentally, more prone to unexpected repair bills, service interruptions / failures, and will purchase a new more often because of a catastrophic failure. In fact, many of the most common heating and cooling issues we see simply disappear with regular service and maintenance. That being said, if you’ve got an older system, or you’re simply budget-conscious, here are some budget friendly tips to get the most out of your heating and cooling system. If you regularly do all these steps, you’ll save enough money, to offset the annual service cost.

So what are these steps? We came up with eight, no-cost strategies you can use to enhance your HVAC efficiency and lower that monthly bill. Test them out:

  1. Clear around your outdoor condenser unit — As long as you keep the area around your unit clear from any debris, it will be capable of performing optimally. This includes trimming back shrubs and bushes, mulch, and grass.
  2. Vacuum indoor vents and keep them unblocked — If mud, particles, or home furnishings are blocking your vents, it’s limiting the airflow that your system needs to operate correctly.
  3. Adjust your thermostat — If you adjust your thermostat by 5 to eight degrees, down in winter and up in summer season, it can save you some huge cash and power. Everybody has their own comfort level in terms of temperature, so play with this range to find your ideal comfort level. Even adjusting the thermostat by a few degrees could make a noticeable difference in your bill.
  4. Keep heat-producing appliances away from the thermostat — Having gadgets that produce heat around your thermostat will tell it that your house is far hotter than it really is, causing it to cool your property more than what it really needs. This can be a massive energy and money waste.
  5. Strategically closing blinds and curtains— When you’ve got home windows that allow the sun to come back on throughout summer months, it’s best to have the curtains and or blinds closed to stop the heating of your home. When you have windows that don’t allow the sun to come back straight in, leave them open to offer natural light, as an alternative to turning on the bulbs. In the winter, it’s best to keep all the curtains and blinds open to help heat and light the property.
  6. Clear your drain line — There is a drain by the indoor cooling coil, which is mounted above the furnace. You can keep your air conditioning drain line clear by adding bleach to it regularly. Pouring 1 cup of bleach and 1 cup of water down it a few times a year will keep it free from build up and blockages. This can help eliminate the potential for flooding because of a clogged drain.
  7. Avoid using dryers and ovens — This one could sound loopy, just hear me out. For those who use a dryer or oven throughout the hottest part of the day, you might push an extra wave of scorching hot air into your home. Doing so causes your property to warm up rapidly and double the workload of your air conditioning. During the winter, feel free to use them any time you want!
  8. Insulate any uncovered ductwork — All properties have ductwork. Your ducts carry the heated or cooled air to your dwelling areas. If any of this ductwork is left uncovered and uninsulated, you might lose some of the cooling or heat that your living spaces need.

Based on the Department of Energy studies, heating and cooling bills can make up over half of your total utility expenses. This makes central air one of the biggest energy expenses for a typical United States household. With this being the case, should you implement the above eight suggestions for decreasing your monthly utility bill, it can save you enough cash to start out investing in your annual HVAC maintenance.

Particularly with aging systems, it may be exhausting to know when you need to repair your current system and when you need to consider shopping for a brand new one. What makes a repair price too costly? While everybody’s finances and needs are completely different, as a general rule, if an HVAC repair costs over fifty percent the price of a new system, you should purchase a new system.

When Should I Replace my heating and cooling system?

It can be exceedingly difficult to know when you should replace your heating and cooling system. We put together this brief quiz to help you decide how much life your HVAC system still has or if it’s ready to get replaced.

Step 1 of 2

Do you regularly maintain your HVAC system?(Required)
Is your system more than 10 years old?(Required)
Does your home have excessive dust?(Required)
Are your energy bills increasing?(Required)
Is your HVAC system noisey?(Required)
Does your AC use Freon?(Required)
Is your indoor air quality bad?(Required)


Find out if your heating and air conditioning system is ready for replacement before it’s too late. American Mechanical offers dependable HVAC inspections, service and repair, and maintenance services throughout  Wyandotte, Johnson and Leavenworth counties in Kansas and Cass, Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties in Missouri.

For help maintaining your building comfort all year long, ask about our conveniently priced maintenance plans. You can also schedule online or call American Mechanical at (913) 725-8376.

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