Do you understand how your HVAC system operates? Don’t worry, most people don’t, but during the heat of summer and if an HVAC component fails, you may wish you had. Understanding the basics of HVAC is simple, and knowing how to provide HVAC care properly may prevent the system from failing during the blazing summer or freezing winter.
What You Should Know About HVAC System Basic Repairs
A basic understanding of what HVAC repairs entail may make a miserable day more bearable. Some of the basic HVAC repairs that a homeowner can check are:
Often, issues with a malfunctioning HVAC system can be traced to dirty air filters. Easy to overlook with scheduled HVAC care, but also easy to correct. You can easily remove filters without much trouble, and a visual eye test looking through the filter will indicate whether it should be replaced. Most air filters can be purchased at ACE Hardware, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s, among other stores.
Recognize The Time When You Should Schedule HVAC System Experts
As part of a good HVAC care plan, knowing when to call the HVAC experts is beneficial. By recognizing these signs, you may prevent a minor HVAC issue from becoming a major expense.
Check Circuit Breakers
Many times, HVAC systems have issues due to problems with circuit breakers. When the HVAC system either works intermittently or does not start, the circuit breaker is one of the first items to look at. If it is having issues or tripping, it may be time to call an HVAC contractor.
Check Vents and Ducts
It may seem innocuous, but if a vent is blocked or accidentally closed, airflow can be disrupted to less than ideal. If accessible, it is worth checking duct work for issues like leaking air flow, disconnected ducts, or blockage. If ductwork is involved, it probably is time to call the experts.
Inconsistent Heating or Cooling
The HVAC hasn’t come on, so desperately you walk up to the thermostat, flick it a couple of times, and miraculously, the HVAC system finally starts. Many times, HVAC heating and cooling issues are caused by faulty or sticky thermostats. A good HVAC care plan calls for checking thermostats frequently to confirm they aren’t sticking and working properly.
Check All HVAC Sub-Systems
When checking HVAC systems, other systems may be attached. These include humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and air purification systems. Make sure to include them in your scheduled HVAC care. They also may need maintenance, like any other HVAC components.
Checking the Humidifier System
If your HVAC system has a humidifier that adds moisture to the air, maintaining a 30%-50% humidity, it will usually be attached to the return air or supply duct or sometimes on the furnace unit itself. Check the humidistat, a device that is a control similar to the thermostat for the HVAC system, and confirm it is working correctly. Also, check the humidifier pad for its condition and ensure the drain line is operating correctly and has no stoppage.
Checking the Dehumidifier
The dehumidifier is usually located around the locations of a humidifier at the supply or return air ducts. The job of the dehumidifier is to remove excessive moisture from the air and maintain a healthier environment. Areas to check with a dehumidifier are the drain hose and water collection tanks; use a hygrometer to check the humidity level and ensure the humidifier is blowing adequate air.
Air Purification System
Air purifiers are devices designed to remove air pollutants from the air like pollen, smoke, dust, and other allergens. As part of the home’s HVAC system, air purification systems can easily be managed with HVAC care by checking and replacing any filters per the manufacturers’ guidelines and accessible ducts. Also, keep the surfaces clean and check any UV lamps for proper functioning.
Check With Air Conditioning Contractors
As a homeowner, there is a lot you can do to provide HVAC care, sometimes, the issue with heating or cooling is just outside the norm, and you can’t pinpoint the problem. All you know is that the HVAC system is not cooling or heating correctly for the set temperature. Or worse, the system refuses to come on, and it is sweltering.
When this condition exists, it is probably the right time to call your local air conditioning contractors. They will quickly identify why your HVAC system is not keeping your home comfy and can either fix it or give information on a recommended replacement. Always be aware if air conditioning systems refuse to run, there is probably a good reason why, and it could be more dangerous. Calling air conditioner professionals for help would be your quickest and safest option.
Invest in Preventative Maintenance
Many homeowners don’t realize that preventative maintenance is a key part of ensuring your HVAC systems last their full lifespan, or longer. It’s a minor investment with a huge payoff. By investing a little bit of money now, you can save yourself from huge bills and headaches down the line. You don’t want to wait until one of your systems breaks down completely to call your local HVAC contractors. You should contact them as soon as you notice a problem. If you hear strange noises, smell strange smells, notice excess humidity or water damage, or notice that your systems aren’t as efficient as they once were, it may be time to call in the professionals. You should also be calling them about once a year anyway for routine inspections. It’s during these inspections that they can note any potential problem areas before serious issues arise. Be sure to find a local company you trust, so you have someone to call when things start to go wrong. Having someone lined up ahead of time can save you the stress of having to find a contractor last minute, plus you won’t know if you actually like their services or not. Be sure to invest in the proper maintenance of your systems.
Check The HVAC Furnace System
If your HVAC system is not creating the heat, there are some steps you can take using some easy heating system checks. Some basic checks for an HVAC heating system include the following steps.
Check the Heating System Controls
When the heating system is not creating the heat you expected, by first checking a couple of controls to solve your problem in no time, first, check the heating system, circuit breakers, fuses, or other power sources. Make sure the circuit breaker or fuse has not blown. If you reset the breaker or replace a fuse and the heating system does not come on, it is probably best to call a heating repair services company.
Another switch to check the thermostat by turn it much higher than the normal set. The higher temperature should force the heating system to run. Set it around 10 degrees higher than normal. If you hear the heating system kick on, your thermostat should be okay and fall within your HVAC care.
Check the Air Filters
If the heating system filters are dirty or clogged, they can severely limit the airflow or, in some instances, shut the system down and are easy to incorporate into your HVAC care.
Checklist For Checking Furnace Issues
Before calling a furance company for service, there are some final checks that can be done on the heating system. It may well be worth your time to check the system in depth for any apparent issues in lieu of or before calling furnace companies
Inspect the Fuel Source
Depending on the fuel source, check the fuel lines, valves, and fittings for leaks. Also, verify the fuel source has enough fuel to feed the furnace.
Check Burners and Pressure Gauges
Check the burners for any cracks or any other obvious burner issues. Also, check if the pressure gauge readings are too high or too low.
Check the Radiators
Verify that all the radiators are working properly and without blockages.
Indicators of a Failing System
If you have checked all the different components we have mentioned in this article, and the system is still not working correctly, then you may have to face the possibility of your system failing and outside your HVAC care. But before calling your homeowners insurance company, a few more items may tell you if your system is failing.
Utility Bills Keep Going Up
A good indicator of your heating system failing or having issues if the heating bills keep going up and outside your HVAC care. The normal efficiency of a heating system may drop 5-10% due to aging, causing your utility bills to increase slowly. However, if the utility bills suddenly spike, something starts to fail. This is a good time to have a service technician evaluate your system to decide if replacing the failing system makes more sense than repairing it.
HVAC System Is Aging
The popular consensus is that a quality HVAC system should last around fifteen years. That considers the systems that fail in six years and those that fail in twenty years. Suppose the system is older and uses R22 refrigerant, which is no longer produced. In that case, replacing the system may be cheaper and more energy-efficient depending on repairs and beyond your HVAC care.
The HVAC System Runs Constantly
When the HVAC runs constantly during a hot summer day without shutting off, it may be working in overdrive to lower the temperature. The system may be filthy with leaves, dirt, and other trash blocking the air intake.
The unit may need to be removed, cleaned, or replaced. In addition, the compressor, the primary part of a system, may fail and require replacing. When these conditions exist, it may be time to consider replacing your system.
Signs To Look For HVAC Electrical Problems
These are some tell-tell signs that may indicate electrical problems with your HVAC system you can look for.
Electrical Power Failures
If the HVAC system power has resets continually, it could point to power supply issues. Having to reset breakers often or replace fuses indicates something is wrong with the power feed and outside your HVAC care.
If you notice burnt and charred wires near the HVAC or detect a burning smell, it could be faulty wiring or an electrical issue. In this scenario, it is advisable to call electricians immediately for a system checkup.
Unusual Sounds in the HVAC System
One indicator of the HVAC system’s electrical problems is hearing strange popping, clicking, or buzzing sounds. If these sounds are noticed, it is advisable to have electricians check the system as soon as possible because it could be an electrical issue.
How Roofs Can Effect HVAC Systems
The type of roof a home has can affect HVAC efficiency more than you may think. These are some considerations for roofing if you are buying a new home or remodeling.
Certain roofs are more prone to absorbing excessive heat than others. Dark roofs naturally collect more heat than light-colored roofs and might be within your HVAC care. The dark roof will collect more heat stored in the attic, which causes the HVAC system to work harder than light-colored roofs. Also, reflective metal roofs prevent the sun rays from entering the house, keeping it cooler and lessening the strain on the HVAC system.
It is important to keep your attic as cool as possible, and this is normally attained by exhausting air out vents at the highest point of a roof. Ventilating the attic keeps attic air at a reasonable temperature, whereas poorly ventilated attics become a huge holding pool of oppressive air that taxes the home’s HVAC system cooling efficiency.
Best Materials for Cool Roofs in Hot Climates
Some recommended roofing materials for hot climates are terracotta tiles, reflective roof coatings, and reflective metal. These materials may be more expensive, but the long-term energy savings may help justify the investment.
Interestingly, reflective metal roofs are one of the highest-rated roofing materials due to their excellent reflectivity of sun rays. Also, an efficient white roof coating reflects up to 80% of the sun’s rays, while terracotta clay tiles are extremely weather-resistant and can last 100 years or longer.
Why Inspections Are Key
The number one thing any property owner can do to take care of their HVAC systems is to schedule regular inspections. You can talk to your local HVAC contractor about what they recommend, but typically, you should have them inspected about once per year. These inspections allow the professionals to catch any problems or potential problems early on. The sooner an issue can be addressed, the better. If you wait too long to fix something, you may face total system failure. Not only is system failure a headache to deal with, but it’s much more expensive to replace a system than it is to repair it.
Inspections allow you to get ahead of any issues, so be sure to schedule them regularly. You may also need to schedule them more often if you are suspicious of a problem or if you know one of your systems has suffered damage. If a tree branch falls on an outdoor unit, for example, you’ll want an expert to take a look at it to ensure nothing significant was damaged. If you want to ensure your property and its HVAC systems continue to run smoothly, be sure to schedule regular inspections.
Interesting Facts About HVAC Systems
We now understand how important HVAC systems are to comfort and enjoyment. Although we have learned much about HVAC systems, it is interesting to understand some of the legacy of HVAC and air conditioning systems.
Romans Were First Again
The first known utilization of heat distribution, in a process called ‘hypocaust,’ was by the Romans sending heat through the walls and floors of wealthy Roman homes.
Air Conditioning Benefits Field of Medicine
Without air conditioning, many medical breakthroughs would not have happened. Medical research relies on air conditioning for cool air necessary to create antidotes, medicines, and other medicinal products. The laboratory environment would be too hot for medical experiments without the cold, air-conditioned air.
The Real Meaning of ‘Summer Blockbuster’
‘Summer Blockbuster’ originates from the early twentieth century when moviegoers went more for the rare air-conditioned environments than for the movies. Theaters were a huge business in the summer beginning in the 1930s due to patrons flocking to air-conditioned movie theaters showing big-budget films. The scarce air-conditioned building was as big a draw in summer as the show.