How to Diagnose HVAC Problems

How to Diagnose HVAC Problems

Central air conditioning systems get so much use in New Tampa, Florida, that dealing with HVAC issues can be a headache when temperatures and humidity aren’t where you want them to be. To correctly diagnose HVAC problems and ensure your system gets the attention it needs, here are a few troubleshooting tips to keep in mind.

Check for Tripped Breakers

If air fails to come out of your home’s floor vents or ceiling registers, this doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem with the HVAC system. In some cases, you could be dealing with a tripped breaker. You’ll need to move the breaker switch into the “off” position and then back on again to reset it.

When the problem isn’t caused by a tripped breaker, you may have an issue with your thermostat or air handler. In some cases, the wires running between the air handler and the thermostat can degrade, requiring professional attention.

Check for Ice

A failing heat pump or central air conditioner can still ice over when something is seriously wrong with its internal components — even in warmer temperatures. This includes both the indoor and outdoor units.

If you do notice ice buildup, check to make sure the thermostat is above 70 degrees. Anything below that could result in frost or a freeze-up on the indoor coil. During the winter months, use the same energy conservation strategies you implemented during the summer. Try to keep the thermostat as close to the outdoor temperature as possible to maximize energy savings.

Check the Heating System

Although many Florida residents rarely need to use their heaters for long periods during the winter months, dealing with a failing heater can still be a pain when you prefer your home to be toasty warm. If your heater does not produce enough heat or any heat at all, there are a few things you can do. First, check to make sure the unit is plugged in and that the system is on. If your system runs on gas, inspect the gas valve to ensure that it is in the on position. You should also check the thermostat to make sure that it is set to the heat setting.

Check the Drain Pan

Your HVAC system’s condensate drain pan is located under the air handler and prevents moisture overflow. More than that, the drain pan serves as an early warning sign to alert the homeowner to a problem with the air conditioner. When the drain pan overflows, you could be dealing with a clogged primary drain.

Whatever the cause, an overflowing drain pan is cause for concern, and you should contact a technician as soon as possible for service. To combat the problem, keep your drain pan and drain lines clear from buildup by cleaning them regularly with a simple bleach or vinegar solution.

Check the Thermostat

An HVAC system that is constantly running can wear out more quickly. When your heater or cooling system runs continuously, you may have your thermostat set either too low (during the summer) or too high (during the winter). In either case, resetting the thermostat to a more appropriate level should fix the problem. Sometimes, though, problems such as dead batteries, location or faulty connections, can affect the thermostat.

Mention Your Costly Utility Bills

While HVAC technicians are highly trained in addressing issues, your own personal observations can go a long way toward helping them diagnose the problem sooner. If you’ve been dealing with unusually high utility bills, be sure to mention this at the time of your servicing. In most cases, unexpected increases in your heating or cooling costs indicate a problem with the system itself. If keeping the thermostat set at a reasonable temperature hasn’t helped, it may be time to upgrade to a new system.

Observing your own HVAC system for changes can help your technician to more accurately diagnose the problem and save you money. Contact United Air Conditioning at 727-531-0496 to schedule your winter HVAC maintenance.

Image provided by Shutterstock