HVAC units do a lot to keep you and your family comfortable in the warmer and colder months, and now and again, you should do maintenance on your HVAC system to keep it running effectively. Keeping air filters clean and calling in an expert once a year can do a lot for your units; however, malfunctions happen sometimes, and you must do HVAC troubleshooting. Calling a technician can be a pain, so is there any way to fix minor issues yourself? This blog will explore the best tips for fixing a malfunctioning HVAC system at home. 

1. Listen for Noises and Check for Damages

Usually, if something is wrong with the HVAC system, it finds a way to let you know. Sometimes it makes loud noises, something smells weird, or the system isn’t heating/colling effectively. If you notice any of these things, take a note and do some research. Usually, the internet can tell you why the system is making that sound or smell. First check for drafts. A leaky duct can cause an inefficient system and raise your utility bills. Call a professional if the ductwork is badly damaged or too old; however, you can fix small cracks and holes yourself. Cleaning vents and ducts can also help with drafts.

2. Check the Air Filters

If you start to notice issues around your home, the easiest and most likely solution is changing the air filters. An inefficient functioning HVAC unit often can be directly related to clogged, old, or dirty air filters. Do you remember the last time you changed them?  Dirty air filters allow debris to clog up essential components of your HVAC system and run up utility bills. Your HVAC system will not cool your home as well when the filters have become clogged with dirt and debris. This blockage greatly increases the energy needed to run the HVAC system and wears down the system. All of these factors can reduce your HVAC’s longevity immensely.  If the air conditioner has trouble maintaining temperatures you might also find blame on the air filters. Blockage causes your air conditioner to work extra hard, allowing pollutants to push through the filter and reduce your indoor air quality. To protect your unit and health, change your air filter regularly. You should replace your filters every 90 days, but you can replace them every month if they become worn out and not working correctly. A fresh air filter saves money, improves air quality, and solves many common issues. 

3. Clean Vents, Ducts, and Registers

As the AC unit circulates air, particles, like dirt and dust, block the vents, ducts, and registers. It can lower the AC/s efficiency and your indoor air quality. Keeping vents, registers, and ducts clean significantly boosts your AC performance. We recommend having vents and ducts cleaned by a professional technician.

4. Test Your Thermostat

It’s more common than you think for the thermostat to be the problem. First, replace the batteries or check for a loose connection. If the HVAC system fails to turn on, the thermostat should be the first thing you check. Understanding if the thermostat is correctly working ensures a healthy HVAC system. If your system is not starting or there is a delay, check if the thermostat has power.  Monitor your thermostat to see if it has caused your HVAC problems. If the indoor temperature does not match the thermostat, it could signify that your unit is malfunctioning. 

5. Inspect the Outside Unit

The outside unit may not be what you think of HVAC issues, but this part of your system is extremely important as it is the central point for airflow throughout your home. You can often find your HVAC unit outside, and all kinds of debris can clog up the unit’s air quality and cooling capabilities. Things such as leaves and branches can get stuck within the unit. Removing debris from in and around the unit will keep the system running more efficiently.  Open the condenser unit and clear away all the debris to keep the HVAC functioning optimally. We also recommend removing excess vegetation and pruning any trees near the outdoor unit.

6. Check Breaker Box

Sometimes, you may not have realized that you lost power after a storm. Without power, your AC won’t be able to run. Check the break box quickly to make sure the unit has power. You may be able to solve the issue with a flip of a switch. If you have a tripped breaker, you must reset the circuit breaker to ensure no electrical problems.  Electrical problems can be hazardous so call a professional to avoid damage to yourself or your home.

7. Keep Utilities Bill Low

When your home is in a more extreme climate, it’s common to see higher utility bill prices. A sudden rise in utility bills or a gradual increase may damage your HVAC system or be too old to work efficiently. Keep your utility bills low by avoiding frequent thermostat adjustments, cleaning your air filters, and requesting routine maintenance. We recommend 68-70 degrees year-round.

Find Reliable HVAC Maintenence in Reston, VA

You can do more HVAC troubleshooting than you may have realized. These essential tips can save hundreds on maintenance, utility bills, and repairs. Cardinal recommends regular maintenance by a professional to keep the system functioning at its best.  Sometimes the issue is too large or dangerous to do alone, and calling a local expert can be the most effective option.  For your HVAC system repair needs, contact Cardinal Plumbing and Air Conditioning. Our team of highly skilled technicians can help fix any issues with your heating, cooling, and air conditioning systems.