Last month we discussed some of the basics of HVAC and how your air conditioning system keeps your home comfortable in the summer. However, as we approach the heart of summer in the Triangle, many families are wondering why they cannot seem to keep their homes cool. There are a number of reasons your HVAC system may be malfunctioning, some major and some minor.
We have compiled a list of six common HVAC problems and solutions:
Your Thermostat May Not be Working Properly
If you have checked to see that the thermostat is on and in the “cool” setting, and the temperature displayed is consistently warmer than the temperature on which it is set, it is possible that the thermostat is not properly calibrated. Switching to a digital thermostat will permanently fix this problem. Digital thermostats never lose calibration, and often include programmable options that can increase the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Other potential thermostat-related concerns include:
- If your thermostat is in direct sunlight, it will not properly regulate the temperature in your home.
- If your thermostat is near a vent, it will not interpret your home’s temperature correctly
- If there is a draft in the wall behind your thermostat, it will not properly interpret or regulate the temperature in your home
Your Breaker may be Tripped
Your HVAC system is one of the main energy consumers in your home. If your air conditioning is not working at all, it may be because the breaker is tripped. Simply flip the breaker off (if it is not already in the off position) and then back on. However, even if your unit engages after you reset it, a tripped breaker is almost always an indication of overuse. Our technicians can identify why the breaker was tripped and help you move forward.
Your Filters May Need to be Changed
One of the most common and manageable reasons air conditioning systems fail is dirty filters. If your unit is on, but the fan is not running or it is blowing warm air, check to see if your air filter is dirty. Generally, 1” filters should be replaced every 2 to 3 months, and pleated cartridge 3” to 5” filters at least every year.
Your Unit May be Leaking Freon
If your HVAC unit is running but not blowing cool air, or the air is not as cold as it should be, it is possible that the Freon is low. However, heating and air conditioning systems do not simply run out of refrigerant. If your system is low on Freon, you have a leak.
If the problem persists, it will cause the condenser to wear out prematurely, and lead to costly repairs. If you suspect your unit is leaking refrigerant, contact us right away.
Your Unit May be Too Small (or large) for Your Home
If your air conditioning system starts and stops frequently, it may be too large for your home. How could your home have a system that is too large? Some builders believed installing oversized units would increase a home’s energy efficiency. However, heating and cooling systems are designed to run for sustained periods of time, so constantly starting and stopping actually decreases efficiency and leads to unnecessary wear and tear. Additionally, if you recently made energy-efficient upgrades, like installing new windows, doors, insulation, or metal siding, your home may not require a system as large as it did previously.
Similarly, if your HVAC unit runs constantly without disengaging, it may be too small. If you made recent additions to your home, like adding a sunroom, you may need to upgrade your unit.
Your Unit May need to be Changed Out
HVAC systems usually have a lifespan of around twelve years. If it has been well maintained, your malfunctioning unit may make it a few more years than the proper repairs. However, continuing to make expensive repairs on aging units may be more costly than it is worth. If your air conditioning system is showing its age, it may be time to consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient HVAC system.
These are not the only reasons your HVAC system isn’t working. Give us a call if your air conditioning system is not keeping your home cool.