If your furnace or air conditioner has stopped working, or isn’t working as well as before, you may need new furnace or air conditioning equipment. But there’s also the chance that what seems like a big problem has a simple solution, one that you may be able to implement on your own. Below, we list five common heating and cooling problems that you can either fix yourself, or ask an HVAC technician to investigate in addition to other possible problems.
1. Blown Fuse or Tripped Switch
If your furnace or conditioner isn’t receiving power, first check the fuses or switches in your electrical panel to see if a fuse is blown or a switch is tripped. If so, replace the fuse or move the switch back to its original position. If the problem is a blown fuse or a tripped switch, this will immediately correct it.
2. Extinguished Pilot Light
An extinguished pilot light is the commonest cause of non-working furnaces, and the solution is simple: refer to your furnace’s maintenance guide to locate the pilot light, and then use long plastic lighter, or a fireplace match, to relight it. If your home has radiator heat, also check the water gauge on the side of your furnace to see if it has enough water. When their water level falls too low, some gas furnaces stop working.
3. Improper Thermostat Setting
If your home isn’t heating or cooling according to plan, see if your thermostat has the right setting, being on “heat” for heat or “cool” for cool. For a better cooling effect, set your thermostat 2-5 degrees below the desired temperature. This will ensure the temperature is maintained when your compressor is off.
4. Leaky Ductwork
Over time, ductwork can develop small leaks that let warmth or coolness escape into walls and ceilings, causing homeowners to adjust their furnace or AC several degrees above or below the desired temperature in order to reach it. In addition to perpetuating a worsening problem, significantly raising or lowering temperature also leads to high utility bills. Resealing ductwork is a heating and air conditioning systems repair best performed by a heating and air conditioning contractor.
5. Clogged Filter
As air flows through your heating/cooling system, a filter cleanses it of dust, pollen, mold, and other undesirable debris. If left unchanged, the filter can become solid with this debris, making it difficult for airflow to reach your registers. Most filters should be changed every few months. To change yours, consult your conditioner or furnace’s maintenance manual, or access the filter from its location behind the large return vent on your ceiling (usually in homes whose air handler is located in the attic).