HVAC Tips for Your Equipment
Helping our clients with their heating and cooling equipment issues is one of our top priorities. That's why J & K offers troubleshooting advice that can help you with various problems. Check out our list of HVAC tips below:
If you're experiencing a problem with your HVAC system, first check the air filter. Clogged filters cause many kinds of problems. The most common issue is icing over the refrigerant line outside.
HEPA Filter Checks
Filters like the new heavier HEPA filters have caused a lot of problems. There is a simple test to see if your return air is adequate for this type of filter. With the indoor fan running, open the return air grill, and pull the filter from the top about 4 inches out before letting it go. If the suction from the fan snaps the filter back into the grill housing, your return is too small for this type of filter. You should replace the filter with one of the lighter filters and consider adding more return air. Your system can only move as much air as it is allowed to intake.
Gas Furnace Problems
The second most common problem is for gas furnaces. With the thermostat in the "off" position (for heat and cool), turn the fan switch to the "on" position. If the fan does not come on, turn the thermostat back to "off" position. There is a switch that looks like a light switch in your attic that serves as an equipment disconnect. This switch is often turned to the "off" position by mistake, which won't let the system operate. Check this switch to make sure it is flipped on.
Resetting the Breaker
The next common problem is resetting the breaker for the AC condensing unit. First, set the "cool, off, heat" to the "off" position on the thermostat before finding the breaker box. You are looking for a breaker in the 40 to 60 amp range. Second, reset the breakers. Typically, the breaker will not appear to be tripped. You have to switch the breaker all the way to the "off" position then reset it to the "on" position. You should feel a solid click as the breaker resets.
If you have a breaker that trips more than once a year, chances are good that you have a problem that needs to be reviewed. After resetting the breaker, turn on system check to see if the condenser is running, but make sure the outdoor fan is also on.
Suction Line Icing Resolve
Sometimes, the suction line at the outdoor condenser can experience a buildup of ice. To fix the problem, first, check the filter to see if it is dirty. If so, clean for temporary use or replace. To prevent damage to the condenser, shut off the thermostat at the "cool, off, heat" position. The fan switch should be in the "on" position to defrost evaporator coil upstairs. Check the overflow drain pan (if possible) to ensure water is contained.
After this step, run the system after an hour to check the condenser piping to make sure that icing is not occurring. If icing is happening, then shut the system down, and call for service. The primary cause of icing is lack of airflow. The indoor fan, dirty evaporator coil, or the lack of return airflow may be causing this to occur.
Lack of Cooling on Hot Days
If your system is undersized, there are still things that will help it function more efficiently. First, to see if the unit is functioning at a reasonable rate, you will need a thermometer. Additionally, you will need to take two temperature measurements. The first measurement should be done at the return air grill while the second should be done close to the evaporator on the side were the ducts branch out or the nearest register. The difference between the two temperature measurements should be 18 to 21 degrees.
If this is not the case, you need service to correct the problem. If the temperature spread is ok, then look in the attic and visually check the ductwork for leaks or gaps were air can get into return system or leak from the ducts. If your attic is very hot in summer, make sure that soffits, whirlybirds, and electric-fan-type exhaust systems are working properly.
We know that the HVAC maintenance tips about may not help you resolve all of your troubleshooting dilemmas. If you continue to have problems or need to talk to a technician, call or email us. We will return your call as soon as possible.
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