5 DIY Solutions to Common HVAC problems

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    Problems with your HVAC system can result in unexpected and costly expenditures. Fortunately, there are things you can do yourself to address a variety of HVAC issues. You should be sure to turn off your HVAC system before proceeding with any of the following solutions because safety issues can arise when working on an operating system. 

    1. Water Leaks

    Air conditioning units produce a significant amount of condensate throughout the cooling season. As a result, it is quite common for a leak to develop. Typically, you will find the cause of leaking water to be the result of clogged drain lines. A drain line that is clogged does not condensate the flow properly, resulting in excess condensation collected in the overflow pan. Fortunately, you can alleviate most clogs as well as prevent future clogs without the need for professional help, as mentioned at Westchester HVAC.

    For instance, if you spot the beginnings of a blockage, you can use a shop vacuum to remove the clog. However, one of the best things you can do is to prevent any buildup by keeping the drain line clean. You can achieve this by periodically checking buildup while also pouring bleach into the drain line to prevent clogs from developing. 

    2. Blocked Airflow

    Another common HVAC issue is a decreased flow of cool air during the hot summer months. Although this can be quite disconcerting, you might be able to remedy the situation on your own quickly. For instance, a decrease in airflow is often due to debris collected around the condensing unit of your air conditioner. 

    To ascertain if a buildup of debris is the issue, you can go outside and conduct a visual inspection. You should look for any debris, such as grass or leaves, that have built up on the outside of the unit. If you find any buildup, you can simply use your garden hose to remove the blockage. However, as stated previously, you should be sure to shut off the unit before cleaning away the debris.

    Alternatively, you might find that weeds or bushes have grown to the point that airflow has been significantly reduced. Fortunately, this, too, is an easy fix as you can pull the weeds, or you can trim the bushes. 

    3. Dirty Filter

    Whether your air conditioner or furnace is old or brand new, a filter packed with dirt and debris will have a negative impact on your HVAC system’s ability to heat and cool your home. An exciting way to understand how a dirty filter impacts your unit’s ability to heat or cool your home is to imagine trying to breathe through a pillow. Just as the air cannot flow freely through your pillow, a dirty air filter blocks the flow of air, making your system work harder and longer to push the air through the filter. 

    Conversely, a clean filter allows the air to pass through more easily and results in your home’s air temperature cooling down or heating up much more quickly. A great way to help ensure your system does not encounter a dirty filter is to replace the filter simply. Doing so will help increase the longevity of your HVAC system as well as ensure you enjoy maximum air circulation and efficient cooling and heating. Fortunately, HVAC systems typically use the same filter for both the air conditioner and furnace. The filter is typically found in the air duct located just before the return air enters the air handler. Of course, because it bears repeating, you should be sure to turn off the system before replacing the filter. 

    Finally, it is recommended that you, at the very least, replace the filter at the beginning of each season. However, for optimal performance, you should consider changing a standard one-inch filter every one to two months. If your HVAC system utilizes a four- or five-inch filter, you should change it at least twice per year. 

    4. Thermostat Issues

    An HVAC system that does not cycle on and off properly or one that will not turn on presents a worrisome situation. However, there is no need to panic. If you are experiencing either of these issues, the problem might be due to a faulty thermostat rather than a serious issue with your HVAC system. Because a thermostat can go bad, it is crucial to ascertain whether the issue requires you to repair or replace the thermostat.

    For instance, if the screen of your thermostat is blank, the batteries are most likely dead. Fortunately, this is a rather straight-forward problem that is easy to remedy as you can simply replace the batteries. 

    However, if dead batteries are not the culprit, you might be dealing with a problem with the sensor. If the sensor is no longer working, you might have to replace the thermostat. Finally, if your thermostat is programmable, you might have inadvertently set it to the wrong configurations, or a power outage might have disrupted the program. Both of these issues are easily fixed by reprogramming the thermostat. 

    5. Frozen Evaporator

    When it comes to cooling issues, there is nothing like frozen evaporator coils to bring your air conditioning unit’s ability to cool the air to an abrupt halt even if it continues to run. One of the most common causes of ice accumulation is the buildup of dirt and debris on the coils. Fortunately, you can easily address this issue. First, if ice has accumulated, you should turn the unit off to allow the ice to melt. Once the ice has melted, you can clean the coils with a spray can of self-rinse coil cleaner. 

    You can use a mixer of mild detergent and warm water if you do not have a can of coil cleaner. Using a spray bottle, you can spray the mixer onto the evaporator coils. After dousing the coils, you should allow a few minutes for the solution to loosen the dirt. Once the dirt is loosened, you can gently remove it with a soft cloth or brush. 

    To ensure ice does not accumulate in the future, you should be sure to clean the coils as needed.

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