Troubleshooting Problems with Your Home Comfort System

Before you go ahead and call an HVAC contractor for a repair on your home HVAC system, you can do some simple troubleshooting to find and possibly fix the problem yourself. DIY maintenance is a great way to save some money on some basic common heater problems and common AC issues. With a little bit of know-how, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Common Heater Problems

Common furnace problems include thermostat, furnace control board, run capacitor and blower motor. Your troubleshooting should begin with the thermostat. Ensure it’s on heat, its set point is above room temperature and it’s set in the fan mode. In addition, check the circuit box to see if a breaker was tripped. These are some of the quick fixes. Once you’ve checked these issues, you can then inspect the window of the blower compartment on the furnace. There should be a flashing green light. If there is no light, there may be a problem with the thermostat, furnace control board, blower motor or run capacitor.

  • Testing and Replacing the Thermostat: To check the thermostat for proper operation, shut the power off to the furnace and set fan mode from auto to on. Disconnect the w and r terminals and twist the two wires together. Then, put the power back on. If the furnace does not come on, it’s not a thermostat problem. However, if it does come on, this means the thermostat is bad and needs a replacement. Determining what type of thermostat is needed depends on what type of heating system you have, such as heat pump or electric baseboard. Be sure to check for the number of stages your HVAC system has. You can look inside the old thermostat for this information. If it’s a two-stage furnace, there will be w1 and w2 terminals. To determine the source of power, look at the existing control. If there is a c terminal with a wire attached to it, you can use a battery powered unit or a system powered unit. For a mechanical thermostat, it’s best to go with a battery-powered replacement. Manufacturers have the detailed installation instructions printed with the product. Just follow the instructions, and you’re good to go.
  • Furnace Control Board: Troubleshooting and fixing a furnace control board issue is a bit more complex, and this may be when to call an HVAC contractor. It’s really up to your confidence level and knowledge of furnace control boards. Most furnace control boards have built-in diagnostic indicators. Red lights flash to indicate a problem, and there is usually a chart on the furnace access panel that explains the meaning of the flashing codes. To find the required replacement part, check the furnace model and serial number. Universal controls may also be an option. Before you begin with the repair, make sure the furnace power is off, and be sure to mark all the wires and write down where the connections go. The furnace control board may in held in place with plastic clips or screws. Just remove either to get the old board out. When you attach the new board, make sure that all wires are connected and on the proper terminals.

Common AC Issues

Although there are different types of AC units, common AC issues include the air handler control board, thermostat, blower motor and run capacitor. Troubleshooting the control board and thermostat issues is just about the same as for furnaces.

  • Blower Motor Problems: If you suspect the blower motor has gone south, turn off the power and try to spin the blower by hand. Sometimes, it will not spin freely if it’s not lubricated. Add a few drops of oil. If this doesn’t fix the problem, the motor will need to be replaced. If the blower does spin freely, check the motor for heat. Let it cool down and check the wire connections for tightness. It may be a run capacitor problem. To remove the old blower motor, remove the nuts or bolts that secure the assembly system, and slide it out of its housing. Keep in mind that some older units have mounting brackets built into its motor. In this care, an exact replacement with an adapter kit will be needed. If you can’t find an exact replacement, a universal motor may be an option. Just be sure to match motor diameter, drive, voltage, speeds, horsepower, mounting method, run capacitor and direction of rotation.
  • Run Capacitor Issues: Run capacitors store electrical charges and are used on compressors and fan motors in HVAC systems. Some visible signs that indicate a capacitor problem include a leaky oily substance or a bulging of the unit. You’ll need a multi-meter to test the capacitor. Disconnect the wires from the run capacitor and place the multi-meter leads on the terminals. If the reading is more than 6 percent lower than the required rating, the part will need to be replaced. If you’re uncertain about DIY maintenance and installtion, this is when to call an HVAC contractor.

HVAC Products and Services at Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning in Nashville, GA

At Ray & Son Heating & Air Conditioning in Nashville, GA, we are committed to providing you with fast service and excellent products. If you have an unexpected breakdown, you can rely on our 24/7 emergency service for a repair. We also carry and install energy efficient HVAC systems. Customers can take advantage of our Internet coupons for savings on new equipment and select repairs.